CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD (1980) Italio-horror by veteran Umberto Lenzi. Plenty of gore, boobs and gory boobs.

citywalkingdead_usposterTheme Song:


“I’ll Find My Way To You”by Stelvio Cipriani. The entire movie has a great italio-prog/rock/disco soundtrack. The above is the only official song on the album though and it’s a great slice of disco.

Interesting Dated References: Lots of late-70s interior and exteriors. Wood grain, the color “burnt sienna,” gigantic telephones, and some type of large fax machine that was the size of a copier. Also of note is the fact the box for the movie clarifies “In Current Theatrical Release.”

Best Line: Said by a man with a perm — “The shaft has a lot of air.”

Social Context: A bunch of liberal agenda stuff. Most of it has to do with why the modern world is bad and how our superficial ways and greed are going to destroy us.

Summary: There’s a guy in this movie named Ubo Bologna. There’s a town, and within that town is some type of radiation leak that only affects a single plane in the air. A bunch of reporters wind up at the airport. The plane lands and police and military surround it. After a few minutes the plane door opens and a bunch of people emerge who are now zombies that can not only run fast, but also know how to use weapons. Now their weapons seem to be stolen from a bunch of bikers as they only wield large knives and a bunch of chains. These zombies also appear to have their faces covered in burnt ground beef. They proceed to attack all the military while the reporters watch.

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Burnt ground beef. So Ferrer escapes with his cameraman. After that, the camera pans all over the ground showing the dead military personnel.

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Then suddenly we are on the set of some disco-dancing-aerobics commercial. Hot! A reporter interrupts the commercial with his special newscast about the zombie attack. He is shut off by unscrupulous bosses who tell him not to inform the public. Then there’s a bunch of political dialogue about how the government has no right to interfere with the freedom of the press and the reporter quits his job.

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Then we meet a guy who seems like an important government type played by Mel Ferrer.

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Then it’s time for more of the disco-dancing-aerobics program back at the television studio! Hooray! This scene goes on about three minutes too long before the zombies with weapons invade the sets. There are weird slow motion shots of them killing women with clubs and a lot of blood squirting around. For some reason there’s a graphic shot of a zombie cutting off a woman’s nipple as well. I would try to take a picture of it, but it sounds a lot better than it looks.

Some other nerd took the effort to digitize part of this scene, which I then stole and uploaded and acted like I did it myself. I would give him a shout-out, but I can’t remember where I found this video.

The Reporter Guy is still at the studio despite having just quit. I guess when he quits he sticks around and says goodbye and gathers up his stuff unlike most other people I’ve seen quit who just start crying and get escorted out of the building by security as quickly as possible. In order to defend himself, Reporter Guy throws a TV at two of the zombies. The TV then instantly ignites in flames because apparently it was one of those old televisions that you had to fill with gas in order for it to work. The Reporter Guy is so confident in his ability to escape the zombies he doesn’t even close doors behind himself. I’m also noticing the zombies only seem to be able to run fast when they are wielding weapons, all other times they just sort of stumble around.

Reporter Guy escapes and heads to the hospital to rescue his wife. Meanwhile, the big brass analyzes a body and tries to figure out a method of attack. This includes Mr. Ferrer squinting a lot, as a guy with a mustache talks about radiation. The mustachioed gentleman explains that zombies must be shot in the head and the zombies must be stopped from feeding on fresh blood, which they need to replace their bad blood. Oh, and as expected, people who get bitten by zombies will then turn into zombies. The whole nuclear spin on things is pretty interesting and seemed to be just coming into vogue at the time this film was made. Ferrer then calls the chick he was banging and tells her to lock all her doors.

These zombies are smart enough to cut phone lines. Ferrer the Army General tries to notify his daughter to take shelter. She and her mustachioed lover disregard the army escort and try to sneak out for the weekend.

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Again, burnt ground beef. So back to Reporter Guy who is trying to get to his wife at the hospital as the whole emergency breaks out. Oh, and back at the military base, there’s a full scale zombie riot going on. Do I need to remind you the zombies are wielding things like axes, machetes, pocket knives, garden pruners, etc.? All the top brass decide to disregard the government’s recommendation and declare a state of emergency. This is done with all kinds of liberal anti-government talk, as well. There are also a lot of nurses getting their blouses ripped open and exposing their breasts.

The next morning Reporter Guy and his wife are driving around. Somehow she had time to totally redo her hair and make it look all nice. At the military base the general guy still can’t find his daughter and her mustachioed boyfriend. Then there’s some more liberal dialogue about how mankind is constantly seeking greater things and it will lead to our destruction. Ferrer’s girlfriend, who has been holed up since he called her, lets a neighbor in. They try to hide in a cellar and the neighbor is then killed.

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She gets her eye cut out. After they cut her eye out, the zombies stab her boobs a bunch of times. There seems to be a lot of boob stuff going on which either means the directors had some type of symbolism going on about breasts being the source of life, or they were just looking for an excuse to put a bunch of boobs in the movie in order to increase viewership.

Reporter Guy and his wife find some gas station diner place to hide at. And there are more speeches about how modern conveniences (electricity, city life, machines, etc.) have led to this downfall. There’s clearly an agenda with this script. I hate it when they try to infuse these agendas into zombie movies in an effort to justify all the gore. Most of these monologues are being delivered by Reporter Guy’s wife. They talk about running away and how there’s nowhere else to go. Then there are some overhead helicopter shots of all the zombies.

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Ferrer is in one of the helicopters and he tries to relay some information despite there already being a police state in action. Reporter Guy and his wife take refuge in a church, but are then attacked by a preacher with burnt ground beef on his face. Then there are some more heads exploding, Reporter Guy’s wife falls and dies. This leads to a pretty well done and entertaining “body falling through rollercoaster scaffolding” sequence.

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Then Reporter Guy wakes up and realizes it’s all a dream. As he gets out of bed to do the exact same thing he did at the beginning of the movie, it’s revealed it’s all about to happen again. Then the credits roll.

City of The Walking Dead is not a bad movie. Although extremely dated and foreign, it’s still good zombie entertainment. It has good special effects, a good enough story, acting, and camera work. This is quality entertainment, albeit second- or possibly even third-rate fare. I should point out that this was directed by well noted Italian director Umberto Lenzi and was originally released as Nightmare City.

Poster and Box Art: The poster for this movie has everything you need: cars crashing, people running, a helicopter, an ominous hand, and explosion, and even a woman in peril. There’s tons of poster variations for this movie, most under the Nightmare City title.

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I think this is an alternate American poster. It really tries to jam everything into one image. This would make an excellent heavy metal album cover that your older brother had to sneak into the house, but as a movie poster it just looks a little too “in your face.” Like I said, there’s a billion different variations on the above. A few examples:

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Availability: It is available under the title Nightmare City from Amazon. I think it’s a good print and everything, but no bonus features.

2 comments

  • whoa, this movie just came up on my netflix cue.cipriani is one of my favorite soundtrackers.dang mang, you have the best movie poster reviews as a bonus.

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