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 so....off.
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 Turn.....farmers 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