Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nightmare City

Nightmare City 1980
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Antonio Cesare Corti, Luis Maria Delgado and Piero Regnoli
Starring Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter, Maria Rosario Omaggio, Francisco Rabal, Sonia Viviani and Eduardo Fajardo
Italian zombie films are one of my favorite genres of horror films and Nightmare City is one of the better ones. It is also the first zombie film to have fast zombies and the only one I have ever seen to have zombies use machine guns. The film is by Umberto Lenzi who is better known for his cannibal opus Cannibal Ferox. This is quite a fun and entertaining zombie film. The direction is pretty solid and for a badly dubbed Italian horror film the acting is not bad. Stiglitz makes a great lead and the film has some great zombie attack sequences. I especially liked the opening scene at the airport. It is tense and when the madness breaks out you are on the edge of your seat. The pacing in the film is quite fast and furious and suits the film well. This is definitely one of the better zombie films made during this era.
The plot basics are this, reporter Dean Miller (Stiglitz) is assigned to interview a scientist that is arriving on a plane at the airport and he has a cameraman alongside him to film the interview. While he is waiting another plane makes an unexpected landing and a armed military force surrounds the plane. When the plane opens a group of blood thirsty creature disembark and use tools to kill everyone in sight and they eat their flesh. It is soon discovered that these creatures are contaminated by radiation and need human flesh to survive. Dean decides after this all breaks loose to go rescue his wife (Trotter) who is a doctor at a local hospital and when he gets there discovers that the hospital is overrun by these creatures too. Soon Dean and his wife are on the run and trying to stay one step ahead of the monsters.
This is a fun little zombie film. Lenzi’s direction is solid. I like how he leers on the carnage of the zombies. The scenes at the airport and at the hospital are to prime examples of this. His pacing is quite good too; there is never a dull moment in the film. The script is decent, it never really tries to explain this phenomenon and doesn’t really give much characterization to the characters, it is more about the plot than anything. The cast is decent, Stiglitz is a little stiff but he performs the part well. Trotter is a excellent damsel in distress and always seems to be in peril. The SFX and make up effects in the film are quite gruesome and very gory. The carnage scenes are quite long and drawn out. The score by Stelvio Cipriani is very campy and cheesy and really suits the film. This is not a film that you take seriously but one you are just supposed to have a good time with.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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