Zombie Terrorists with Bad Table Manners running Amok
in the City of the Walking Dead!
Those of us who have anything BUT a problem with women are happy enough to see a perky naked female breast before you go and spoil it there, Umberto. Yet it seems to keep happening, and I frequently would sit up in my chair, wide eyed and smiling every time a big badass zombie vampire(!) would grab a hot chick and rip her shirt open, only to sit back disappointed when it just plain got ruined by Captain Lenzi and the latently homosexual misogyny patrol. Fu-u-u-u-u-u-u-ck you!
Man... what a let-down. And it's not just the boobies! This is one of the corniest Italian zombie flicks I've ever recoiled from, and that says something, considering the content of this site! Damn!
But to truly, truly understand the delusion that Umberto Lenzi was (and still is) working under, one should really watch the thirteen minute DVD documentary called Tales of the Contaminated City, brought to you almost live and direct from Lenzi-Land, where the truth has no bearing. Now, I'll admit, even directing a film is a feat, but this guy's ego, properly tapped, could solve the world's energy crises in a heartbeat.
In the documentary, Lenzi declares that while there is a bit of fantasy in his film of radiation causing zombies to walk the Earth, kill and eat people (the fantasy part being that only a bullet to the head or a cremation can truly stop them) the rest of his film is "pretty much realistic".
Uh huh. I'm learning something new here.
He goes on to declare his prescience in making this Zombie film, not only comparing the events of Nightmare City to the international AIDS crisis, but, by extension, directly comparing his stupid movie to Demme's Philadelphia. He further proves his film's importance by showing how many nuclear and chemical disasters various countries have faced, and therefore a film about Zombies that mentions radiation a few times should stand as a cultural beacon to all of us to change our ways.
Hmmm... and here I thought I was just watching a zombie flick! Turns out Lenzi was right up there with the best political film makers in history. And to think he's best known for the exploitation rip off film Cannibal Ferox! Unfair! Get Ready For Super Bear!
He then goes on to accuse everyone else involved for the fact that the film sucked. Okay, I'm confused...
One interesting thing he does point out is that he didn't want his Zombies to be like those of Romero's or Fulci's walking dead. Well, Mission Accomplished there, podnuh! The zombies of Romero and Fulci look like dead people... the zombies of Umberto Lenzi look like people who just had a cake fight. I haven't seen this much bad make-up in one place since Tammy Faye left the PTL Network, man! Seriously, they just caked it all on, without style or substance, making it look like chocolate cake batter, with maybe a little strawberry jelly mixed in. It didn't scare me, but it did kind of make me hungry.
The plot is even funnier.
A plane load full of jerks lands safely, but silently, so everyone freaks out! It turns out that this plane has been exposed to nasty-ass radiation that deforms (some of) the crew and causes them to become angry zombies who kill and eat people and suck their blood.
Now that's darned rude!
But I have to say, it's not that bad... at least they all still had their wits about them enough to land the plane. That's not all they can do. These Zombies can run, shoot, use swords, drive and coordinate like a terrorist army after a food fight.
The danger is severe enough to get Major Warren Holmes (Francisco Rabal) out of bed with his naked wife Sheila. Now, maybe that's not so surprising to you, but Sheila is played by Maria Rosaria Omaggio, whose breasts are so perfect she should have called herself Maria Rosaria OhMyGoddio!
As Holmes reports for work to General Murchison (Mel Ferrer, who doesn't even say "What are you doing here, Warren, shouldn't you be in bed with your wife?"), Dean Miller (Hugo Stiglitz) the reporter who saw it all and survived, is leading his wife Dr. Anna Miller (Laura Trotter) on a ridiculous escape from the city. I was less convinced that he was trying to save her from Zombies than I was thinking he was spiriting her away from town before she realized that there's no way a douche like him could get a hottie like her in real life. Hell, with that beard of his, I thought he was one of the Zombies once in a while.
Once you accept the fact that Nightmare City doesn't follow any rules at all (not even the ones it sets for itself) one is best served by sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the bad movie this is. I did, and the comedic hits just kept on coming... way better than Dodgeball. Take note... these Zombies plot and scheme, they invade through the heating ducts and use weapons. In short order, though, they're the lumbering mindless dead... because it's convenient. However, I'd like to give some credit where due. Occasionally Lenzi managed to be pretty scary, very nauseating and even (at one short point) suspenseful. Sadly, right about the time you start to forgive his gross miscalculations on film making, he comes right back with a Zombie ripping open a woman's shirt to display her incredible breasts before killing her, or he blows up a rubber puppet that we're supposed to think is another Cakeface, or he completely throws everything out the window for a disconnected sequence during which all logic evaporates like spilled rum.
The ending, in particular, made me so angry I could just crap broken glass. Essentially Lenzi must have realized that his movie ate elf ears and had to have a surprise-twist ending... without giving that turd bird ending away, let me just say this, it all boils down to him starting the whole movie over. The prospect of sitting through this flop of a plot again was scarier than anything he'd shown us on the screen so far.
Man. For fans of the B-Movie, specifically the Italian Schlock Zom-B-Movie, have a grape, this is an entertaining little flick. Those who want their movies to be good (ya snobs ya) should apply elsewhere. Even I, a man who owns more bad movies on DVD than Tarantino himself, would tell you that, as entertaining as Nightmare City can be, it's a sterile promontory that gives the body the feeling of being backed up and intestinally breached. In short... it's a Dog! It's as fun as playing six hands of Uno with your favorite aunt. It's as painful as playing six hands of Strip Poker with that same aunt. Oh, but that's not Umberto Lenzi's fault, is it? No, he was making prophetic and classy films, like Philadelphia! It's the terrible script by Antonio Cesare Corti, Luis María Delgado and Piero Regnoli! Oh, and the producer... who was a FEMALE... or so he says. I can't find any evidence of her existence. I think he made her up. Sit, Umberto, Sit! Good dog!
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