Nightmare City (1980)
Nightmare City (1980)
Nightmare City opens with a military plane landing in an air base. Zombies rush the surrounding military when the hatch opens. No more than ten minutes in and it’s obvious this will be a zombie film unlike many other. Oh yeah, and they’re using knives, guns, and anything else at their disposal. This is no zombie apocalypse, this is zombie war. But, don’t worry, if that stresses you out too much, you’ll get a nice little dance scene right after (performed by dancers with some rather confusing New York accents). Alright, enough with the play-by-play. Here’s the story: this one virus made zombies, and now they’re on a rampage. Yep, the play-by-play was better. It’s really a scattered plot line with several tiny sub-plots that don’t really matter in the least. After all, when you have zombies and tons of gore, who needs a plot?
Anyone who thinks running zombies didn’t come along until the 21st century has not seen Nightmare City. As I said before, these zombies not only run, they come armed to the teeth (instead of armed only with teeth) and ready for a fight. Hugo Stiglitz (Cemetery of Terror and Tintorera: Killer Shark) and Laura Trotter (Obscene Desire and The Warning) star as one of the leading couples (one of those sub-plots that doesn’t matter). Italian horror fans may also recognize Stefania D’Amario (Zombie and The Sister of Ursula) and Eduardo Fajardo (Oasis of the Zombies and Lisa and the Devil). But if none of those ring a bell then almost everyone will certainly recognize Mel Ferrer from The Hands of Orlac, Eaten Alive (Tobe Hooper’s 1977 film), and as the real-life husband of Audrey Hepburn (for a time, at least).
Now I won’t enter into the “are these really zombies?” thing. Who cares after all. They kill people, and drink blood. Perhaps you could consider them…blood sucking geeks (“OMG, he said the name of the site in the thing about the thing!”). Just like most Italian zombie films of the time, the zombie makeup is over-the-top and cheesy as hell. Unlike most similar films, they are not a menacing hoard of meandering monsters. It’s really just mass chaos with a body count that’s through the roof. In a nice little tribute to Fulci’s Zombie, there’s even a painfully slow eye-gouging. Gorehounds will not be disappointed.
If you love cheesy, entertaining, and gory horror, you’ll enjoy Nightmare City. Anyone who hangs around here enough is bound to have heard us talk about it before. It’s kind of a BSG favorite. Stelvio Cipriani, who provided the soundtrack for many gialli and a handful of Mario Bava movies, gives a great amount of depth to the film. Although a majority is just gory chaos, the few suspenseful scenes are backed perfectly by Cipriani’s score. Here’s the bottom line: unless you hate awesome things, see Nightmare City.