Nightmare City is a bit of a nightmare, but not in a good way! After watching the likes of Italian Horror masters such as Argento, Bava and Fulchi, I expected director Umberto Lenzi to deliver a blood-splattered good time. Here’s what we have instead:
Lenzi’s zombies are unique, but not on a good way. They were created by being exposed to radiation from a nuclear power plant. Hmmm. These are not classic voodoo zombies or Romero’s flesh eating shamblers. Instead they slightly resemble modern viral zombies since they run really fast. However, they also wield weapons, drive cars and only drink blood like vampires! Hmmm. Furthermore, their make-up is inconsistent. Some look like burnt marshmallows while others have a little bright red blood running down their faces. The more the “science” is explained as to why they act the way they do, the more ridiculous it sounds!
Secondly, the acting is weak. The version I saw is in Italian with subtitles which is usually a plus in my book. But no single character stands out as special. Everyone is simply grist for the zombie mill. Furthermore, most of the female cast is reduced to melodramatic histrionics which always drives me crazy.
Finally, Nightmare City is simply not that interesting. It’s not scary in the least. Even the kills, which are many, are quick, dull and uninspired. I’ve seen better blood effects at the local Zombie Walk in Asheville!
So, leave this one alone. If you’re looking to watch a fine Italian zombie horror flick, stick with Lucio Fulchi’s Zombi 2 (1979) which is a feast for the eyes and gives the audience some of the most interesting zombies ever created.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.