Night of the Living Dead suggested that Romero was an unusual if none too clearly defined talent; two non-horror movies later, The Crazies proved it. The main plot premise echoes The Andromeda Strain: an accident with a virus creates a terrifying civil emergency, and incidentally reveals that the US government is working towards germ warfare. Romero, however, is more interested in effect than cause. First, he brilliantly updates the riddle Don Siegel posed in Invasion of the Body Snatchers: how can one tell who is infected and who isn't? The virus drives its victims mad before killing them, but what is the line between 'normal' hysteria and actual insanity? Second, and equally brilliantly, he demonstrates the difficulty in imposing martial law on a community of gun-owners, thereby creating a highly feasible vision of social collapse. Good dialogue and performances, too. Altogether, enough plusses to excuse weak plotting and occasional lapses into cliché.