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The Crazies

3.4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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(Apr 29, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

OF THE LIVING DEAD comes this chilling film about biological warfare. Made in the shadow of both Vietnam and Watergate, THE CRAZIES is a grim allegory about a government conspiracy against the public that ultimately results in genocide. The story is set in director George Romero's home state of Pennsylvania. In the film, a government plane carrying a dangerous virus crashes near the small town of Evans City. The virus finds its way into the town's drinking water, turning everyone who is exposed to it into a murderous lunatic. Firefighter David (Will McMillan) and his pregnant wife, Judy (Lane Carroll), remain unaffected but face great danger in trying to escape the town, which has been quarantined by the US army, whose members lurk around every corner, clad in gas masks and protective suits. The President is often depicted as a detached talking head, offering no hope to citizens trapped by the mistakes of his administration. Similar in tone and structure to his DEAD trilogy, Romero's film overcomes a visibly limited budget to create a colorful 1970s genre film that neatly captures the feeling of governmental distrust that was characteristic of the Vietnam era. With both a social message and plenty of splatter, THE CRAZIES is an underrated but appealing horror film.

Special Features

  • "The Cult Film Legacy of Lynn Lowry": Interview with star Lynn Lowry
  • TV Spots
  • Poster and Still Gallery
  • George Romero Bio

Product Details

  • Actors: Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar, Lynn Lowry
  • Directors: George A. Romero
  • Writers: George A. Romero, Paul McCollough
  • Producers: A.C. Croft, Margaret Walsh
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Blue Underground
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2003
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008WJDA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,809 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Crazies" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
After coming out of nowhere with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in 1968 Pittsburgh director George Romero made two flops that no one has ever heard of, THERE"S ALWAYS VANILLA and SEASON OF THE WITCH. Then in 1973 his financially strapped indie distributors begged him to make another "horror" film and for a paltry 270, 000 dollars he went to Evans City, PA and made THE CRAZIES. Its about an accidental bio-warfare spill that drives people crazy(you seeing where Danny Boyle got some inspiration for 28 Days Later?) and the Army's disastrous attempt at containment. Watching it today one is struck by its relentlessly downbeat tone and the power of the imagery; i was amazed at the hard-headedness; no one is spared unjustifiably to satisfy the demands of an audience--this is the 70's, remember--its got scenes that, in todays climate, seriously resonate: bio-suited soldiers taking over a small town, dragging screaming children from their beds, shooting escapees in the back; this has to be the most outright anti-militarist film from the early 70's besides PUNISHMENT PARK. This is heavy stuff, especially seen in the light of our current domestic situation,where police and military intrusions upon everyday life are becoming more and more "normal". You've got to hand it to George Romero, he doesn't pull any punches; At one point he has some civilians saying to our protagonists, " Let's wait for the army to help us!" to which one of the heroes, a vietnam veteran, replies,
"The army ain't anyone's friend, we know--we were in it!
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Format: DVD
What a shame that we don't have more of a culture of independent filmmaking in this country. "The Crazies" is not "Citizen Kane", but Romero completists will appreciate this fine presentation. You won't find the script and production values of "The Andromeda Strain", but if you enjoy out-of-control virus thrillers, then this film is a good choice. It's an odd bridge between the bleak horror of "Night of the Living Dead" and the apocalyptic farce of "Dawn of the Dead".

As expected, many classic Romero themes begin to formulate in this early film. The replacement of one society by another, with the "new" society simply expressing exaggerated characteristics of the "old". We see a bureaucratized, inefficient government that ends of doing far more harm than good. And of course we see the usual two-dimensional negative depiction of military characters. (This has always been a weakness in Romero's word - we know the government is bad, why underscore that point with a bad cliche).

Like almost all of his work, Romero filmed this in the Pittsburgh area largely with local talent. The acting is hit-and-miss...but Romero takes some interesting risks, especially in light of its age. In terms of directing, writing, and cinematography, Romero accomplished a great deal with very limited resources. There are some images you won't forget...an insane grandmother killing a soldier with knitting needles is more disturbing than it sounds, for example.

I run hot and cold towards Romero's films. He's had some excellent success, and some profound failures - but in general, there should be more filmakers like him. I'd much rather see something as risk-taking as "The Crazies" than normal Hollywood fare. The extras on this DVD are first-rate. We're treated to a director's commentary, an interview with a period actress, trailers, and some clips from other period works.
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Format: DVD
George Romero's non-'Dead' films are, as a whole, under appreciated, but probably none of them is in more dire need of greater recognition than 'The Crazies'. It's not a perfect film, by any means, but it's well done, considering the budgetary restraints, and ranks as perhaps his bleakest and most ambitious film, and is an interesting bridge between his inital masterpiece `Night of the Living Dead' and the later ones `Martin' and `Dawn of the Dead'. (The equally obscure `Season of the Witch' is also found in this era. It's a heavily flawed film, but better than you might think.)

The film involves the unintended contamination of Evans City with an experimental bio-weapon named Trixie. Needless to say, the virus causes the victims to go insane, though this can mean a lot of things ranging from homicidal rage to suicide to sheer goofiness. The military is called in to keep things contained, but the situation is clearly out of hand. 'The Crazies' is particularly ambitious because it shows the tragedy from a variety of angles: We primarily identify with a lone group of towns people who just wanna get the hell out of there, but we also get to know the central military command of the operation, the leadership on the ground, the scientists who both created the virus and are trying to now find a sort of cure, all while seeing plenty of conflict between the ill-informed soldiers and the other towns people, both crazy and normal. The film is particularly interesting in that it has no real villains. The military people are not overwhelmingly scrupulous in their conduct, but they are rarely truly malevolent either. (And the head of the operation proves to be one of the most likable characters in the film.
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