NIGHTMARE CITY aka CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD (1980) Reviews and overview

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Nightmare City – aka City of the Walking DeadItalian title: Incubo Sulla Cittá Contaminata – is a 1980 Italian-Spanish horror film directed by Umberto Lenzi from a screenplay by Piero Regnoli (Patrick Still Lives; The Playgirls and the Vampire), Antonio Cesare Corti and Luis María Delgado.


The movie features Hugo Stiglitz (Night of a 1000 Cats), Laura Trotter, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Francisco Rabal, Sonia Viviani, Eduardo Fajardo, Stefania D’Amario, Ugo Bologna, Sara Franchetti, Manuel Zarzo, Tom Felleghy, Pierangelo Civera, Achille Belletti and, in a cameo role, Mel Ferrer (Blood and Roses).

Director Umberto Lenzi vociferously asserted that the film is a “radiation sickness movie” with hints of an anti-nuclear and anti-military message rather than a zombie movie.

American TV news reporter Dean Miller (Hugo Stiglitz) waits at an unnamed European airport for the arrival of a scientist whom he is about to interview regarding a recent nuclear accident. An unmarked military plane makes an emergency landing. The plane doors open and dozens of zombies burst out and begin stabbing and shooting the military personnel outside.

Miller tries to let the people know of this event, but General Murchison of Civil Defense (Mel Ferrer) will not allow it. Miller tries to find his wife Anna who works at a hospital as the zombies begin to overrun the city.


Miller and his wife escape to an abandoned amusement park that is also overrun with zombies. The two climb to the top of a roller coaster and are about to be rescued by a military helicopter. Miller then wakes up revealing the whole situation to be a dream. Miller also learns that today he is about to meet a scientist at the airport. When he arrives a military plane makes an emergency landing…

Nightmare City 4

“Nightmare City might be the very first “running zombie” film, long before 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead made this the new standard. The film is extremely violent, has quite a bit of gore, and some unintended humor. In other words it’s a cheesy “B” grade horror film, that horror collector’s should have in their collections.'” This is Infamous

” … a wild and bloody exercise in excess. The movie has its fans as well as its fair share of detractors. I think it’s an odd amalgamation of themes and ideas given a much larger scope than normally afforded these movies. It’s neither Lenzi’s best and far from his worst. It’s a favorite of mine and sports a great deal of ultra violent entertainment value for shock seekers and gore mongers alike.” Cool @ss Cinema

Nightmare City also accomplishes what it set out to do with respect to nudity and gore. The zombies have a amusingly shameless compulsion to rip open the shirts of women before they kill them as well…” Bloody Good Horror

“It’s probably fair to say that Nightmare City will always be known for its particular tics (its militaristic, running weapon-wielding zombies), but Lenzi fully exploits them. His movie might be dumb, but it’s rarely boring, and there’s something to be said for any movie that can transcend its tone-deafness as well as this one. It’s probably the only film that considers the plight of aerobic dancers during a zombie apocalypse.” Oh, the Horror!

“… terrible acting; zombies standing directly in front of the camera posing; a random dog literally playing with the zombies; the stupidity of the two main characters; the horrible makeup; multiple times people standing still then suddenly jumping into action; woman’s head exploding then in the next shot she’s dead with just a little bloody spot on her forehead; the TV that for no reason explodes into a huge fireball; the completely random harpoon gun and much more.” Happyotter

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