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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Crazies [Blu-ray]

 

( George A. Romero, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Pittsburgh Films

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:43:01.383 

Disc Size: 47,330,308,764 bytes

Feature Size: 30,533,467,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Custom Blu-ray case

Release date: October 23rd - November 14th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Commentary:
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford and Bill Ackerman
Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz takes us on a guided tour of Evans City, PA and the locations used in The Crazies (12:24)
Crazy for Lynn Lowry cult star Lynn Lowry discusses her early career including her role in The Crazies (15:54)
The Crazies Filming Locations (26:56)
Q&A with Lynn Lowry filmed at the 2016 Abertoir Film Festival (35:51)
The Crazies Collectable Scans (6:04)
Audio interview with producer Lee Hessel (4:31)
Trailers (2:56 + 1:03)
Alt - Title sequence (0:33)
Behind-the-scenes footage with optional commentary by Lawrence DeVincentz (6:25)

Romero package comes with reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx and a limited Edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger, Kier-La Janisse and Heather Drain

DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A plane carrying a biological weapon crashes near a small Pennsylvania town, unleashing a merciless virus that renders its victims insane and prone to violence. Desperate to cover up the situation, the government orders a quarantine of Evans City, calling in the army to enforce martial law and subdue the ever-growing number of Crazies.


Released less than five years after George A. Romero’s first feature film,
Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies continues the director’s efforts to blend gruesome horror with pointed social commentary. Unlike Night of the Living Dead, however, in which observations on the nature of humanity are consistently overshadowed by the relentless terror of the zombie hordes, The Crazies allows a blistering Vietnam-era attack on the ineptitude and heartlessness of both the government and military to significantly dilute its promising horror element.

Excerpt from NotComing located HERE

 

 

The Film:

When it was first released in 1973, George A. Romero's The Crazies was seen by many critics as an imitative and less effective version of his earlier cult phenomena, Night of the Living Dead (1968) but, despite some superficial similarities, the film's thought-provoking and completely plausible premise is much more relevant three decades later. At the time, however, due to inadequate distribution and a confused marketing campaign (in some areas, the film was released under the title Code Name: Trixie), The Crazies vanished from theatres before it had a chance to find its audience. Today its frenzied, fever-pitch narrative depicting a germ warfare weapon gone awry and a society breaking down to its most primitive level under martial law seems remarkably prescient for a 1973 film. It's also one of the rare times that a film's obvious low-budget, lack of a name cast and crude shock effects work in its favor, giving it a raw immediacy not unlike a breaking news story.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

Most of George Romero’s films operate as survivalist horror films – where protagonists are forced to confront the nightmare of a world suddenly turned on its head. In The Crazies, Romero propels us into the nightmare with a grim urgency. The military operation and escape scenes have a gritty realism in their setting up and detailing. Crises are compounded and frustrated, and during these scenes the plot moves with engrossing regard. The shootouts between soldiers and crazies are handled with an admirable large-scaled flair. Romero plays some good shock images – like the grandmother who sits knitting and then smilingly turns to stab one of her needles into an inquiring soldier; the priest setting himself on fire; or the little child watching as her mother is shot and then torched by soldiers. However, the most impressive images in the film are the internal psychological horrors – the subtlety that comes in watching the party’s inner weakening – of the gung ho relish with which Harold Wayne Johns starts shooting up soldiers...

Excerpt from Moira located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

This is the another Arrow Blu-ray release that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same package.

 

NOTE: As Michael Brooke informed us on Facebook in regards to Day of Anger: 'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.' The Crazies is the same situation.

 

Romero Studio's The Crazies gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films advertised as a "Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative".  It is dual-layered with a max'ed-out bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. Colors show depth, there is no noise and the 1080P supports a film-like, presentation in the original 1.66:1 frame.  This Blu-ray looks excellent in-motion with impressive detail in the few close-ups.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit). It is clear, flat but packs an eerie presence within the confines of the original presentation with some scattered dialogue. The score is by Bruce Roberts with Beverly Bremers' Heaven Help Us composed by Carole Bayer Sager and Melissa Manchester - which may be noticeable by some. There is always a desperate atmosphere in The Crazies and the lossless transfer supports that tension. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE playable worldwide.

 

Extras :

Arrow include a brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford with brief input from Bill Ackerman and so much is covered from the director's visual cameo to the use of spatial disorientation. It's professional and excellent. Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies Romero spends a dozen minutes with historian Lawrence DeVincentz taking us on a guided tour of Evans City, PA and the locations used in The Crazies. Crazy for Lynn Lowry has 1/4 hour with cult star Lynn Lowry discussing her early career including her role in The Crazies. There are further featurettes including a 1/2 hour Q+A with Lynn Lowry filmed at the 2016 Abertoir Film Festival, The Crazies Collectable Scans, brief audio interview with producer Lee Hessel trailers - alt title sequence and behind-the-scenes footage with optional commentary by Lawrence DeVincentz. The Romero package comes with reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx and a limited Edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger, Kier-La Janisse and Heather Drain.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Romero Fans will be so pleased to own this keepsake release as part of their digital library. It retains all the genre's charm with Romero's addictive style.  The Arrow Blu-ray is a gem with competently transferred a/v and extensive supplements, including the informative commentary. A film prefacing many of the apocalypse-related efforts that would follow. Strongly endorsed! 

Gary Tooze

October 30th, 2017




 

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