A- Sound B+ Extras B
starring Lane Carroll, W.G. McMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar
screenplay by Paul McCollough & George A. Romero
directed by George A. Romero
by Walter Chaw It's tough for a dyed-in-the-wool George Romero apologist to observe that a film of Romero's in good repute is an amateurish, exploitative piece of shit that banks heavily on the afterglow of his seminal Night of the Living Dead. The Crazies, his third movie in the wake of that masterpiece, finds itself ripping off the last half-hour of Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers--in lurid colour with a cast of atrocious actors in high-'70s, porn-ugly wardrobe and appearance--in its tale of how you shouldn't trust anyone over 30, so keep on truckin', man, steal this book, and if it feels good, do it. Its tragedy is airless and ineffectual, played as it is as this instantly (and hopelessly) dated relic of the flower-power generation that already had its epitaph with Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider four years prior. While its philosophy is tired and childish (a product of reading HIGH TIMES rather than an actual newspaper), it's also dreadfully paced, with the lion's share of time given over to exhausted harangues about how the government doesn't really care about the little guy and how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Never mind the greater good here, as The Crazies is so fervently incomprehensible in its hippie politic that the threat of real contamination for the rest of the country/world should one of our erstwhile heroes escape into the general population forces the audience to ally its sympathies with the jack-booted thugs. Besides, there's already a problem of identification in the film when its ostensible villains, dressed in contamination suits to save on the extras budget, are clearly just underpaid civil servants who most definitely do not deserve to be slaughtered by the yokel populace--crazy or not.