Monday, January 25, 2010

The Crazies: Congratulations Knitting Needles, You Are My New Favorite Murder Weapon!

On the advice and plea of my good friend Chris Hallock of All Things Horror I have decided to participate in the discussions about George A Romero's 1973 hidden treasure The Crazies. One of his earlier films that is seldom talked about except in regards to the upcoming remake in February, The Crazies is a genuine piece of untouched disease ridden perfection- well almost. There are quite a bit of bad acting moments, bad script writing, and just some overall oddly placed scenes--but that doesn't prevent my eye from noticing some stunning images and scenes that filled me with quite a bit of unease.

Romero loves his disease ridden small towns- where the army must intervene albeit poorly and The Crazies is no exception. When an army plane that is carrying an untested biological weapon crashes and pollutes the water supply with said "weapon"- the town starts acting "crazy". Either the disease kills them or causes them to turn into homicidal maniacs- which panics the government who sets up a quarantine. In true disease hysteria fashion- if any infected townspeople get out the government is ready to destroy the entire town with one drop of the bomb. The only problem is- how do we sort out the "crazy" people from the actual crazy people?

The Crazies tickles my brain waves more so- then the themes of zombie movies because it tackles the idea of the infected not really being infected. So we have this disease that makes people un-relentlessly angry and violent usually culminating in murder- except that's usually prevented by an army man with perfect aim. So who's to say all these infected people actually had the disease? If you were being unfairly held against your will and shoved into a small area with tons of people- do you think you would react sanely? What the army so horribly ignores is the fact that it's mostly their own actions that are making the citizens "crazy". Sure there a few who are actually "crazy" - the old lady comes to mind. But most people are merely just panicking. The government sucks!

Here are some of the more creepier moments that really made me shift uncomfortably in my seat.

When the storm troopers enter the house with the little old lady and that girl is absentmindedly playing the piano with that silly look on her face. Something is obviously wrong here. Then one of the soldier's heads upstairs to where the old lady is calmly knitting with a smile on her face. The way she just rises up from the chair, walks over to the solider and stabs him with the knitting needle is insane! And to top it all off after she's done she takes her blood soaked needle, sits back down and gets right back to knitting! It was one of those scenes that I just wanted to rewind and play and over and over again. And surely one of the creepiest scenes I have ever seen.

Then there's also the deeply unsettling moment of the father raping his daughter- although let's get serious that wasn't rape it was pretty consensual which makes it even worse. The horrible part about that is that you could sense that building up- but purposely ignored it out of sheer disgust. He kept touching her in these uncharacteristically close ways and I kept thinking I had just pretended that he said she was his daughter. Bleck.

A subtly creepy scene is when that woman is sweeping up the blood stained grass after all hell breaks loose. Honestly who thought of that- it's amazing! Nothing says crazy like sweeping the grass.

And then what I think the most disturbing scenes were- are the scenes where children are present and weeping over parents killed by the army. And even scenes of the children who had apparently caught a case of the "crazies". The two kids in the beginning for instance- and what they witness is pretty disturbing. Innocent kids usually have the power to tug at your heart strings- but something about these scenes just made me feel

Anyways- needless to say I am very glad Chris urged me to see this one- and I must urge you all to do the same. It is still available to watch on Youtube in 10 easy parts so get on it! After watching, I must say that I am somewhat curious to see what this remake will bring to the table. Although Romero's 1973 version is pretty decent there is a lot of room for improvement and I am so curious to see how they will portray the side of the government and all those shenanigans. Plus it'll probably be awesome to see some crazy hicks kill people with pitchforks. Oh wait that's Wrong then. Crazy farmers. Bring it on. Ok I just watched the trailer and it looks like this will definitely be concentrating more on the aspect of the actual disease- which eh kind of sucks. There are too many disease taking over the world movies right now. I prefer the angle of the government being dick heads. Also "Mad World?" Yeah that's been done.

Buy The Crazies at Horror Movie Empire


Dod said...

What a fun movie with some really wonderfully creepy moments. I reviewed it a few months ago and it was better than I expected. Lynn Lowry is one of my favorite unsung horror actresses, and her final scene just struck me somehow with that final word: "oh." Certain death scenes were just so sad.

And you gotta love a character with the name of Clank.

deadlydolls said...

I looooooove The Crazies, but yes, it's a highly imperfect film. Still, Lowry is wonderful and some of those stand alone scenes--the kids in the opening with no soundtrack, the granny needle, the Hazmat wearing soldier suddenly firing on his fellow men--ooooh they get under my skin.

Franco Macabro said...

My main problem with this movie are the technical faults, you cant really hear what people are saying sometimes because it was recorded in such an awful way. I guess you could say it adds to the chaos, but Im partial to understanding dialog myself. That, plus the dvd had no subtitles at all.

But I do enjoy this flick, I like that scene where the girl (I think it was actress Lyn Lory) goes out into the open field, in the middle of all the sheep..and she just looks insane!

Andre said...

Yes! She wanders out into the fields and is all airy and happy- and the soldiers come and she's like... "Hi!" "Hi how are you?" *Dreamy look* It is VERY creepy. Especially when you think about the two extremes the so called disease has. You're either really nice and happy or you want to kill someone, yikes.

Chris H said...

Yes! So glad you had time to check this out with your hectic schedule! So glad to have your insight!

I have a newfound love for this one and admire it for all it's imperfect perfections.

I'm going to string together all the posts about The Crazies and write my own little thing about it in the next week or two. I'll link to this one, Andre! Dod March, can you link me to your review?

Dod said...

Sure thing, Chris, I'll e-mail the link to you.

WeirdArchives said...

One of my personal favorites in spite of its flaws. Probably more timely now considering this is the age of possible bio-terrorism and mishap. I wasn't surprised by the upcoming remake and I only hope it will not be as bad as it might get. Still, I'm glad I got to see it the original. Potent stuff.

the jaded viewer said...

I'm actually watching this right now...going to chime in my thoughts real soon as well.

I was using the DVD box as a coaster...thank goodness the actual DVD was in another box.

Andre Dumas said...

Yay I look forward to reading your thoughts Jaded! Yikes at least use something awful for a coaster....H2 maybe.