The Crazies is a film written and directed by George Romero. It is about an experimental virus created by the U.S. government that gets lost and ends up in a water reserve for a small town in Ohio. Over time, victims infected with the virus show signs of blind rage, homicidal tendencies, and delinquency. Everything from murder to incest is on the table, and it is impossible to tell who is infected until the obvious signs appear.
To make this quick, I’d just like to address the main differences.
1973: This version is much slower in pace than the remake. It has an emphasis on the story and the government’s reaction to resolving the issue – where they spend time and money trying to quarantine the town and find a cure. We are told the emphasis on why the virus exists (it is a bioweapon), and we see the town tear itself apart slowly. The story shifts focus between three main groups: the government leaders, the leading scientist and doctor, and our protagonists (2 couples and an extra) who are trying to outrun the quarantine and survive. There is a decent amount of action and violence, but it’s mostly contained. Even when everything goes to Hell, it doesn’t truly feel like a panic situation.
2010: this version aims for brutality and thrills. The violence is brought to the next level and it is very fast in comparison. Instead of focusing on the same 3 groups as above, we instead are treated to a ride solely with our protagonists (including a young Timothy Olyphant), as they try to escape the quarantine and survive the inhabitants. When the shit hits the fan in this one, it goes everywhere. It’s genuinely scary, violent, and the direction is fantastic.
I’d argue that both films are wonderful, but they both serve two very different functions. The first one is more meditative on the cause and effect, and lingers with governing figures trying to make peace of the situation without simply nuking it. In the remake, nuking is the only option. It places its emphasis on horror and violence, providing an arguably better movie-going experience.
Have you seen these? Which one is your favorite? 'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra