Blu-ray Review “Nightmare City (1980)”

nightmarecityStarring: Hugo Stiglitz, Mel Ferrer, Laura Trotter, Francisco Rabal, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Sonia Viviani
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Raro Video USA Ltd.
Release Date: December 31, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I remember seeing the video tape box for “Nightmare City” at the mom and pop video store Royal Video in Long Island, NY back in the early 90’s and just knew that I had to see this film. I was obsessed with Italian horror growing up. Umberto Lenzi is the genius behind great Italian horror films including “Cannibal Ferox”. What always struck me as odd is that this film is billed as a zombie film but even Lenzi himself denies that this is about zombies. I have to admit, the film itself isn’t as impressive as it was when I was a kid but Rare Video did quite a beautiful job on this Blu-ray. So if you are a fan of this film, this Blu-ray is a must own for sure.

Official Premise: Umberto Lenzi’s zombie shocker Nightmare City stars actor Hugo Stiglitz as a reporter caught in a living, breathing zombie hell. When an airplane comes into contact with radiation from a nuclear disaster it causes the passengers to mutate into scabby-faced humanoids with a compulsion to kill and drink the blood of their victims. As the zombies move into the city and beyond, will anyone or anything be able to stop the wave of bloody death and disease that threatens to decimate mankind?

Rare Video really did this film a solid and gave it a very impressive new high-definition transfer which was taken from the original 35mm negative. For a film that is over 30 years old, it looks quite stunning. Some of the gore looks aged especially the “zombie” make-up but overall, this film has never looked better. The LPCM 2.0 audio track is also a thing of beauty backed with a new and improved English subtitle translation. I was transported back to my childhood with this film’s amazing Goblin-like score, which is just so great and sounds amazing here.

In terms of special features, there is not a whole lot but quality represents over quantity. There is a nearly hour long intensive interview with Umberto Lenzi discussing the film and its legacy. There is the original English trailer, as well as the original Italian trailer. I was very impressed to find a fully illustrated booklet including inside the case, which focuses on the genesis and production of the film. It is written by Chris Alexander, who writes for Fangoria Magazine. I was surprised to see a few typos included in it though but overall, it is a great additional this great release.

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