The Crazies (1973) aka Code Name: Trixie


George A. Romero, whose career has now spanned more than 40 years, is much more than just “the godfather of zombies.” He’s an overtly political filmmaker whose films comprise a veritable scrapbook of the times in which they were made. But I don’t want to spoil your fun. He’s also a pulpy, subversive madman who delights in giving us blood and gore to make the real-life horrors he feeds us more visual. The horror of racism goes down easier when hungry zombies ease the pain; the horror of war goes down easier when hungry zombies ease the pain; the horror of a consumer driven society feeding on itself goes down easier when, well, hungry zombies ease the pain. His 1973 film The Crazies contains echoes of horrific events such as the Vietnam War, and the betrayals of the Nixon presidency. But, here, Romero’s not in a giving mood. There are no zombies, or anything else, to soften the blow

Thinking about government soldiers breaking into your house at night while you are asleep while wearing specter white hazmat suits and World War II esk gas masks is creepy enough to get your skin to crawl, but thats just one visual Romero shows in this underrated movie. The simple, pastoral life in Evan’s City ( Which is mention in Night of the Living Dead, remember that Evan City was five miles from the farm house in NOTLD 1990), Pennsylvania, is totally destroyed when a government-engineered biological weapon is accidentally detonated outside of town. An extremely contagious virus, code-named Trixie, has been released. When a person catches “the bug,” as it’s called, the best-case prognosis is incurable, violent insanity. Before the townsfolk know what’s happening, their sleepy little hamlet has been invaded by the army and martial law has been declared. Though the government hopes to find an antidote, it’s quietly understood that the whole town will most likely be destroyed to contain the contagion. As the public panics and begins to fight back, it becomes harder and harder for the occupying troops to tell who is and isn’t infected.

Normally, movies so “of their time” seem dated when viewed decades later, but The Crazies manages to sidestep this hurdle because its themes still hold true today. Romero seems one director who’s medium truly hold true with the passing of time. Let’s just hope he can’t see into the future, a world run by zombies is one thing….a world run by scary dressed government agents with engineered biological weapons is another. Wait…….