Wednesday, December 11, 2013

NIGHTMARE CITY (RaroVideo) - The Nightmare is About to Continue on Blu-ray

The problem with loving a movie like Nightmare City is that you are willing to pick up every release you can find whether it is relevant, updated or worth the shelf space. It's culty good with fans of the zombie genre, schlock and Italian as well as aerobics fanatics finding it a must own. Raro Video has put out a new edition on Blu-ray disc, and I have the benefit of the Blue Underground DVD sitting in front of me for a direct comparison. Is the new RaroVideo Blu worth the pick up? I want to pro and con this thing and keep the review simple rather than flowery or sentimental.  Oh yeah... it's acceptable to refer to it as City of the Walking Dead.

Sysnopsis from DiabolikDVD: 

TV news reporter Dean Miller waits at the airport for the arrival of a scientist that he is about to interview. There, an unmarked military plane makes an emergency landing. The plane doors open and dozens of zombies burst out stabbing and shooting military waiting outside. Miller tries to let the people know of this event, but General Murchison of Civil Defense will not allow it. Then, Miller tries to find his wife and escape from the blood-thirsty zombies that are all over the city.

Let's talk pure specs and extras and art and deleted scenes...

The new HD transfer is far superior to the Blue Underground release. It doesn't look cluttered with DNR, but the titles are more clear and colors more vibrant as well as being more vivid and with more true blacks (though I would argue that this film feels washed out even on a well preserved film print).The DVD release looks warmer/more yellow. That has been adjusted to the pictures benefit on the Blu-ray. The audio sounds good as well. There are multiple options for Italian or English language tracks and subtitles on or off in English. 

The packaging on The RaroVideo is superior having the polished look of a collector's item with classic Raro black bar. It utilizes several posters and has a jacket and actual insert cover that differ. The cover is not reversible and does not contain an image on the inside (a flaw on the Raro release compared to the Blue Underground. The old BU copy had a chapter list with chapter titles on the inside, the Raro has a well written introduction by Chris Alexander though fans of this movie have heard it all before. It's still a fun read and good for the novice Italian Horror fan. The art on the disc of the B.U. disc is traditional and superior to the absent art on the Raro release. The title menu on the Raro Disc is superior in look and style, but I still think that it takes liberties, inappropriately, with the Nightmare City branding and imagery.

The features on each disc are comparable. Both contains trailers though the Raro release contains different language versions. The Raro release contains a lengthy interview with Director Umberto Lenzi (over 40 minutes). The Blue Underground disc contains a shorter, 14 minute, featurette specifically about the Nightmare City. Each is good but you might find the same info the Raro release that you'd pull from the shorter interview in BU's edition.

Now here's the big bad difference... or maybe the unnoticeable, pink elephant in the room difference. The RaroVideo release is a full minute shorter. The back of the box shows a minute less on the Raro release and the counter on my player showed slightly less than a minute. After careful analysis, it appears that the difference in frame rate between the DVD and Blu-ray shaved a minute or so off the release. Watched each movie in their entirety synced. You lose about a second for every four to five minutes from what I can tell. 

Note:  2.35:1, Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, HD 1920 x 1080

I recommend this disc to all fans of Italian Horror, fans of Lenzi, Lenzi horders and quality junkies looking for a better print. It has a new goodie or two. This is one of my favorite Italian Horror pictures. It's the movie that let me know that 35mm is the best way to watch a movie (next to a well transferred Blu). This is a proud release, and I recommend it as an upgrade, but hold on to your DVD for the Lenzi interview. 

You can pick up Nightmare City NOW!  Out December 31st. Tell 'em Stiglitz sent you. Also check out RaroVideo's site.

-Doc Terror

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