38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
"Goin' Crazy, Crazy on You!",
This review is from: The Crazies (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!" For a film that originally came out in 1973 that line is not only prescient but brave;THE CRAZIES is unsparing in its depiction of the lunacy of the armed forces--even the soldiers themselves recognize it--in this way the film is similar in spirit to CATCH 22 and its chilling to think about how the entire concept was considered pretty far-fetched upon its first release--even though it was inspired by true events in Utah in which a cannister of nerve gas fell from an army truck and killed a bunch of cattle (also the subject of George C Scotts directorial debut, RAGE 1972. ) and to then realize how familiar, dare i say COMFORTABLE we are with these kinds of concepts today after the cult attacks in the tokyo subways in the 90's and all our current preoccupations with bio-warfare,dirty bombs and Homeland Security.
This is an excellent edition of this long unavailable film; It looks the best it probably ever has since it was first barely released in theatres back in '73. The commentary by George Romero
is hilarious and very entertaining as well as very informative. There is a big-budget remake scheduled for 2006 and I, for one, can't wait. If its anything like the fantastic 2004 remake of Romero's Dawn of the Dead, it will be awesome!THE CRAZIES remains one of the most potent indictments against out of control militarism that has ever been made in America and its also a gripping adventure story, told with style and ingenuity.