The Crazies

CR1

When all breaks loose and the people of a small Pennsylvania town begin turning into crazed lunatics, the military does its best to contain the situation while a small group of townsfolk try and avoid military capture.

Okay, so technically The Crazies isn’t really a zombie flick per se, it’s more of a “crazy people run amok” story to be sure, but every time I’ve watched the movie it always seemed like a zombie flick to me. And no, before it even gets said, it’s not just because it’s a Romero film. It’s not like I’m going to watch Bruiser and immediately say that’s a zombie movie (weird as fuck, definitely, but zombie, no). The Crazies just comes across as zombieish to me. Sure, they aren’t dead, but neither were the voodoo slaves of ages past and we still called them zombies. Hell, go watch a lot of zombie films before Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and they’re nothing like we’ve come to know them now. So go ahead, disagree with me, but I’m going to go on record and say I find this to be a zombie film. But please, if you’re going to throw things at me for my decision can you not aim for the eyes? They’re sensitive.

Romero’s forth attempt at cinema begins with a man destroying his home by setting it on fire (played by the film’s FX technician Regis Survinski) while his wife lies murdered in her bed and his children scream for help (actually the children of cinematographer William Hinzman). The volunteer fire department is called in to deal with the blaze, among them good friends David and Clank, and they find the arsonist wandering around insane and ranting like a lunatic, completely unaware of what he’s done. While the town’s authorities try to piece together what brought a once sane man to murder his family and burn his own house down, a massive military presence surrounds and then invades the small town, causing further confusion and worry among the townsfolk. The military seems far too aware of what’s happening, being both prepared for an event such as an insane man burning his house down and having a plan already in hand. They even seem to have the town doctor informed and on their side since it’s he who warns his nurse Judy (David’s wife) that a virus has been unleashed and may be infecting the entire town, a virus that causes delirium, insanity, and eventually death. As the military begins discussing full quarantine procedures, it is revealed that a bioengineered virus was accidentally released into the town’s water supply by a crashed plane carrying said virus to be disposed of. Though the military may be more worried about containment, David, Judy, Crank, and a father and daughter who join the three are more worried about what the military intends to do with them and make a break from the army’s roundup and escapee into hiding, but with the military closing in and the virus spreading, there may not be any place to hide for very long.

CR2

{The actions of a responsible military}

Alright, I have to be honest, I actually saw the 2010 remake of The Crazies before I watched the original. I was just never that excited to watch it, but when the remake came out I gave that film a shot, so I figured I might as well watch the original. I immediately regretted my decision as watching the original was about as exciting as watching paint dry on a cold, dark day in December (it dries rather slowly on cold, dark days). I swore I’d never disgrace my DVD player with this damned thing again unless I needed to be put to sleep. That being said, I wanted to expand upon what I considered a zombie film for The Year of the Undead, so I booted up the player, made the largest cup of coffee I could find, and hoped to god I found some kind of value out of the film this time around…yeah, not so much.

CR3

{This way toward an actually enjoyable film}

As you can tell from what’s said above, my biggest complaint about this movie is how fucking boring it is, so, so fucking boring. The pacing for this thing was just awful, moving along at a snail’s speed, if said snail had been crippled by polio as a child. Most of the movie is dedicated to screaming matches between characters, long pointless conversations between characters, and completely unnecessary shots of characters staring sadly at one another. Mostly it’s the screaming matches that occupy a good seventy percent of the film though; if you decide to give this one a shot be prepared to constantly deal with the characters yelling at each other like a dysfunctional family having an argument on Christmas. There might be a few chaotic action scenes (filmed with a shaky camera that makes you want to vomit) but it’s mostly just a lot of people talking or occasionally sneaking through the woods. There was no real substance to the constant arguing or discussion either, it was almost like Romero just needed a way to drag what could have easily been a twenty minute flick into almost an hour and forty five minutes. Like I said, just boring.

CR7

{Even the doctor looks bored}

Adding to this lack of substance are the characters and the actors portraying them. For one, there’s too damn many of them. There are just so many characters that it was impossible to actually care about any one individual. When one gets killed off you’ve got a dozen more to replace the one killed, so there was no real way to connect with any single one. There are even some sad and heroic deaths played out for drama, but I could have cared less because with so many people to worry about, the drama of a single death, no matter how dramatic, was completely lost. Of course even if they had lessened the character list they would have had to hire some replacement actors if they wanted to make the audience care about them. I’m not saying the actors are bad, they really aren’t, it’s just that they way over do it with their acting. They almost come across as cartoonish versions of themselves and that kind of kills it on taking them seriously. The one exception would be Harry Spillman who played Major Ryder, the head of military actions in the region. He actually managed to make you like his character despite him being the one responsible for rounding up the town, doing it more because those are his orders than because he enjoys doing it. Though I’m still not sure why he sent in a bunch of armed men to round up the town in nondescript, white plastic suits with no identification. The town is already in a panic, maybe some identification would have helped calm the townsfolk just a bit.

CR5

{Looks like a well adjusted bloke to me}

CR6

{The family that shoots together stays together}

The story isn’t bad for what it is but I wouldn’t call it anything special. Knowing Romero, I’m sure there was supposed to be some kind of message in there about the evils of the military or some such, but I didn’t entirely see it. My one guess would be that it had something to do with the Vietnam War because of a few incidents in the film. They bring up the military response to campus protests, a preacher sets himself on fire, and there are a few scenes of wanton slaughter where a gun toting nut job will go bullet crazy on a group of innocents. I won’t say for sure whether I’m right or not but that’s just my guess.

CR8

{Burning priest smells surprisingly terrible}

I’d go into the effects but there isn’t much to say. There aren’t much in the manner of effects. The crazies all look completely normal for the most part and the closest thing to gore are blood squibs used for bullet shots, so I can’t really say anything about it. Here’s a cat instead:

CR9

In the end, I wouldn’t bother with this one. Romero is a hit or miss director, either scoring an awesome movie or a massive turd. The Crazies definitely falls into the massive turd category.

 

The Undead Review

 

 

Directed By: George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Bruiser)

Starring: Will MacMillan (The Enforcer, Salvador), Harold Wayne Jones (Nightriders, Provoked), and Lane Carroll (Hercules in New York, There’s Always Vanilla)

Released By: Pittsburg Films and Cambist Films

Release Year: 1973

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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2 Responses to The Crazies

  1. subitolove says:

    Nice review! Check out mine on Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

    Like

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