George Romero will, forever, be remembered as the Godfather of zombie movies but he has done other non-zombie stuff, and The Crazies is one of them.
The plot is quite simple:
A biological weapon gone awry is only the start of problems in the little town of Evan’s City, Pennsylvania. Bouts of insanity in the populace are leading to murder and rioting, until the US Army turns up – and things really start going to hell. (IMDb.com)
The plot has two main themes running through it which intertwine, one is the army trying to contain the infection, with the other being the citizens trying to stay alive. Several folks are on the run from the army, a resistance movement if you will, which consists of one man, his pregnant other half, his friend and a father and daughter.
With most of Romero’s movies it can be read in several ways, I see it as a movie which shows that when the army comes in, it just makes things ten times worse, that and the fact that they’ve no respect for human life as several times the ‘head honchos’ speak of ‘dropping the bomb’ on the village and calling it an accident, all this is to cover up the situation and to wipe out the virus. So, I think it’s a bit of an anti-army movie, which I do have to agree with.
There’s not much gore in the movie, there are several (tame) head shots, stabbings and what-not, but nothing to write home about. Not even any boobs, well, unless you count one behind-and-slightly-to-the-side shot, which I don’t. What did tickle my fancy with this movie is that because the people are driven crazy by the virus several dark humour scenes arise. My favourite being the ‘sweeper’, as I’ll call her, which is while a mass revolt is happening, one woman, with a broom, is out sweeping the lawn. Yes, sweeping the lawn…
But the best character has to be Dr. Brookmyer who is continually pissed off and has about a three second fuse on his patience. Also, most of the people in the movie were never in many other movies, if any at all! But, hey, I suppose that’s what you’ve got to do when you want to come in under budget. In saying that… even if any of the troops were well known you never see their faces, there’s more gas masks in this film than in Alex’s porn collection.
One thing that film excels in is wigs, that’s right, wigs. It has, quite possibly the worst collection of wigs ever committed to celluloid, here’s a couple of examples:
But The Crazies isn’t all that bad, story-wise that is, but it’s certainly made on the cheap, that’s quite evident, but like I said at the start with Romero films, it becomes whatever you want to make it, and I make it to be pretty good for 1973.
And you’ll no doubt be aware that the remake of The Crazies has, as I write this, just been released. Apparently it’s quite good… but I’ll be the judge of that. Watch this space…