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Nightmare City/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Nightmare City
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Sporting fast-pacing and an endless onslaught of radioactive carnage, Umberto Lenzi's firecracker of an infection picture is way more fun than you'd ever expect, packing a nice dash of brutal violence and an adventurous, "go-for-broke" attitude. After seeing one EYE-popping scene in particular, I realized that this underrated flick is the perfect b-side to Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2, mimicking that feature's tone, pacing and visual effects like a precocious little brother. Not that this is a bad thing. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Lenzi and company take that inspiration and turn it into an original and venerable effort in its own right.

When a radioactive spill threatens to harm plant and animal life, photo journalist Dean Miller is sent to the airport to interview a key scientist on the case. Unfortunately for Miller, the doc and his co-passengers are raving mad, sick with infection and lusting for blood. Resembling burn victims and armed with knifes, axes and guns, the infected take no prisoners and feed on the blood of the uninfected to replenish their own red blood cells. Like zombies, they can only be stopped by detaching the brain from the body, but they have yet to perish and cannot rise from the dead.

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After barely escaping the airport assault, Miller tries to broadcast the breaking story over a TV exercise program already in progress. Despite his efforts, Miller can't get by General Murchinson (played by the always great Mel Ferrer) and his military staff, who have already tried to put a hush on the whole atomic outbreak. Too bad the crazed radioactive humans are already ripping aerobics enthusiasts limb from limb, breaking into homes and generally provoking social anarchy.

This sense of lawlessness infects (no pun intended) the entire picture with a delightful energy. It seems that the cast is on the run for all of this film's concise 92 minutes, rarely getting a chance to stop for air. The same can be said about the viewing audience. I, for one, was left bedraggled by the relentless nihilism and break-neck speed.

The incessant nudity and gore also add to this freestyle nature, especially Lenzi's constant need to throw bare breasts at the viewing audience (rarely when necessary). Hell, you can't blame the man for not wanting to miss an opportunity.

As for the shameless gore, this fun little sickie packs several head explosions/decapitations, mastectomy by zombie hand, tons of beatings and stabbings, a harpooning, fireplace poker to the eyeball, priest beaten to death with a communal candle and a body dropped from an airplane and bounced on the rungs of a rollercoaster!

The totally absurd and ridiculous twist ending can't even take away from the boundless energy and spirit of this begging-to-be-rediscovered exploitation gem! Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by Mdeapo

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