Nightmare City

03/09/2018 07:24

Film: Nightmare City (Incubo sulla città contaminata)

Year: 1980

Director: Umberto Lenzi

Writer: Antonio Cesare Corti, Luis María Delgado and Piero Regnoli

Starring: Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter and Maria Rosaria Omaggio



This film begins at an airport. There is a camera man with a reporter, the reporter played by Hugo Stiglitz. We learn that there is an unauthorized airplane that is coming to land, but it is not responding to the air traffic controllers as they hail it. Police, fire-trucks and Stiglitz head out to the landing strip.

A police officer hails it telling them to come out. The doors finally open a man gets off. He is followed by others with weapons in hand. They do not speak with those waiting outside; they just attack and kill everyone in sight. The people from the plane drink the blood of their victims. We learn the man who got off first was a nuclear scientist who was supposed to be interviewed. Stiglitz and his cameraman flee.

Back at the headquarters for the station he works at, he tells those in the control room to cut the feed to the dance show that is playing. Stiglitz tries to warn everyone to what he saw at the airport, but the higher ups cut off his broadcast. He is told that he cannot say what he is trying to say due to creating panic. It is decided by the police and the defense minister to let them handle it. He tells them that they are making a mistake.

The police are called together to create a plan to what to do. They are lead by Tom Felleghy. He is given an update of the situation and he wants a major to join him, played by Francisco Rabal.

We see Rabal with his wife, played by Maria Rosaria Omaggio. He tells her to lock the doors and windows. He also tells her not to let anyone in. He knows something is wrong and has to go. It should be pointed out that Omaggio did a sculpture that he is freaked out by.

Stiglitz is married to a doctor who works at the local hospital; she is played by Laura Trotter. She is at work today and doing her rounds. She is getting ready to assist in a surgery as well.

The news station is then attacked by this blood sucking zombies. They first crash into the dance show and then spill out to the rest of the building. Stiglitz does what he can and makes it out. He gets into a car and heads for the hospital to save his wife. He almost doesn’t make it. On his way, he tries to call her, but they will not put him through.

During this time we learn what the cause of this situation is radiation. There were dangerously high levels and it has altered these people. They are stronger than normal and that do not feel pain. Due to the radiation though, they need to drink blood to survive. They also turn their victims into a creature like them. Plus the only way to kill them is stop their brain.

Stiglitz arrives at the hospital, but they tell him the same thing. That he is unable to see his wife due to her being in surgery. We switch to a power plant where more of these zombie-like creatures attack. They end up knocking out the power.

The hospital now does not have power and then it is attacked as well. Trotter is sent out of the surgery to recover some supplies, but she runs into zombies that are drinking blood in the supply room. She flees. Stiglitz ends up finding her and together they escape. The car he came in is covered, so they steal an ambulance instead.

Can these monsters be stopped before it is too late? Will Stiglitz and Trotter survive? Will Rabal and Felleghy find a solution to this problem before it is too late? Will Omaggio also survive or will she become one of them as well?

I have to say that I remember watching this film as a kid and it scaring the daylights out of me. These zombies seem almost impossible to kill, they use weapons and they never stop coming. It must be said that they are really not zombies, they do not eat the flesh, but these are more radiation poisoned people that need blood to survive. The story isn’t complex, but it doesn’t really have to be. This film is all about survival and the characters trying to get somewhere safe and away from these creatures. I think the make-up for the most part is good and the fight scenes are all one-sided, but still make me cringe. I also really like the ending as well.

I do have some issues with this one though. There are a lot of plot holes, like the doctor that is to be interviewed in the beginning shows up on an unmarked plane, yet no one seems to notice this. I think Stiglitz is not a good fit for the lead role. He does not have any emotion and doesn’t seem like a hero to me. Trotter also got on my nerves when all she does is screaming every time she sees something. I feel these are some things that make this film fall short.

With that said, if you like zombie films I would give this one a viewing. It is creepy and pretty bloody. It truly isn’t a zombie film, but it does share some characteristics. The acting is subpar and there isn’t much to the story aside from the ending. I will say I liked the make-up and interactions between the creatures and people. Not the best film in the genre, but I know there are a lot worse out there. If you can take a foreign film where the words don’t always match their mouth, you are in for a guilty pleasure horror film.


My Rating: 6 out of 10