Errol Morris has been an icon of documentary filmmaking for decades now, with films like “Gates of Heaven,” “The Thin Blue Line” and “The Fog of War” standing as all-timers of nonfiction filmmaking. In recent years he’s taken a number of forays into short-form, directing several Op-Docs for the New York Times. “Demon in the Freezer” is his eighth of these, as well as the 200th overall. It’s well worth 18 minutes of your day.
Morris delves into the ongoing debate over smallpox, which has been considered eradicated for decades now. Stocks of the virus remain for research purposes, but many believe these last remaining samples should be destroyed lest they end up in the wrong hands and/or end up being used as a biological weapon.
“Demon in the Freezer” is instantly recognizable as a Morris film, from his distinctive offscreen voice questioning his interviewees to the utterance of such troubling phrases as “mutually assured destruction with germs” and “Why was it so important to make the monkeys sick?” Little is resolved by the end, but Morris provides food for thought as always. At 3pm EST today, the filmmaker will participate in a live discussion on the NYT Opinion Facebook page.