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Nightmare City

Review by: 
La Invasión de los Zombies atómicos
Release Date: 
Blue Underground
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Umberto Lenzi
Hugo Stigltz
Laura Trotter
Bottom Line: 

 Ever watched a zombie film and though that it would be so easy to avoid being bitten by the shuffling undead because they move so darn slow?
Well, not in this one guys!!
These undead can run as faster than you can, and are armed to the teeth with knives, machetes, hatchets, and machine guns. Hell, they can even fly a plane!!
Dean Miller (Stiglitz) is due to meet a noted Nuclear professor at the airport for an in depth interview.  However, when the professors flight lands the doors open and thirty or so crusty faced zombies sprint off the plane and massacre virtually everybody at the airport (the victims are no doubt taken by surprise by the fact that the zombies can run as fast as Carl Lewis and are armed with more weapons than they had at Waco)
Miller makes a sharp exit, and goes to the TV studio where he works to put out a warning bulletin to the public. However, the studio is showing a live disco dancing show called "It’s All Music" and the Chief pulls the plug. Stiglitz storms into his office, and is met by General Murchinson who chews him out for revealing that a horde of nuclear irradiated zombies are closing in on the city.
He tries to contact his wife, but she has already set off for work at the hospital.
Meanwhile, back at the TV studios the "Its all Music" dance team is going through its paces when the live broadcast is invaded by more zombies who proceed to murder the entire cast and crew of the show live on air! (This beats the shopping channel any day of the week for solid entertainment in my book!!)
Miller manages to escape, and sets off across town to find his wife. Back in the studio, breasts are hacked off and throats are ripped out (and the special effects crew appear to be using play-dough to simulate human flesh-I suspect Lenzi wasn’t working with the highest of budgets for Nightmare City).
In an effort to lengthen the films running time we are introduced to various new characters and their unrelated escapades with the zombies. Miller finally gets to the hospital, but his wife is busy assisting an emergency operation. While he is waiting around we see the zombies taking over a power station and cutting off the city's power. The creatures then appear at the hospital (is Stiglitz wearing some kind of tracking device? Wherever he goes, the creatures immediately appear and cause maximum mayhem), and proceed to chow down on the helpless patients in their beds (in what could only be described as a zombie all-you-can-eat buffet)
The creatures massacre the entire hospital, but, again, Miller escapes after locating his wife. More zombie attacks follow, until we eventually get to a deserted fairground where we are treated to a suitably downbeat finale, and then we rub our eyes in disbelief as we are then shown the laziest coda to a film that I have ever seen.
A word on Stiglitz- he is one of the worst actors ever to grace an Italian film (he is more wooden than the Wicker Man), but you will laugh out loud as whatever grisly episode is thrown at him his facial expression never once changes, as though he has to deal with nuclear zombie attacks every day).
Nightmare City is a delirious delight. Its abysmally written and statically directed, but the central premise is a bona-fide winner and the insane pace of the film combined with crazed zombie attacks makes this one a true guilty pleasure for any fans of Italian exploitation movies.

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