I watched this under the assumption that it had to be awesome since it was Italian and made in 1980, was about zombies and was directed byUmberto Lenzi who is reponsible for both Eaten Alive (not the Wes Craven one) and Make Them Die Slowly. I have never seen these two films since I am led to believe animals were actually killed in them which I can't support. But they are notoriously gory and hideous so I thought this might rank up there, just without the real murder.
Sadly, this failed on all counts except for that. It's kind of a zombie film, though not really. The plot is super simple: a plane lands at the airport (literally "the airport" as the newscaster covering the event refers to it. Apparently the city or name of the airport does not matter. Where this occurs there is one airport and it is referred to as "the airport"). A reporter who looks like a cross between Dan Haggerty, Michael McDonald and Ricardo Montalban is sent to meet the scientist supposedly on board. Instead a pile of dudes come busting out armed with knives and guns. They appear to be wearing Lucha Libre masks, but as it turns out they are actually "zombies" with really, really bad makeup.
The movie never really explains this, but the handy synopsis on the Netflix envelope points out that the plane flew through some radioactive waste or something and caused all of the guys on board to become mutants. The rest of the movie is spent running from and fighting the gun toting mutants.
There is surprisingly little gore in this film. The effects are really bad, laughable at times, and the three true gore scenes are hokey and even more laughable. Still, like nearly every other Italian horror film released between 1972 and 1983, there is a decent eyball gouging scene. So there was one expectation met for me.
Nightmare City could serve as a definition for B-Movie. I can't say I wasn't entertained, but I can say that most of the entertainment came from my wife and I pulling off endless Mystery Science Theater riffs while we pointed and giggled at what was supposed to scare us. Oh, and there is this endless philosophical mumbo jumbo going on about how the "evil" that's been unleashed is the product of mankind, not science. And if you watch the 13 minute interview with Umberto Lenzi that's part of the extras, you'll come to learn that the "message" being given here is very important and very much based on reality. In other words, if we don't stop polluting the earth, we're all going to be murdered by enraged mutants. So . . . let that be a warning.
It was kind of like Godzilla. Except with Italian boobs and lots of body hair.
- Complaint Department