Directed by George Romero
Ordinary citizens turn into homicidal maniacs after a chemical weapon is released in George Romero's 1973 follow-up to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. After a mercifully brief foray into romantic comedy, Romero returned to the subject that made him famous - multiple maniacs attacking unsuspecting townspeople - and the government's misguided response to the chaos. Like Romero's living dead films, THE CRAZIES offers a commentary on the military turmoil of the '70s, environmental contamination and bio-warfare - making it sadly still relevant - and scary - today.
Ordinary citizens turn into homicidal maniacs after a chemical weapon is released.
Cast: Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lynn Lowry
Damn… what a brilliant and depressing movie! Pretty darn good portrayal of a government screw up. Excellent dialogue and acting.
Watch Season of the Witch for a solid Romero film.
I’m a big Romero fan, but I had issues with the pacing of the film, the music, the script, these army guys just standing straight up to get shot, Wtf? The voice overs for all the army guys was terrible, you don’t know who’s talking. I just thought it was a mess. I can recommend only for historical context for Romero fans.
This was a lot better than I remembered. I know some people prefer the remake, but for me the original is clearly the better film, on balance. The remake barely nods in the direction of satire a few times, instead mostly concentrating on Hollywood-style action setpieces. The original, for all the limitations of its obviously tiny budget, is far more creative, more subversive (the remake has a cop for a hero, for chrissakes), and a damn sight more disquieting. And unlike the remake, there's a wonderfully cockeyed humor at work all throughout the film, which drips with a sardonic sense of irony. Horror god George A Romero splices in visual/editorial references to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Luis Buñuel, Roman Polanski, Carl Dreyer, and Jean-Luc Godard, among others, but the ultraviolent comic book-style action keeps it from ever feeling 'arty.' The plot is a very loose retelling of the one from his most famous film, Night of the Living Dead, on a slightly larger scale; only instead of the living dead, the 'zombies' this time out are ordinary folks who've been infected by a deadly virus engineered by none other than the US army. An accident causes the virus to be released into the water supply of a small Pennsylvania town. The symptoms are either severe sickness followed by death or irretrievable, violent insanity. The US Army is called in to quarantine the town and race to find a cure. Meanwhile the town quickly collapses as one citizen after another is infected. The budget, while still small, was larger than in NOTLD, and accordingly this is a far more ambitious production, with more characters, more locations, more story, and more action. Romero's talent both behind the camera and in the editing booth are on full display here, his distinct style more developed now than before. The acting mostly ranges from competent to downright mediocre, with a few standouts: Richard Liberty and Lynn Lowry are memorable as a doomed father and daugther, but Richard France, who has a cameo in a similar role in Dawn of the Dead, steals the show as a beleaguered Army research scientist tasked with synthesizing an antidote to the disease he helped create. The Crazies isn't as good as the first three Dead films -- there are logical gaps, such as the Army administering an antibiotic to fight against a virus(!), and there are a few moments where the generally chaotic pace lags a bit -- but it works as a sort of ancillary entry in the Dead series, or at least as a dry run for Dawn. Romero fans should love this, but curious horror fans unfamiliar with his work might want to give this a shot too. It's a really good time!
An overlooked classic! Do yourself a favor and check this out if you haven’t before. Holds up incredibly well and only becomes more relevant over time.