I’d love to be told The Crazies is a great film. Especially if it’s true. I consider George Romero to be The Maestro as far as zombie movies are concerned, but my enthusiasm doesn’t quite extend to anything else he’s done. The slow-paced Martin, for instance, left me cold, but I’d be prepared to give it another go with my now no-longer teenaged head on (that old teenage head might’ve had more hair on it but, damn, it got bored easily). I fared better with Creepshow and Monkey Shines, both of which were just weird and wacky enough to keep me entertained, but as for Romero’s dull contribution to the two-part anthology Two Evil Eyes... well, talk about your “dark half”. Wait, that’s also the name of the Stephen King novel he adapted in 1993! And that was so memorable I can’t remember anything about it.
The Crazies might be the closest George has got to the outbreak themes addressed in his brilliant Dead movies without making another all-out zombie flick. It concerns the effects of a malignant virus called Trixie (scary!) which, from the looks of things, turns the residents of a Pennsylvania town into CRAZIES – which is an acronym of “Creepy Rednecks Are Zombified In Every Scene” – and causes them to engage in all kinds of “crazy” behaviour. I’m not sure how crazy exactly, but Romero isn’t one to shy away from the violent and nasty so I doubt it’s anything like the sort referred to in those hilarious “You don’t have to be mad to work here – but it helps!” signs.
But how mad would you have to be to miss The Crazies?