Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nightmare City (1980)

Nightmare City also known as City Of The Walking Dead is Umberto Lenzi at his best. Over the top gore is nothing new for the infamous Italian director. After the great Cannibal Ferox this one comes in a close second in the splatter department.

Nightmare City stars Hugo Stiglitz (Cyclone) in almost what can be considered an action role. He is amongst the first to learn that the city has been invaded by the walking dead. Armed with a machine gun Stiglitz goes to war with the ghouls and heads for the hills in a battle of survival. Nightmare City proves to be one of the most entertaining and fast paced Italian zombie flicks ever made. The violence is so gratuitous and over the top. The zombies look more like burn victims then anything from a standard zombie film and they are also extremely agile. They climb, jump, run and use anything they can find as a weapon (including guns).

This one is a laugh-riot from start to finish. It always gets a laugh when the zombies wipe their mouths after munching into some human flesh. Or when the surgeon suddenly becomes an expert in throwing knives and sends a scalpel flying into a zombies neck. The main focus is certainly bloodletting. In one of the most memorable scenes a chick in a workout leotard has her tit cut off by a zombie armed with a knife. The films climax is also highly entertaining. Almost 30 years before Zombieland, Nightmare City takes us to a carnival where we watch Hugo Stiglitz and his girlfriend fight off hordes of blood thirsty zombies atop a roller coaster. Heads explode, eyeballs are punctured, throats are slit, axes are buried into achy-breaky skulls and realism comes last. My kind of movie.

  Over the weekend I was lucky enough to catch this one under the stars at a drive-in with a few good friends. While people stayed inside their cars for most of the other films that played over the weekend, Nightmare City seemed to have brought most of the gore hounds out from behind their windshields. It was great to hear the crowds reaction to this cult classic. The film got all the laughs and cheers at the appropriate times. This was the first time I have ever seen Nightmare City with an audience and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Long live Umberto Lenzi, long live Nightmare City and as Joe Bob Briggs would say "The drive-in never dies". This one is a must see for anyone who loves Italian cinema, trashy zombie movies and splatter flicks.

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