Presented by Cinematic Void – US Premiere
Double Feature with MARTIN
A manmade combat virus overtakes the citizens of a small Pennsylvania town, turning the people into psychopaths. The military attempt to quarantine the residents before the virus spreads further.
After unsuccessfully attempting to stretch out from the confines of the horror film with THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA and SEASON OF THE WITCH, George Romero returned to the genre while riffing on his landmark first feature, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
While THE CRAZIES and NIGHT both share a similar premise and small Pennsylvania town setting, Romero isn’t making a carbon copy of his previous success.
NIGHT featured an unknown incident that created the horde of the living dead. The genesis of THE CRAZIES on the other hand is crystal clear. A military accident unleashes a virus upon a small town infecting the majority of the population. The lucky ones die right away, the others become savage lunatics.
Trying to prevent this incident from turning into a full-blown pandemic, the army quickly swoops in to contain the situation by any means necessary. However, not everyone in the town has become infected.
A small group with former Green Beret, David, his pregnant wife Judy, his friend Clank, and a strange father and daughter duo of Artie and Kathy (played by 70s horror queen Lynn Lowry) try to escape the Military quarantine. Not only must deal with the infected, but also with the soldiers who are ordered to shoot first ask questions later.
While Romero is much beloved as an iconic horror filmmaker, one of his greatest assets is his skills as an editor. He’s quick cutting gives THE CRAZIES a frenetic energy to the action. It’s a master class in Eisenstein Soviet montage that relays visual information quickly and drives the narrative at break neck speed.
Just as he expanded upon the ideas of NIGHT OF THE LIVING for THE CRAZIES, Romero would use this film as springboard for DAWN OF THE DEAD a five years later. But THE CRAZIES stands on its own out side of Romero’s living dead films.
While it might not have the same esteem as its zombie brethren, it’s truly a remarkable piece of regionally made exploitation cinema.
Special Thanks to Arrow Video
Plays in the Shudder Theatre @Egyptian
Brand New 4K Restoration Courtesy of Arrow Video
Director: George A. Romero
Runtime: 103 minutes