You grow up watching horror movies and by a certain age you start to believe that you’ve seen everything. I’ve seen slasher flicks. I’ve seen Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, My Bloody Valentine… list-o-mania ensues and you sound like a Leonard Maltin’s guide to slasher films. No one questions your street cred and you feel pretty confident that, with the exception of a few flicks from Japan and Europe, you’ve seen the best of the best. Zombie flicks? Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Return of the… on and on and on… You’ve seen them. It’s cool. You might as well say you know George Romero and Tom Savini. Hell, you were the middle segment in the human centipede made up of the two of ‘em. Savini eats way too many beans. Romero needs a shave. You get complacent. You feel self assured. Confident. Cocky. And behind closed doors… before you go to sleep at night… just when you think you’ve done and seen it all (isn’t this exaggeration grand?) Umberto Lenzi comes up and adds another segment on the centipede… in the form of a NIGHTMARE (city).
Trailer for Nightmare City (I refer to it as City of the Walking Dead because the cut I saw was called City of the Walking Dead):
When zombies and boobs are in the same frame in a film, you have to choose which one lives (?) zombies or boobs. Flip a coin?
Ladies and germs if you have not seen City of the Walking Dead aka Nightmare City aka Incubo Sulla Citta Contaminata than you must see this gorgeous piece of zombie/radiation zombie mastery. My first time seeing it was a couple of years ago at the Exhumed 24 Hour Horror-thon Part 3. I guess it follows every zombie trope to a T circa 1980. No stone left unturned except now there’s some kind of radiation zapped, Toxic Avenger appearance. There’s a madness. The Zombies use weapons! And, THEY ARRIVE BY PLANE!!!
“TV news reporter Dean Miller waits at an unnamed European airport for the arrival of a scientist that he is about to interview regarding a recent nuclear accident. An unmarked military plane makes an emergency landing. The plane doors open and dozens of zombies burst out and begin stabbing and shooting the military personnel waiting outside. Miller tries to let the people know of this event, but General Murchison of Civil Defense will not allow it. Miller tries to find his wife and escape from the bloodthirsty zombies that are overrunning the city.”
You’re in for some great special effects and by great I mean corny as hell, fresh for the early 80’s. Creepy because these walking dead don’t feel like the walking dead you’ve seen before. If you’re familiar with zombie pictures than your first thought is either Romero zombies of Boyle zombies. Nope. Zombies that can use tool have this feeling of watching apes ants with sticks.
Hugo Stiglitz AND Mel Ferrer…. In one movie! Now these two names may not mean much to the average viewer but these guys are more famous than Justin Bieber… among certain circles. Hugo Stiglitz is a Mexican bon actor who’s been in an endless number of films since his premier in 1969. He’s even got a character named after him in Tarantino’s version of Inglorious Basterds. Mel Ferrer was born in good ol’ New Jersey. His list of films is as impressive if not more so than Stiglitz. Movies like Eaten Alive (1977), Screamers (1979) – Island of the Fishmen, Wait Until Dark (1967).. this guy’s all over the place. Enjoy watching two veterans in their prime. If my tone suggests I’m kidding I can assure you that I am NOT KIDDING… okay, I’m kidding this much (measure a small distance between in your index finger and thumb that seems appropriately small to the amount you feel I might be kidding… if you fail to have enough room between those two digits, pick two digits or other appendages to calculate an accurate estimate of the distance of your choosing). Moving on…
Here is your creepy movie soundtrack of the day courtesy of Nightmare City. Doesn’t it have the feeling of music from the Nintendo Entertainment System (that’s NES for you N64 dorks).
I’m thinking Ninja Gaiden or Contra. Maybe there were plans to bring City of the Walking Dead to the small screen under a third party license for Nintendo. Maybe Atari! Maybe I need to cut down on the amount of sugar I ingest in one sitting and stick to the facts. But just so we’re certain… check out this:
Or maybe this:
Enjoy this fun walk at the amusement park. If this scene doesn’t have you convinced that you’ve missed a classic nothing will.
Now if you’ve missed this picture you may have missed a few other zombie classics so the mandate that you think you’ve seen everything should be checked before you are wrecked. Think Let Sleeping Corpses Lie aka Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue. Think Dr. Butcher MD aka Zombie Holocaust. When you think zombie film, think Italy and not just Lucio Fulci. This Lenzi offering is sure to make you laugh or scream. Try both at the time same time if you’re tired of either laughing or screaming.
This is a film so wonderful that I had to purchase a shirt to match my mood. Now as I’ve stated before I like to refer to Nightmare City as City of the Walking Dead because that’s how it was initially presented to me. It gives me that feeling of watching a sister film to Fulci’ City of the LIVING Dead. There is no connection save the Italian Connection. Furthermore this is credited as an Italian-Spanish co-production. I’ll have you know that the combination of Italian and Spanish in a producing capacity for the horror genre creates legendary works of cinema.
THE NIGHTMARE BECOMES REALITY...
Dr. Nightmare… uh hmm… I mean Dr. Terror