25th Aug2015

‘Nightmare City’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Francisco Rabal, Sonia Viviani, Eduardo Fajardo, Stefania D’Amario, Mel Ferrer, Sara Franchetti, Manuel Zarzo | Written by Antonio Cesare Corti, Luis María Delgado | Directed by Umberto Lenzi

NIGHTMARE_CITY_2D_BD

Zombies don’t run! …or something like that right? I never actually stick to that; I’m not one of the people who think that Romero wrote the rules about zombies. Nightmare City, which is being released by Arrow Video, is a batshit crazy zombie movie which may be the first instance of running zombies, all the way back in 1980, though I’m probably wrong about that…

When an airplane arrives at an airport full of bloodsucking zombies, the unstoppable force soon starts to invade the city. Dean (Hugo Stiglitz), a reporter who witnesses the original attack fights to find his wife Anna (Laura Trotter) at the hospital before the horde completely take over the city.

Nightmare City is the perfect movie for horror fans who need a fix of gory horror that just doesn’t care about making sense, it just wants to be an all-out zombiefest. What may confuse people though is the zombies themselves who spend a lot of time running around sucking people’s blood.

When they first arrive we are introduced to the creatures coming off a plane exposed to radioactivity where they quickly start to attack with knives and guns and invade the city. With a lust for blood the film gets progressively more gory and impressively so. For fans of films like Zombie Flesh Eaters there are scenes that are influenced by that movie, especially an eye gorging scene which manages to be even more impressive than the original version. The fact that these zombies run and suck blood do leave exactly what they are open to interpretation.

It should come as no surprise that this film was on the “Video Nasty” list, it features plenty of extreme gore and nudity, feeling exploitative at times. What do you expect from an Italian zombie film though really? Nightmare City is a completely crazy zombie movie that has definitely had an influence on horrors like 28 Days Later and Zak Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake as well as others. Also for fans of Inglorious Basterds…Hugo Stiglitz? Yep. If you are a fan of zombie movies then this should be in your collection.

Now to the disc itself, things are slightly strange here too but in an interesting way. In a film geeky way we are fully warned before we get to choose which version of the movie to watch about the damage to the film. Though restoration attempts were made, the original negative used is damaged and Arrow make sure we know it. This is why the damaged (but highly watchable) version is available with better picture quality, and a 35mm reverse dupe negative is available (but very soft picture quality), the choice of which to watch is yours.

What I found personally was that the damaged 2K print was watchable, though the flickery scenes with obvious colour damaging are very noticeable. I guess it comes down to personal preference but I preferred the damaged but superior picture quality on this one.

Along with the film itself, we get a commentary, interviews with Umberto Lenzi and Maria Rosario Omaggio, as well as a feature with Eli Roth talking about the film. I particularly liked Roth’s piece, his love of the horror genre shines through, especially his respect for Nightmare City itself. Even if the film may not have the perfect print, to miss this release would be a real shame for any horror, especially fans of Italian horror.

The picture quality definitely has issues for Nightmare City, and while it is a shame, Arrow Video don’t shy away from the fact that they did what they could to try to fix it. They even provided an alternative but lower resolution version of the film and a featurette explaining just why this occurred. Looking past this issue, if you are in the mood for an all-out zombiefest full of blood, guts, and tons of gore then this is the perfect release for you (as it was for me).

****½  4.5/5

Nightmare City is available on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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