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on 13 March 2017
Title: NIGHTMARE CITY (1980)
Label: ARROW VIDEO
Tranfer by: ARROW ?

ARROW now have released their BD set of the notorious italian film buffs dream NIGHTMARE CITY. Hurray! And what a mingle-mangle between euro zombie trash and low budget mercenary action flick this is. All you Bergman, Antonioni, Herzog, Fassbinder, Godard, Truffaut and what not more lovers (okay I am one of these too)...you might think this could be the worst movie of all time? You are wrong. It is one of the most funtime movies made in 1980 and it is still a whole lot of fun watching it today. Long before films like GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), NIGHTMARE CITY has a fantastic sarcastic ending. The Zombies are very agile and fast and it nearly seems like Umberto Lenzi sneers at the genre. The movie is well crafted, solidly acted and it has a very funny make-up style concerning the zombies. It "borrows" some musical elements from DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and in general it also could be named DAWN OF THE DEAD ... ON SPEED. Totally crazy stuff here from Italy. If you are able to not take it serious than I can absolutely recommend this movie for genre film buffs and wannabes.

No Grain Baby, No Gain / The Transfer(s):
ARROW did a great job offering two different transfers and you are here to choose which one to see. First there is a 2K scan of the 35mm dupe negative and I label it under the category "nice to have but unimportant". It lacks level of details and sharpness. It simply looks flat because there is no texture (grain) to it. In my opinion it is not suitable for big screenings at all.

Second there is a 2K scan from the original camera negative and this transfer looks very filmic and has all the nice and fine grain structure filmfreaks and cineasts love about movies. There is a very rich level of detail either and the colors are brilliant (but slightly effected by the damage of the negative). Blacklevels are great and thats the same with the overall deep dimension picture. I couldnt spot DNR or edge enhancement or other digital destructive working filters and such monstrosities.
The side effects here are visible damages throughout the movie. This results in greenish flickering, dirt and stain due to the chemical corrosion of the film negative. But hey. This (the source) is analog film and photography/filming is nothing more than a chemical processes. This is not made to last in all eternity and we can be (very) happy the film negative could be saved by digitization. The way it looks now is a very good compromise and I am lucky being able to see NIGHTMARE CITY in this kind of quality. All former releases looked plain awful and barely filmic. Now after years ARROW VIDEO made it possible to watch this gross-out flick in high quality via very big projection. Maybe the damaged elements of this transfer are even increasing the feeling of watching a movie that was shot on real filmstock 37 years before. I love the way it looks and appreciate ARROWS decision to offer their BD set the way they did. Welcome to an authentic looking digital reproduction of a wonderful grindhouse movie.

Cut and Run:
The scanned source material is integral. NO inserts from different sources have been applied. I find this to be so damn important for a perfect filmic enjoyment.

Final Thoughts:
Fans, collectors and people with bigscreens or projectors can spent their money without any further doubts while they can live with the camera negative damages...and they should :) ARROW VIDEO made a fantastic collectors item with nice supplements and a small but top-quality booklet. And they left the choice of version to us. No wishes left here. The movie itself (camera negative scan) looks and feels filmic even via big screen projection. Maybe there will never be a better version of NIGHTMARE CITY out there. Okay, they will come out with a 4K scan for sure some day :):):) Highly recommended.

Run zombies, run!

Statement:
My ratings refer exclusively to technical aspects of BD sets. The more filmic / photographic a movie looks and feels via bigscreen projections and the more authentic to its camera negative (or other sources) the movie is scanned and digitally treated afterwards, the higher the ratings will be.
I do not rate movies at all. I just watch them and I think of them as artificial pieces of work where many efforts have been taken (including complex postproduction) to accomplish a vision of whatsoever kind. No movie ever shot has earned a 1 star rating on AMAZON or a 1 point rating on IMDB. Anyway, I could rate them because I have studied in private many publications about making films, their psychological impact, and the subject violence on film. And because I am a hobby photographer for years now I know much about frame compositions, color composition and different styles and so on. I am interested in the arts in general. I am also a hobby musician and sound designer with a little studio. So I even could rate the filmical scores. But hell...why should I? Things are what they are and nothing more or less. I like to think beyond mind constructed terms like good and bad. So called "objectivity" becomes fast diluted by personal preferences which results in comments of personal taste. And that should not be the base for a rating-scale which claims to be universal. When it comes to technical aspects thats a different kind of thing. DNR, edge enhancement or block noise and such things are obvious on big screens and we can speak of objectivity and measurability.

