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Crazies, The (1973, Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan)

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Having established an affinity with the undead, George A. Romero became the acknowledged Pope of no hope with this tale of mass anarchy. In Evans City, Pennsylvania, a resident slaughters his family and sets fire to his house, an incident soon explained when the area is invaded by the army, who reveal that a plane crash has allowed the cargo of a prototype virus to enter the local water supply.

Dr. Brookmyre (Will Disney) is entrusted with limited supplies of the antidote, and prescribes some to Judy (Lane Carroll), his pregnant nurse, and some for her to share with her lover David (Will McMillan). But she is unable to find him after the townsfolk riot and the army attempts to take control, preparing to bomb the city if necessary. As Colonel Peckem (Lloyd Hollar) is flown in, he orders Dr. Watts (Richard France), the scientist behind the virus, to produce more antidote. To his horror, Watts informs him that the virus story was a smokescreen, and the plane actually contained a biological weapon with no known cure.

The victims begin to multiply and murder ensues. Judy and David flee with their friend Clank (Harold Wayne Jones), but as their own savage instincts emerge one of them realises they have been infected, and the army is closing in. Released as Vietnam burned and Watergate unravelled, Romero’s distrust of authority appears timely and justified, while his cover-ups and conspiracies reads like an early X-File.

production details
USA | 103 minutes | 1973

Writer and Director: George A. Romero from an original script by Paul McCollough

cast
Lane Carroll as Judy
Will MacMillan as David
Harold Wayne Jones as Clank
Lynn Lowry as Kathy
Lloyd Hollar as Col. Peckem
Richard Liberty as Artie
Richard France as Dr. Watts
Harry Spillman as Maj. Ryder
Bill Thunhurst as Brubaker
Stephen Liska as Soldier
S. William Hinzman as Man Shooting at Doctor’s Office
Will Disney as Dr. Brookmyre
Edith Bell as Lab Technician
Leland Starnes as Shelby
A.C. McDonald as Gen. Bowen

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