Sunday, March 07, 2010

"The Crazies": Participant media helps remake a classic Romero horror movie to tell us that government will do anything

When I saw that the remake (directed by Breck Eisner) of George Romero’s “The Crazies” was accomplished with Participant Media (the distributor is indie-friendly Overture Films, even if the narrative style would fit Screen Gems; the director is ) I presumed there was a political message; I had never seen the 1973 original – I have seen the zombie-fest “Night of the Living Dead”.

To its credit, the film has a message, well suited to any state’s libertarian party: the government will do anything it can get away with to cover up its mistakes (that happens in “Cassandra Crossing”, previous post). So if it invents a dangerous virus or toxin and accidentally releases it (here it’s a plane crash, covered up in a river bottom, that could be the Mississippi in the northeast corner of Iowa), and the people go crazy with rabies symptoms, well, you’ll see a heavy-handed G-man presence, with fences, choppers, people in restraints, turning into monsters. At times I thought of “District 9” although this movie is not so artsy; I remembered the panicky pictures of predicted quarantine camps in “The Advocate” in the 1980s.

Yes, government will do anything, including nuke its own citizens, and entire town, to contain it; but of course the heroes (played by Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell; the lean and hungry Joe Anderson gives a good performance as a guy who sacrifices himself) could contaminate a larger city, which might have to be taken out later. Pretty soon we will reach a post-apocalyptic world. I last drove through Cedar Rapids in 1998. Anyway, the ending takes the movie into zones like “28 Days Later”. By the way, there is no Pierce County in Iowa.

The other “obvious” comparison could be the three “Invasion of the Body Snatcher” movies, but that concept is much more subtle, and frightening. In fact, my own novel manuscript supposes that a novel virus, catalyzed by an unusual isotope capable of encapsulating a micro black hole, can allow people to be taken over by “stronger” entities (“angels”) as the world population faces “contraction”, a play on “demographic winter.”

Look at “Save Ogden Marsh” on blogger here and “The Truth about Trixie here.

Overture's official site, and Overture's own embed of its trailer:

Hollywoodstreams Youtube trailer for the original 1973 film (Pittsburgh Films and Cambist Films; the original film takes place in PA):

Static pictures (mine): Antimine weapon with microwave disabler at Aberdeen Ordnance museum. MD (it's scary what the government has); H-bomb picture from Smithsonian, American History.

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