All about Ev(m)e:
I am a collector of films for about 27 Years, own about 3.000 films (would be far more, but I often sort out transfers I dont like) and watch them in a home-cinema room via bigscreen projection. I am also a hobby musician and photographer with some experience scanning camera negatives in high definitions. I am fascinated by films from reels since I am a kid and spent hours for hours in cinemas and visiting film festivals.
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on 30 July 2006
I love late 70's and early 80's italian zombie/cannibal sci-fi flicks and have just caught up with this one. Surprisingly for an umberto lenzi film this is fairly goreless,if youve seen eaten alive(uncut) and cannibal ferox(uncut) you know that he likes to stick loads of bloody scenes in his films nd although there is some gore disappointingly it's slight compared to his other fims..still no matter,it's a fun rollercoaster of a movie,the zombies look crap and would give linford christie a run for his money in atheletics..lol i dont like running zombies and the make up fx on these are crap..not a patch on fulci's zombies. Theres some good moments and if you like most other italian horrors you'll prob love this..not the best of this sub genre but not the worse either.
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on 16 January 2015
Yesterday evening, late hour.
Had a short moment of not knowing what to do & decided to try & see about the quality of my newest Raro Blu Ray `Nightmare City' with the idea to watch it later.
The film started & could Not Stop watching. I had one of the Best Film Experiences again with Raro Video.
Don't know what other reviewers here are talking about But the transfer - for me - was one of the very best - very clear - no grain, as New. A real treat! Really a beautiful transfer!
The Film - a mixture of nostalgic exploitation: Skilfully made cinematography with hilarious moments of acting & dialogue. Burlesque special effects with lots of blood, exploding heads, axes and a high original sort of zombies (Vampires?). A kind I've never seen before, zombies that wipe their mouth after drinking blood and even are socially organized; imagine a zombie gesticulating with his arm to follow him.
Little nudity, Horror, Suspense, a lot of hilarious action (Many moments I expected Leslie Nielsen to appear in Full action).

Lovely!

In short:
Terrific - beautiful, Blu Ray Quality transfer & production of Raro video. Mentioned as A/1 region but played without problems on my region B!
Great Tongue in cheek Italian Zombie `Horror' with nice soundtrack from Stelvio Cipriani, available with Digitmovies!

Watched with the right expectations, a Great moment of Film Fun.
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Am a big fan of Zombie films and Nightmare City is a whole lot of fun and a must for all Zombie fans.

And yet again Arrow have out done themselves with this brilliant release. They have tried their best to restore the film with two transfers. Arrow Negative Transfer which is from the original negative which sadly parts of the film show damage. Then the Dupe Reversal Transfer which limits the damage, but loss in resolution. For me they have done a good job 4/5. Their is a Featurette: The Limits of Restoration.

You do get a nice revisable sleeve AKA City of the Walking Dead.

You get two discs and booklet with information about the film.

