Nightmare City (1980 movie) review…

Nightmare City (1980 movie) review after the break…

Nightmare City (1980 movie) review…

When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez envisioned their critically favored but commercially floundering epic “Grindhouse” (a “movie” featuring 2 mini-movies back-to-back with trailers for fake b-movies interspersed), they failed to realize two factors –

1). That, like the car industry, there was already a glut of deliciously horrible B-movies that they could have simply bought wholesale for a bargain and used those as their movies instead and…

2). The entire idea of a B-movie is that it’s bad – Bad writing, bad special effects, bad acting… Even when good directors are bad, even when good actors act bad, they are still better then the B-movies that they so earnestly want to emulate.

“Nightmare City” is a movie that is so deliciously awful that you simply have to smile at the effort – A movie so bad that you are entertained more by it’s awfulness then the actual merits of the movie itself. This type of movie, in my estimation, is exactly the type of movie that Tarantino and Rodriguez had wanted to create.

“Nightmare City” is a film of many names, including “Incubo sulla città contaminata,” “City of the Walking Dead” and “Invasion by the Atomic Zombies.”

The film stars a reporter who is assigned to interview a nuclear scientist who is scheduled to land at an airport. The scientist does indeed arrive at the airport but the arrival is quite dramatic, with an emergency landing in an unmarked cargo plane. When the plane is opened, atomically-diseased zombies (no, not a misprint) leap out and attack the hapless security forces. The reporter and his cameraman escape the carnage to warn others. Unfortunately, the military prevents them from creating a broadcast and the reporter is forced to save his wife personally as the atomic infection spreads. Can the reporter and his wife escape the zombie apocalypse in time?

This movie has it all – Virtually indestructible “zombies” (they look more like Lon Chaney werewolves then the undead zombies that American audiences are used to), multiple story lines that usually end in death, more nonsensical developments per script page then could ever be written with a straight face and an ending that… Well, quite simply, isn’t.

To give you a sense of the type of movie “Nightmare City” is, at one point, a character throws a small television monitor at a group of zombies. The monitor, upon impact, explodes into flames. Yup.

The film is a foreign production and I was fortunate to have watched the uncut version. “Uncut” is by no means graphic – There are a few moments of nudity mixed in with some brief gory deaths. In modern times, this film would qualify for an “R” rating.

In Tarantino and Rodriguez’s quest to bring youngsters a taste of what B-movies were like, they failed to realize that B-movies never really vanished – They are still here in ample quantity with films like “Nightmare City.” By adding A-list stars, modern special effects and competent scripts to their B-movie efforts, these directors diminished their own product without even realizing it. “Nightmare City” is a genuine B-movie and might just be more potent a B-movie then most mainstream viewers can handle in one sitting.

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