Caution: Spoilers Galore!
As far as horror movies go, The Crazies is fairly standard stuff. A plane crash-lands in a remote marsh just a tick upstream of the rural farming town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa. On board is a biological weapon, engineered by the U.S. government in order to “destabilize populations”; allegedly, it was en route to “an incinerator in Dallas,” having proven too dangerous for wide scale use. The plane’s payload slowly leaks into its watery tomb, where the contaminant is carried downstream, straight into Ogden Marsh’s water supply – and onto its citizens’ crops and into their bellies. In short order, the virus infects the town’s residents, transforming them from loving husbands and mild-mannered educators into violent, homicidal “crazies.” *
The federal government quickly moves in, quarantining the town and separating the townspeople into two groups – “infected” and “not” – ripping families apart in the process. Those who are thought to be sick are taken to the local high school (now set up as a makeshift hospital), strapped to hospital gurneys, and “treated.” (“Observed” is more like it. The viewer doesn’t get the feeling that there’s anything the doctors can do to help their patients.) The healthy residents are transported to a large gas station/truck stop/convenience store situated on the edge of town, ostensibly for eventual evacuation to nearby Sioux City. Of course, because this is a horror film and all, things do not go as planned; a riot breaks out at the high school, leading to the government’s evacuation (and eventual nuclear incineration, complete with cover-up) of Ogden Marsh. The events unfold within a 96-hour period (two days pre- and two days post-outbreak), during which the audience follows four heroes – the local sheriff and deputy; the sheriff’s wife, who’s also the town’s only doctor; and her teenage assistant – as they try to understand what’s happening to their fellow citizens and, later, escape to safety.
What’s particularly interesting about The Crazies from a vegan perspective is the way in which the town’s residents are portrayed, pre- and post-infection. Precipitating the sheriff’s hunt for and discovery of the downed plane is the discovery of its pilot – or rather, its pilot’s body – in the marsh by a group of (duck?) hunters, whom the sheriff scolds for illegal, off-season hunting.