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The 31 Greatest Horror Movies For Your 2005 Drunken Halloween Bash
(That Probably Cost Less To Make Than You Paid to Rent Out A Few Kegs*)
Horror Movie # 14:  Nightmare City

Halloween is a weird holiday. It's the only one where we celebrate spirits, reanimated corpses, and death (if you don't count Christmas). It's the one day out of the year where freaks can look normal and normal people go out of their way to look like freaks. And, best of all, it's a great excuse to pull out your stash of horror DVDs -- ranging from laughable low-budget garbage to quality low-budget classics -- and party like those dancing corpses in the Thriller video. Since many people consider a Halloween Party with the Scream trilogy and some Old Milwaukee a "smashing success," I figured I would put my unhealthy obsession with all things horror to good use and let the world in on the cinematic secrets to giving the best damn Halloween party ever!


A zombie in blackface is wrong on so
many levels.

Nightmare City
AKA: Invasion by the Atomic Zombies
AKA: City of the Walking Dead

Review written by: Alex Sandell

The Story

An airplane exposed to radiation, or a radioactive spill, or maybe just radio waves lands and a bunch of blood-thirsty zombies (kept alive through "hyper-tissue regeneration" wearing blackface run out in over-eager, non-zombie-like fashion.  They are somehow equipped with knives, which are used to cut their victim's throats so the zombies can drink the blood from their "fresh catch of the day."  Since none of the undead give the appearance of severe tooth-decay, I'm assuming they're wearing dentures and their Polident supply ran lower than their supply of blades.  An idiotic news reporter and his cameraman sit around and calmly watch the massacre before the news reporter calmly says, "I think we should go" and then goes about calmly being the hero of the movie.

How Many Beers Should Be Consumed Before Watching?

This is a 6 or 7 beer film.  It's a pretty (unintentionally) funny movie, and the poorly translated dialogue is a hoot (there, I said it:  "hoot."  Pack me in a box of Styrofoam peanuts and ship me to the nearest nursing home).  It's not the greatest "sober" flick out there, but the combination of Nightmare City and a six-pack of Bud has effects similar to Nitrous Oxide.

Gore Score

Choosing between a score of "Light Bruising," "Recently Deceased," "Badly Decomposed" and "Puke-Inducing," Nightmare City is "Badly Decomposed."  With a bigger budget, it would be "Puke-Inducing."  The movie obviously wanted to be the next Dawn of the Dead, but didn't have the cash (or talent).  From dozens of slit throats to a zombie doing something bloody to a tit (the zombies in this movie have a boob fetish) to a metal pole type thing in an eyeball; what you do get is pretty rank. 

Would You Like Cheese With That?

Horror movies can be "Easy on the Cheese," "Regular Cheese," "Extra Cheesy" or "Instant Cheese Based Coronary."  Nightmare City is "Extra Cheesy."  The cheesiest thing about the movie, outside of the horrible makeup/masks the zombie actors are wearing, is director Umberto Lenzi's non-stop need to have an outstretched hand in front of the camera, grabbing at someone.  This must be the only scare-tactic the director learned in his "Horror Cheese 101" course.  It's too bad someone didn't tell him it stopped being frightening sometime around 1931, after the release of James Whale's Frankenstein.  Also, the movie has a thing for Dr. Seuss sounding names.  I've never found a copy with subtitles, but I swear the tower guiding the zombie plane in toward the runway is called "Blipswick."  And any movie with a Jane Fonda's Workout rip-off dance scene stuck in the middle is worthy of extra cheese, even if the rest of the film was friggin' Citizen Kane.  Mmm ... leg waaarmeeeers *drool*.

Drug Use 

With "Let Off With a Warning," "Pay a Small Fine," "Put on Probation" and "Go Directly to Jail" to choose from, Nightmare City gets "Let Off With a Warning."  No drugs in this one. 

Sex and the Psycho

Horror flicks and sex go together like romantic comedies and crap.  A terror movie can be rated "Nun," "Curious Schoolboy," "Chick After 8 Beers" or "Paris Hilton."  Nightmare City is given the unchaste rating of "Paris Hilton."  Umberto Lenzi really, really had a thing for the female chest.  There's a topless lady toward the beginning with a damn fine pair of hooters, a Jane Fonda dancer's tit falls out of her skimpy costume, a zombie rips off a nurse's shirt for absolutely no reason, leading to what is probably the most gratuitous nude shot in horror history, and another zombie actually cuts into/pokes/cuts off a woman's exposed breast.  This movie is most likely masturbation material in every single state where pornography's illegal.  There's also a brief sex scene between the girl with the nice pair and some ugly old guy. 

When Should it Crash the Halloween Party?

6 beers in.  It makes a fun drinking game.  For every breast shown, slam a beer.  That's two beers for full-frontal.  You'll probably die of alcohol poisoning, but what a way to go. 

Will You Hate Yourself in the Morning?

Waking up from a night of partying can be downright depressing.  Waking up with a cheap horror movie in your DVD player can feel like "Sex With a Hotty," "Sex With Someone in Your League," "Sex With Your Sister" or "Sex With a Sheep."  Nightmare City is like having "Sex With Your Sister." Sure, she's hot, but dude -- she's your sister.  The peephole was one thing, but this is just taking it too far.  The movie is piled high with cheese, but makes for a tasty guilty pleasure.  It never gets boring, the gore is good, the dubbed dialogue is funny and you just may pull this one out every Halloween (the DVD, damnit!).  Umberto Lenzi is the most pedestrian director this side of Ed Wood, but his heart's in the right place.  Too bad talent doesn't technically come from the heart, but you get the idea.  Would I recommend this one on artistic merit?  Obviously not.  It's more like the sort of ugly person you keep dating because the sex is sloppy but kind of fun.  Drink 'til Nightmare City's cute and you're bound to have a hell of a night (and an even worse hangover)! 

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Fellow horror hound?  Have any comments on this film?  Recommendations for the list?  Email Alex!

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