The Crazies – USA, 1973 – reviews

‘Why are the good people dying?’

The Crazies aka Code Name Trixie is a 1973 American science fiction horror feature film written and directed by George A. Romero (Creepshow; Dawn of the Dead; Martin; Night of the Living Dead; et al) based on “The Mad People”, an earlier screenplay by Paul McCollough.

The movie stars Lane Carroll, WG. McMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar and Lynn Lowry.

The Crazies was remade in 2010.

Plot:

A military plane crashes near a small town, infecting the water supply with a deadly virus codenamed “Trixie” that causes insanity then death. The army moves in to control the situation, only for the civilians to treat them as invaders and then infect them as well…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

The Crazies is one of those strange horror movies because it is a movie you watch and you know there is no hope.  This makes watching the movie a bit of a bummer, and it is hard to watch, but a lot of it feels scary and real.” Basement Rejects

“It’s low-budget enough to incorporate mismatched stock footage at points and many of the performances are amateurish and take some getting used to. However, once it finds its footing, it has much to offer those willing to roll with the punches.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“Every frame is awash with feeling, be it confusion, despair, hurt, anger, or any other number of emotions that define the greater experience of the “Trixie” outbreak and the subsequent government/military response. Fortunately, the film’s rough exterior does in and of itself accentuate the gritty nature of the story…” Blu-ray.com

” …a hefty dose of Nixon-era political paranoia […] seasoned with a strong critique of the military (largely taking place within the military’s own rank and file as they try to deal with the situation), simmered with a nicely raw presentation of small-town USA values and you get a potent witch’s brew of a movie.” Cinema of the Damned

” …looks forward to Day of the Dead with its depiction of bickering, cold-hearted military personnel. When focusing on them, Romero ramps up the soundtrack, including many chattering voices at once, and edits with a staccato sputter, keeping everything off-kilter and slightly annoying.” Combustible Celluloid

“The film has the forcedly hesitant acting of an amateur cast, particularly in the opening bedroom scenes, but George Romero keeps things busy enough for such not to become too noticeable […] This is one of George Romero’s best films, one that holds a muchly underrated maturity of theme and execution.” Moria

“Romero goes for the simplistic – a contaminated aquifer. He then tosses in an inept army response corps, a Washington based cabal, random brutality, and the delightfully named toxin, “Trixie”. If that wasn’t enough, The Crazies then ladles on the dread, exposing us to material […] that we aren’t used to in a fright film, while continually building up a strong head of suspense steam.” Pop Matters

“A very quickly paced and frighteningly plausible situation makes The Crazies a remarkably tense film. It starts off reasonably enough and manages to hold your attention throughout, right up until the end. In typical Romero fashion, it was shot on a fairly low budget but every penny of that budget is up there on the screen…” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!

“Overlong but slickly professional shocker that is well directed and effectively reworks themes from The Andromeda Strain and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982

” …too heavy handed in its anti-military premise and focuses too heavily on action at the expense of good characterization. It’s a worthwhile effort nudged between the director’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), but it’s not transcendental.” The Terror Trap

“It packs a punch both for what it does as well as what it says about ourselves and our society. Spellbinding, gut-wrenching stuff all the way around.” Trash Film Guru

” …any interesting ideas brought into the mix tended to get sidetracked due to the film’s obvious low-budget as well as editing that feels abrupt at times and a handful of performances (and one pretty lousy one) that felt unnatural and forced.” The Video Graveyard

“The film will be of interest primarily for those fans interested in the military theme that became so prominent in his Dead trilogy. For others, it may seem slow and improbable.” Videohound’s Complete Guide to Cult Flicks and Trash Pics

Cast and characters:

  • Lane Carroll … Judy
  • Will MacMillan … David
  • Harold Wayne Jones … Clank
  • Lloyd Hollar … Colonel Peckem
  • Lynn Lowry … Kathy
  • Richard Liberty … Artie
  • Richard France … Dr. Watts
  • Harry Spillman … Major Ryder
  • Will Disney … Dr. Brookmyre
  • Edith Bell … Lab Technician
  • Leland Starnes … Shelby
  • Bill Thunhurst … Brubaker
  • A.C. McDonald … General Bowen
  • Robert J. McCully … Hawks
  • Robert Karlowsky … Sheriff Cooper
  • Ned Schmidtke … Sgt. Tragesser
  • Tony Scott … Deputy Shade
  • Roy Cheverie … Army Doctor
  • Jack Zaharia … Priest
  • Bill Hinzman … Man in Infirmary and Crazie shooting at the doctor’s office

Filming locations:

Evans City and Zelienople, Pennsylvania

Running time:

103 minutes

Budget:

$275,000

Release:

Cambist Films released The Crazies regionally in the USA on March 16, 1973.

On 23 February 2010, the film was released onto a Blu-ray disc by Blue Underground.

Image credits: Deep Fried MoviesVideo Collector

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One Comment on “The Crazies – USA, 1973 – reviews”

  1. George Romero was so far ahead of the game it’s amazing. And this was one so ahead of it’s time. Germ/Biological Warfare, soldiers being sent in with no idea what is going on, the fear that America will turn on itself.. When your actions make folks do seemingly crazy things, how can tell who has the virus or not? The banter between the commander and the man from the Trixie team is absolutely top notch. Classic.

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