The Crazies Movie Matchup

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In 1968 an unknown director named George A. Romero terrified movie going audiences with the tale of the dead returning from their graves to terrorize the living in the film Night of the Living Dead. Not only was an entire genre redefined overnight, but the young Romero almost instantly became a cult favorite. Fast forward a few years and the world was eagerly awaiting what the man who had both horrified and delighted fans would come out with next after releasing both There’s Always Vanilla and Hungry Wives to disappointed fans. The result? 1973’s The Crazies. While Night of the Living Dead had become almost instantly famous, Romero’s forth film, though better received than the previous two films, was met with near lackluster response. Those expecting another masterpiece were sorely let down, and though the film would gain a cult following, it mostly faded into the background of horror history, remembered fondly by some and apathetically by others. Then came the year 2010 and into theatres crept the remake that no one seemed to be asking for but which was released regardless. Sure, some purist bitched and moaned about the audacity in remaking a Romero classic, unwilling to admit that maybe the film they idolized needed a good update that could fix many of the mistakes its predecessor had made, and there were most assuredly many of them made. Let’s take a look at both films.

The Crazies 1973: When a plane carrying an experimental virus crash lands in a rural Pennsylvania town, the virus the plane is carrying is released into the local water supply and begins infecting the residents of said town. The virus slowly turns its victims into raving lunatics before eventually killing them. While the town descends into chaos the military moves in to try and control the situation, rounding up the population and putting them into quarantine. As the military discusses its options, a group of escaped townsfolk try and avoid the search parties and get out of town before being rounded up themselves.

The Crazies 2010: The plot is pretty much exactly as stated above with maybe just a few slight variations such as occupations of the escapees (firefighters in the original, town sheriffs in the remake) and lengths to which the military is willing to immediately go to (more reserved in the original, more brutal in the remake).

Both films follow the same basic plot structure: plane crashes, virus escapes, people are infected, people go crazy, and army moves into clean up the situation. The differences in story are actually pretty subtle, but do eventually end up meaning quite a bit in how both movies come across. For instance, military response time. In the original the military shows up rather quick, appearing almost five minutes into the film, to deal with the release of Trixie (the name of the virus). In the remake they don’t show up so quick, they more or less watch from the sidelines, seeing how things play out until they are forced to move in and clean up. There’s also how the military reacts once they do move in. In the original they round everyone up and try and save as many as humanly possible while the remake’s military would rather just rid themselves of any witnesses as well as make sure there is no one left to spread the virus any further. The remake’s military is not only more brutal but a whole lot closer to what the response would most likely be in that type of situation. There’s also the response of the survivors trying to escape town. In the original they hide out for a while before trying to make a break for it, thereby giving the military even more time to lock the town down, while the remake escapees try to get the hell out of there as quickly as they can, not waiting for anything other than the rescue of loved ones they can’t leave behind. So the differences are there, and they do matter in the end, but the main story is damn near identical.

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{Our two groups of escapees}

So which movie do I think is better? It’s a fairly easy answer and that’s the remake. Besides the aforementioned better organized, more controlled, and more accurate military response or the actions the main groups of escapees take, there is a whole host of things that make the remake a better flick. The escapees are a great first example as they lead into one thing that the remake improved upon and that’s the characters in general. Not only are there fewer of them, meaning you actually get a chance to care about them versus the original’s huge slew of characters that didn’t allow you to care about a single one, but they are portrayed by much better actors who don’t ham it up. There is also the much better pacing from the remake. The original is mainly just a bunch of people talking nonstop, either screaming at each other or apathetically grieving their situation. It’s such a slow film that by the time it’s over you feel like you’ve been listening to one, long, boring conversation for hours while in actuality you’ve only been stuck in place for an hour and forty five minutes. The remake starts strong and keeps up its pace throughout the entire film, never leaving you feeling like you’re watching something that could have easily been cut out without effecting the main flick. That’s pretty much the entire original film, a series of scenes that feel like they could have been cut down to about twenty minutes and still come across the same. The win for this one goes to the remake.

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{Winner}

Alright, so we’ve established that the remake is a better film (at least in this humble reviewer’s opinion) but which group of crazies would win in a fight?

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{Crazy 1973 (left) vs. Crazy 2010 (right)}

The Crazies (1973): The virus causing the crazies spreads quickly and for most it doesn’t take long before it begins changing the victim’s sanity. It causes almost instant delirium in those infected, causing them to act in ways that any sane person would realize as insane. The victims aren’t much use nor are most of them any real danger to those around them, save for possibly spreading the virus further. While the delirium is hard to control in most, it is usually fairly passive save for a few, and even though there are those that are urged on towards violence, either firing guns wildly at innocents or even torching their own home, most seem to go into a near catatonic state or even peaceably revert to a childlike mentality. Eventually, no matter what state of delirium was brought on, the virus kills its victims.

The Crazies (2010): Much like in the original, the virus causing the crazies spreads quickly and doesn’t seem to take much time to begin effecting its victims. It also causes delirium and insanity but the changes in sanity vary from victim to victim. Some may become psychopathically violent, others may kill with no inherent reason, and still others will become little more than lost, brain dead individuals wandering around the former shell of their town. The most dangerous though are the psychopathically violent. Not only do they seem to greatly enjoy killing, but they do it with wild abandon, taking out anyone they view as a threat (which happens to be damn near everyone). Worst of all they still seem capable of some form of rational thought, though at a seriously degraded level. Again though, no matter what state of delirium was brought on, the virus kills its victims.

So let’s take a look at the stats:

 

The Crazies (1973):

-delirium is unpredictable

-virus takes over quickly

-violence shown in some of the victims

-victim unable to differentiate reality from fantasy

-most victims left near catatonic or in a childlike state

-virus eventually kills its host

 

The Crazies (2010):

-delirium is unpredictable

-virus takes over quickly

-violence shown in most of the victims

-victim unable to differentiate reality from fantasy

-some victims left near catatonic or in a childlike state

-violence is taken to the extreme in a good percentage of victims

-violence can take on psychopathic levels

-virus eventually kills its host

 

So who would win in a fight? Mainly it’s going to be the remake’s crazies, but there is also the military to worry about.   Crazy vs Crazy, the remake’s crazies would kick the ever loving shit out of the original’s. The remake’s crazies are far more violent and violent on a greater number as well, meaning there are more violent crazies in the remake than there are in the original. Most don’t seem too threatening in the original while I’d want to stay far, far away from damn near all of the remake’s crazies. That being said, if you added in the military response, then depending on the military used no one wins. The military in the original is kind of inept and unable to fully control the situation, being too afraid to use any means necessary to do so while the military in the remake will do whatever needs to be done. If its remake’s crazies versus original crazies plus original military, the remake’s crazies still win hands down, but if you add in the military from the remake then neither group wins. So I guess the winner of this fight is neither group of crazies, but the military from the remake.

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{Winner: 2010’s military}

 

The Undead Review

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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