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The Crazies (Code Name: Trixie)

By Jerry Renshaw

During the 10 years between Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, director George Romero had a string of box-office flops--some of which were actually quite good. For example,there's The Crazies, in which a military plane carrying biological-warfare agents crashes near Evans City, Pennsylvania. The virus gets into the town's water supply and has two effects on the infected: death or irreversible insanity. The military moves in to contain the situation, but the local populace regards the army as a menacing force and things rapidly spin out of control. Soon the highly contagious virus infects the whole town and the soldiers as well, while a government scientist races to find an antidote. The Crazies features some great set pieces as the virus spreads: a little old lady smiles sweetly and stabs a soldier to death with a knitting needle; a young woman placidly sweeps with a broom while soldiers and locals have a bloody firefight around her; a soldier swings his rifle wildly at his comrades until they shoot him.

Made in the shadow of both Vietnam and Watergate, The Crazies contains plenty of allegory: an invasion by military force, government cover-up and duplicity, madness and eventually genocide (all set, of course, in Romero's beloved Pennsylvania). The President only appears on television, and then only the back of his head is shown as he speaks in detached, almost bored tones. Like Night of the Living Dead, this film offers no hope, no comfort, and sure as hell no happy ending. Keep an eye out for Romero in a somewhat gassy role as Evans City's mayor.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: George A. Romero

Stars: Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan

Released: March 16, 1973

Availability: DVD VHS


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