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Author Topic: Nightmare City / Incubo sulla citta contaminata (Umberto Lenzi, 1980)  (Read 17514 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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NIGHTMARE CITY 1980- aka CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD aka INVASION OF THE ATOMIC ZOMBIES

An airplane carrying passengers infected by a radiation spill turns them into raving, maniacal, blood-drinking crusty faced, hyper assed zombie killers who move from one city location to the next slaughtering everyone in their path. A few survivors try and make it out of the city alive amidst the zombie onslaught.

Umberto Lenzi’s zany zombie favorite was the first film of its type to feature running zombies. They also take up blades, machine guns and anything else they can get their hands on to kill people with. The most energetic zoms to grace the screen pre-28 DAYS LATER (and many argue those are  not zombies in that film). Some may even say that there are not zombies in this film, but none of that really matters as Lenzi keeps the film rolling from one great set piece to the next. Some of it is a bit silly but the film is so full of action and sleazy violence that its shortcomings are overlooked.

A very cold, mysoginistic and brutal movie. Like many of Lenzi's movies, it makes one wonder if, like Fulci, Lenzi bore some distaste towards women. The most vicious scenes of violence are all committed on females here with a couple of breast sliced off, eyes gouged out, heads blasted away and throats slashed.

Only Hugo Stiglitz threatens to bring it all down but Lenzi pours on the gore and violence so thick you don't have time to be affected by Stiglitz's half-hearted performance. Lenzi did not want to use him but had no choice in the matter. Mel Ferrer is on hand as the military General trying to get the situation under control. Ferrer must have enjoyed going overseas as he put in numerous appearances in many Italian horror and adventure films. It would be interesting to know his thoughts on working with Lenzi.

Over the course of this action packed film, zombies over run a major city attacking an airport, dance studio, hospital, military installation, etc. Hugo Stiglitz and his wife try and make it out of the city alive as most are either dead or evacuated. For the zombies, Lenzi sticks with the tried and true method of stopping them by shooting them in the head. Even though the plentiful effects are not quite up to Giannetto de Rossi's usual standards, he packs as many of them into the films running time as possible. The look of the zombies is very unique and different if seeming crude, but is effective given the story machinations of how the people came to be blood-starved killers in the first place.

A lot has been made of the films ending. I've never had a problem with it and thought it was quite spooky when I first saw the film back in the 80s attracted to the gory VHS cover from Continental (who had the most gruesome covers imaginable). Many fans say it's weak and a cop-out. I don't see how. I mean the ending fits with the films title. How would they have it end? It was quite nerve jangling to see Miller's wife plummet from that ferris wheel.

LOTS of action and gore. Another great one from Lenzi and I'm sure everyone here has already seen this.
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Paul

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This is definitely a contender for "so bad its good" - I love that cheesy disco track when the zombies go after the models. Genius.
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vigilanteforce

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Don't know about "so bad its good" but its certainly genius!
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Stephen Grimes

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I love that cheesy disco track when the zombies go after the models. Genius.
It's on the Cipriani cd that's included in the Luciano Ercoli boxset on NoShame :'(
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IL COMMISSARIO

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I don't know why so many people dislike this movie though. It's great, mindless fun. Yeah, I guess you could call this a so-bad-it'-good movie now that you think about it! I need to get the European 2 disc dvd as I hear Lenzi's commentary (in english) is hilarious.
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Fray G

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I laugh my arse off every time the plane doors fly open and the blackened zombies speed out, machine gunning all in their path. Pure gold.
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Inspector Tanzi

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I think this movie is great, it never really drags, it's fast moving and i just love that score by Stelvio Cipriani! ::)

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IL COMMISSARIO

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the 2 disc euro dvd has the score included.
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Jonny

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I love how Lenzi, in the interview on the ABUK DVD, makes out that this film is a prophecy about AIDS and other such bullshit.

He's a bullshitter of the highest order! I give him props for having the balls to spin such a yarn though.
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IL COMMISSARIO

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I would love the opportunity to meet and talk with him about his movies. Most especially his crime films since after seeing many of them, I see him in a different light from his horror and jungle adventures.
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Inspector Tanzi

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I would love the opportunity to meet and talk with him about his movies. Most especially his crime films since after seeing many of them, I see him in a different light from his horror and jungle adventures.
So many people try to dismiss Lenzi as a hack, after some persuasion to watch some of his crime movies these people often change their minds.

A friend of mine who does post on here used to think the same of Fulci. (I won't grass them up!)
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vigilanteforce

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I love how Lenzi, in the interview on the ABUK DVD, makes out that this film is a prophecy about AIDS and other such bullshit.

He's a bullshitter of the highest order! I give him props for having the balls to spin such a yarn though.

Man, I'd really kiss his hand for all that bullshit he said in that interview! Like you said, It takes balls for anybody to be saying stuff like that in an interview, not to mention saying them seriously.
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Jonny

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Man, I'd really kiss his hand for all that bullshit he said in that interview! Like you said, It takes balls for anybody to be saying stuff like that in an interview, not to mention saying them seriously.

That's why I love Umberto so much, he's a living legend!
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vigilanteforce

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Of course! I hate seeing people at other forums having only negative things to say about him! Shame on them :)
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Stephen Grimes

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Of course! I hate seeing people at other forums having only negative things to say about him! Shame on them :)
I think i know who you're talking about there :-\
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