Monday, February 15, 2010

The Crazies (1973)

The Crazies (1973) Dir. By George A. Romero

Finally had a chance to sit down and watch this before the remake comes out into theaters. I thought I had seen it before when I was really young, but watching it today didn’t strike anything in my memory. Either way it’s a pretty good movie.

The plot goes as follows: 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. Written by David Carroll {}
The actual story is split into to sections which I thoroughly enjoyed. There is the side of the towns people, which is filled with anger, confusion, and general survival instinct. Then there is the side of the military, which is filled with unnecessary procedures, lack of caring, and overall overreaction to the problem. That is usually pretty apparent in any Romero film. The film itself wasn’t actually created by Romero. It was thought up by a man named Paul McCollough, and originally titled “The Mad People.” The script was passed on to a production company which thought it needed to have a little more story to it, and a little more involvement with the military. They asked Romero to do a rewrite on it, and he gladly obliged. Though dubbed a horror movie, I feel it makes it a little misleading. While the film might have been scary back in the middle of the Cold War (1951-1991), it lacks a bit transferring over into today’s time. Back then, biological warfare was at a strong point. Threats to the United States were known by all, and everyone was frightened. Bomb shelters were being built, and stocked with food. This movie must have been terrifying in the early seventies. That’s only if you view it as a horror. If you view it as a political military thriller it might be a bit more appealing today.
While Lynn Lowry, who played Kathy, is currently the only actor from this movie still active in film (including her cameo in the upcoming remake of The Crazies), the others all gave moderate performances, and due help to carry the story along. The lead female Judy, played by Lane Carrol, is who I feel is the strong point of the movie. She is really the only character who gets to be on both sides of the story at one point of the movie or another. Sadly, The Crazies was Lane’s last movie. I would have really enjoyed to see her evolve as an actress. The real focus is how the survivors deal with being quarantined. They are forced to hide, or even fight back in sort of a Red Dawn meets Outbreak sort of way. The special effects are mediocre but don’t take away from the movie. Tension built through not knowing who is infected, or who might get infected is what truly makes this movie strong. Constantly wondering why the military is making the decision they are, is quite interesting as well. Just when you think the problem is going to be solved, and everyone is going to be ok. The military screws it up.

This movie runs at a steady pace, and never really slows down. At least not enough for you to notice it. Some of the characters are loveable and laughable with memorable quotes. When you watch the movie, you will know which ones I’m talking about. I don’t want to spoil anything.

As the movie travels along is violence driven path, it collides when the two parts of the story really come together in sort of a dilettante climax of an ending. Stuff happened that I really wasn’t expecting to happen, and in definitely a pleasant surprise way. I’m excited to see what they are doing with the remake, although it doesn’t like so much military as much as crazy town people in the new one. I guess I will just have to wait and see. As for The Crazies(1973), I recommend that every watches it, but the purchase is not for everyone.

Entertainment Value: 8 Syringes out of 10
Cinematic Value: 6 Syringes out of 10


Sarah from Scare Sarah said...

Nice review. Such an awesome film! Can't wait for the remake atually!

The Mike said...

As much as I love Romero, I watched this a second time recently and couldn't get into it. I think I like his films more when he focuses on less characters. Technically it's still awesome work, but I just didn't connect.

Good write-up, though, and I'm sure my stubborn love will have me trying it again someday later.

R.D. Penning said...

keep in mind this was a first viewing for me so i got the first watch excitement

Chris Hallock said...

Great write up!

I'm doing a large piece over at All Things Horror and linking to a couple of other reviews and articles. Do you mind if I include yours?

R.D. Penning said...

I do not mind at all