Directed By George Romero
Starring: Lynn Lowry, Richard France, Richard Liberty
George Romero, the man responsible for the classic zombie films Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead crafted some lesser known but just as fascinating films such as Martin and this film, The Crazies. The Crazies originally released in 1973 seems to be even more relevant today than when it was first released. Blue Underground previously released this film in a solid remastered DVD. Now just in time for the remake of the film to hit theaters they offer it up again on hi def blu-ray.
In a small town in Pennsylvania an experimental germ weapon is accidentally released causing the military to rush in an attempt to quarantine the town. The weapon code named “Trixie” causes its victims to literally go crazy.
The film kicks in quick and with the exception of a few slow bits in the middle runs at a breakneck pace all the way to the end. Within ten minutes of the opening credits an elderly woman stabs a military officer several times with a sewing needle and a man kills his wife and kids. Further in to the film there is a very disturbing scene between an infected man and his daughter. The daughter, played by Lynn Lowry, is one of the more well played and freaky characters in the film. Lynn went on to play in several other cult films.
A small group of people work out a plan to try to escape the town and get past the checkpoints while the military in gas masks and chemical outfits have forced citizens into a gym. Soon most of the people in the gym succumb to the affects of “Trixie” and go crazy. The gym quickly becomes a room of death and insanity.
A group of scientists set up shop in the school and begin to feverishly work on a cure for the “Trixie” virus before the military decides to go with Plan B, Nuke the entire town!
The Crazies is definitely a 70’s movie. This is a good thing, and a bad thing. The bad thing is that due to the look of the actors and some of the set pieces several serious bits come off humorous. The good thing is that this film was made in a time when the world wasn’t so scared of itself and living under an umbrella of political correctness. Filmmakers from this era weren’t afraid to truly shock and disturb the audience, and their are a few cases in this film where Romero does just that.
The ideas of chemical and biological danger and military law are more relevant ad scary today than even when the film was made. So The Crazies may even be scarier now than when it was first released. I love George Romero because he isn’t afraid to shock us by killing off a beloved character or ending the movie on a down beat. There are two instances where the world could have been saved but circumstances keep it from happening. These sequences are my favorite in the film and why I love George Romero. He can have a pretty cynical view of humanity and the future so he isn’t afraid to blow our minds with totally bizarre endings to his films.
The Crazies does have its share of silliness here and there and it isn’t made with a lot of style but it’s still a classic.
This 1080p presentation brings this film home looking better than it ever has before. With that said, the film is low budget and 30 years old so this won’t be a demo disc for your new home theater system. This is however the best possible way to view this film. Black levels are solid and colors seem accurate with no issues of blooming especially on the whites. There is a thick layer of grain throughout the film but this is from the source material not due to compression or mastering. Flesh tones ar well rendered and detail is surprisingly good considering the grain that present. Issues of age and budget aside this film looks quite good on blu-ray.
The film is presented in DTSHD mono. The mix has been cleaned up substantially but there’s not much in the way of dynamic sound here. There are some minor issues of distortion in louder scenes but overall everything is clean and easy to hear. It’s basic but it works for the film.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The single blu-ray disc is presented in a standard blue amaray slim case with art from the 2003 DVD version of the film. At least some new art would have been cool.
The meat of the extras consists of a running audio commentary with Director George Romero. George comes from the world of commercials and training videos so he is a very efficient filmmaker and very straight forward with his stylistic choices. In many cases it seems like he would sacrifice a style choice in order to stay under budget and to make his filming day. Any commentary with one of the greatest genre filmmakers ever is a treat.
Also on the DVD is “The Cult Film Legacy of Lynn Lowry”: Interview with star Lynn Lowry. She’s proves to be a very interesting interview subject. She shares stories of making the film and working with Romero and the other actors. Also included in the interview is information about other movies she made during the 70’s. Excellent interview.
Poster and still galleries, trailers, a George Romero Bio, and TV spots are also on the disc. Everything here was available on the previous Blue Underground DVD release of this film.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 8/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 5/10
The Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10