Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Another Small Town Falls to a Pseudo-Zombie Outbreak, or Thoughts on George A. Romero’s The Crazies

Written and Directed by Zombie Godfather George A. Romero of Night of The Living Dead (1968), The Crazies (1973) depicts a Vietnam-era civil disorder and societal breakdown in small town America, thanks to a bio-weapon code named Trixie that creates homicidal crazy people, hence, the title.  All of George A. Romero’s movies always contain at least a hint of his inherent counter-culture distrust of government and authority, but it is a central theme in The Crazies.
The infection is in the water source and nobody rises from the dead, but the government responds as if it’s a zombie outbreak in now familiar ways.  There’s a desperate cover-up by the military and government as they scramble to contain the outbreak and deflect responsibility.  Gas masks and haz-mat suits create anonymous stormtroopers while cleverly offering valuable exposition without actually talking about it.  Citizens are rounded up at gunpoint, in order to not create a panic, when of course it has the opposite effect.  The town is under siege from within by the zombie/crazies and without from the Army trying to contain the outbreak without offering any information to the townspeople.
The first half of The Crazies follows the government response, while the second half returns to Night of The Living Dead territory with a group of townies that escape from the soldiers and try to survive in the countryside.  That goes just as well as you would expect in a George A. Romero movie. 
It’s a low budget movie with an indie (or what was called at the time) guerilla vibe.  A lot of scenes looked like they were filmed in somebody’s kitchen with a varied talent pool of amateur actors.  But it still remains an effective story that predates movies like Return of the Living Dead (1985), 28 Days Later (2002), the Resident Evil (2002) series, Quarantine (2008) and Rec (2007), and Cabin Fever (2002).  There was an updated remake with Timothy Olyphant in 2010 that elaborated on the story and in many ways is superior to the original. Yes, I hate remakes, but it’s hard to stay mad at Seth Bullock and Rayland Givens.

my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.