donderdag 16 juni 2011

Nightmare city (1980)

Another piece of Italian trash. This time it's up to Umberto Lenzi to once again show what he's worth. I've known the man for films such as Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive, but this isn't the jungle and this evil isn't human (anymore). So it has gotten me extremely curious, will he stand tall between the Mattei's and Fulci's or will he be seated on the second row?

He delivered! Though it doesn't have the extreme gore effects you might hope for, what it does deliver are some of the coolest ideas the zombie genre had in the late 70's early 80's. If I'm not mistaken, 'Nightmare City' was the first film to introduce running 'zombies' to the public. Also, they aren't actually referred to as 'zombies' but are explained to be 'infected'. And it shows, their behaviour is somewhat humanlike and the usage of weapons makes it even more obvious that they're not your average zombie bastards.
The plot unfolds relatively quick as a military airplane is forced to land. What they don't know is that the plane has been revealed to some sort of toxic radiation, causing a mutation among the passengers. Armed with knives and other melee weapons, they charge out of the plane leaving not a single soul alive. And that's pretty much it. Lenzi doesn't postpone the action, instead he drowns the viewer in a shitload of fights for almost the entire movie.

A great amount of action is always a plus, yet in this case it has a downside. There aren't too many gore effects. The fighting feels really blunt as the weapons have no harmfull impact at all. The ending makes up for it with some nice headshots and there are some stab wounds to be found, but the large scale of the action took it's toll on the budget. So we have to live with less bloodshedding...but a couple of great shots taken from a helicopter showing a field full of infected...that's just awesome.
Also, the ending is amazing. Shot in a deserted amusement park, the two survivors try to escape as they're being chased by the infected. There's just a fun vibe and it seems to cover up a lot of the bad parts. I'm even beginning to like the English dub, I just can't imagine the Italian trash without it. It's funny how you can love something that is actualy...just...poorly executed. 

Lenzi takes us to some of the greatest locations possible, making the film a lot of fun to watch. It's still pretty clumsy but that's part of the charm. I shouldn't forget to mention the sountrack which is as awesome as always. I don't think they'll ever dissapoint me when it comes to the music...it almost came naturally I guess.
It has a great pace with plenty (and i mean PLENTY) of action, some of which is better than you might expect from such an obscure low budget trash flick. It's never dissapointing, mainly because I didn't care that much about the bad effects this time...or should I say the lack of effects. Lenzi is one of the many directors who proof that you don't need quality to create fun. You just need a few ideas, and he sure had some great ones.

Score: 86/100

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