Nightmare City / Incubo sulla città contaminata (1980)

3.0 out of 5

After a radiation spill on an airplane prior to its landing, all of the passengers on the flight are transformed into zombie-like homicidal maniacs who mutilate everyone in their path once the plane's hatch opens and never stop. There are a few subplots, but the main storyline follows a TV field reporter, who was at the airport to interview a famous scientist on the doomed flight. He escapes the carnage in hopes of reaching his wife at the hospital to escape the creatures and warn the world.

This film contains the first instance of running zombies long before the brain munchers in Return of the Living Dead or the infected of 28 Days Later. It also showcases zombies at an amusement park before Zombieland. Director Umberto Lenzi's monsters even arm themselves with guns and blades, which also heavily differentiate these deadwalkers from those in the style of Fulci and Romero.

A cult classic, this film contains many memorable scenes, including a slaughter on a live TV dance program and a hospital rampage during a surgical procedure. The blood, guts and dismemberment come early and often, so gore fans will have plenty to cheer about. While the film is far from perfect, with some slow pacing around the midpoint and a groan-worthy ending, it is well worth at least one viewing for fans of the zombie subgenre to see a flesheaters flick with an interesting twist.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics