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Incubo sulla Citta Contaminata

Nightmare City
Invasión de los Zombies Atómicos / City of the Walking Dead / Gorssangriff der Zombies / Invasion by the Atomic Zombies

Italy/Spain 1980
produced by
Diego Alchimede, Luis Méndez for Dialchi Film, Lotus Films
directed by Umberto Lenzi
starring Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter, Mel Ferrer, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Francisco Rabal, Sonia Viviani, Eduardo Fajardo, Stefania D'Amario, Ugo Bologna, Sara Franchetti, Manuel Zarzo, Tom Felleghy, Pierangelo Civera, Achille Belletti, Antonio Mayans, Fiamma Maglione, Alejandro de Enciso, Maria Tedeschi, Frank Clement, Carmen Martínez Sierra, José Yepes
screenplay by Antonio Cesare Corti, Luis María Delgado, Piero Regnoli, music by Stelvio Cipriani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Reporter Dean Miller (Hugo Stiglitz) witnesses the landing of an unmarked plane on the airport that turns out to contain an army of zombies who immediately take care of the welcoming committee, consisting of police and military - yet when he wants to report the zombie attack on television, his transmission is cut off by orders from General Murchison (Mel Ferrer), who sees to it that the whole incident is properly hushed up. As if to punish the television station and its turncoat boss (Ugo Bologna) though, the zombies attack the station itself the very next day and feast on the personnel and a group of young dancers.

Miller realizes how desperate the situation is and wants to fetch his doctor wife Anne (Laura Trotter) from the hospital to make a clean getaway - only to find the hospital swarming with zombies, who kill pretty much everyone in sight. Someho, Miller manages to save Anne nevertheless, and they snatch an ambulance and drive to the country where they think themselves safer - which quite simply is not the case, as they have to learn at a gas station, where they are attacked by a group of zombies, and the only way of getting rid of them is blowing up their ambulance - which in turn leaves them to flee on foot.

And while back at army headquarters, General Murchison has to more and more realize how hopeless the situation is, Anne and Dean make it to a fairground which seems safe - until the zombies come out of their hiding and corner them atop a rollercoaster ... when an army helicopter flies by to pick them up. But unfortunately Anne can't hold on to the rope on which she's hanging on the helicopter and falls to her death, when ...

The alarm goes off, and Dean wakes up in his bed next to his wife Anne. It was all just a dream. The next thing though is that Dean heads off to the airport for an assignment when an unmarked plane lands and ...

While no match to George A.Romero's zombie classics Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead or Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters, Umberto Lenzi's Nightmare City is nevertheless one of the better zombiefilms to come out of Italy in the early 1980's. True, Lenzi fails to create much of an atmosphere in the film (which was never Lenzi's forte), but at least he knows how to handle shocks, and while the film moves at a fast enough pace it also features enough reasonably well fleshed out supporting characters to keep things interesting, and apart from the ending, which is strangely reminiscent of Dead of Night, the film also features a very stringent storyline. Politically correct members of the audience however will probably be annoyed by the macho attitude of the film.

By the way, it should be noted that this is one of the first films to feature running zombies which many genre purists detest - but in the context of this film, in which they also seem to be able to think complex thoughts and arm themselves (with machetes as well as firearms), running zombies make perfect sense.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD