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Chosen One of the Day: Dr. Clara Mandrake of The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening

By Emma Fraser
Schitt's Creek

Schitt’s Creek is the warm hug of a show we need in these not so easy times. The scariest moment is probably when the Rose family lose all their money in the first episode and have to switch out mansion living for a motel in a town with a funny name. Schitt's Creek is very much a sitcom, and yet, a horror worthy of cult status takes center stage in the Season 5 premiere.

Matriarch Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara) is a soap opera actress hoping for a big comeback. In Season 3 she is offered a career lifeline with an audition for The Crows Have Eyes II, the sequel to a movie no one has heard of. Ultimately she turns it down as the terms are lacking, but a couple of years later, they ensnare their star for The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening. A role she takes as seriously as if it was the lead in a prestige drama. 

Schitt's Creek
Her earlier audition tape reveals just how ropy this movie franchise is — her son David (Dan Levy) quips it is a Birds ripoff — but in this third part of the avian apocalypse series her character, Dr. Clara Mandrake is half-crow, half-human. Hitchcock could never.

In the past, she has worn costumes worthy of Cersei Lannister, but the low-budget feather-covered labcoat, black wig, beak nose and lashings of eyeliner even manage to mirror her sartorial aesthetic. It is not as chic as her usual attire, she is wearing it as if it is couture. A bonkers look fit for the forthcoming Crowpocalypse. 

Where director Blair (James Cade) sees a CGI-heavy awful concept, Moira remarks it is “A timely allegory about prejudice.” A joke that riffs on the often disrespectful treatment of horror, as well as Moira’s desire to see this movie as more than just mutant crows.


Her script revisions nail this aspect giving Catherine O’Hara the chance to deliver another Emmy-worthy accent, “Quiet your caws so we may take up our cause: redemption!” And with this deeply committed performance, I am now super invested in the fate of these misunderstood mutant crows. The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening is the cult horror I never knew I needed.

Caw! Caw!

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