The sound is in 1.0 Mono, Subtitles ENGLISH / ENGLISH SDH.
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VINE VOICEon 12 July 2017
It all starts well enough, with the ominous arrival of a mysterious unmarked military transport aircraft. Once the doors burst open though, the first crushing disappointment hits you; these aren't sinister lumbering zombies, they are ridiculously athletic zombie olympians! They are also quite quick-witted, retaining the intelligence to cut phone lines, use automatic weapons, drive cars and presumably fly aircraft. The worst thing though is the make-up. There is no advanced state of decomposition or missing limbs, as we've come to expect, but all these radiation-spawned zombies look like they've fallen asleep with their face in a cow-pat.
After my hoots of derision had died down though, I stuck with the film and found myself enjoying parts of it. There's the occasional moment of inspired black humour - a zombie fastidiously wipes his mouth after taking a deep slurp of blood, whilst another looks lecherously at a dancer's cleavage before performing a mastectomy. The zombies breaking into the operating theatre was a delightfully twisted scene and the theme park setting for the big final shoot-out was inspired.
Overall though, the hammy acting, cheesy music, poorly-synchronised dialogue and ridiculously fake gore with blood far too bright all detracted from the experience for me and, when compared with some classic zombie movies, I honestly cannot rate this as better than three stars.
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on 3 February 2017
My Fiancee loves Zombie films,
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on 31 July 2017
Great.
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on 30 August 2015
TV Reporter Dean Miller (Hugo Stiglitz) is assigned to the airport to interview an arriving scientist. The airport personnel are left confused when an unidentified Hercules lands without communicating with flight control. The emergency services are deployed to meet the incoming plane but as the doors open, all carnage breaks loose as an array of varying mutant maniacs spill out onto the runway. Among them is the scientist that Miller was sent to meet. There is an immediate onslaught. With the mutants seemingly impervious to bullets, they proceed to attack and devour anyone who stands in their way.
Of course, it’s a wonderful opening idea and Umberto Lenzi wastes little time in getting to the action. Forget the phrase ‘slow burner’, Lenzi doesn’t believe in it. However, examining his film too intently will reveal certain narrative flaws. Who was flying the plane? How did Miller know the scientist was going to be on that unidentified plane? These are the sort of question that simply needs avoiding.
So, in the true style of Lenzi, let’s cut straight to the chase. These mutants are most certainly zombies. It is also not a film to be taken seriously; it’s a ‘romp’ as filmmaker and Fangoria editor Chris Alexander so fondly describes it in his superb commentary. Lenzi’s zombies have often been described as ‘Pizza faced’, but think of a ‘burnt meat feast’ Pizza and you’ll be pretty close to the genuine article. You can even (to a certain extent) forget the story in general, it’s a pretty poor one and very little of it. We soon come to realise that these zombies are in fact, plague infested zombies and their bite contaminates their victims. Gore fans can also revel in the fact that these zombies can only be destroyed by a shot to the head…
The bottom line is to just enjoy Nightmare City; it’s a perfect beer and pizza festivity. I suggest simply soaking up the action, (and it is non-stop action). Forget the stupid script, the lousy acting and the terrible post production dubbing. Instead, smile at the pure carnage, the fun of those typical Italian set ups, the eye gouging, the head splattering and of course, the completely outdated approach of exposing women’s breasts at every given opportunity. Accept the film on that basis, and I’m sure you will enjoy this seminal cult classic. The film also contains a wonderful, minimalistic score from Stelvio Cipriani, and in a style that would later be adapted by the likes of John Carpenter and his contemporaries. The film has however, often been criticised for its ending, but it is an interesting concept to say the least. Depending on your perspective, some might even suggest it is an imaginative and fascinating ending. For first time viewers and without revealing any more information, I will let you decide for yourself.
Arrow’s superb package offers two High definition transfers of two different prints. Arrow provides a 2K restoration from the original camera negative alongside a Reverse Dupe Negative. The reason behind this decision is almost a necessity. Sadly, the original Techniscope negative has suffered from some severe photochemical decay. Misty yellows and varying forms of density and colour appear pretty much throughout the opening airport sequence and towards the film’s climax. I have to admire Arrow for the inclusion of the second Dupe version, it is a far cleaner version of the movie, but the payoff is a softer image. Whilst there is a drop in resolution, Arrow nevertheless seems to have a conscience, and I like that… Their actions seem to suggest that they cannot sleep soundly, until safe in the knowledge that they have provided everything they possibly could, and in order to compensate. Actually, the Dupe version isn’t too bad at all, I would perhaps suggest simply notching up your TV’s sharpness control by a few stops and the result should be more than satisfactory. The original negative version contains the Italian title sequence whilst the Dupe version contains the English title of Nightmare City; they are exactly the same film thereafter. Arrow has also provided audio tracks and subs for both versions. Overall, I think it’s a package that has been lovingly produced and Arrow should quite rightly be very proud of their achievements.

Darren Allison, Cinema Retro Magazine
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on 26 May 2015
A plane lands full of infected zombies, who get out and start killing and eating everyone they encounter. A TV reporter and his doctor wife try to do what they can to stop them.

An incredibly fast moving but overly silly Umberto Lenzi horror. The opening sequence is a fairly accurate account of how the film is going to develop, the action takes centre stage and this is definitely the strongest aspect of the picture. Lenzi never really lets the pace slip, with each attack scene coming thick and fast as to never really get boring. Stelvio Cipriani's deep and fairly brooding score tries and in some scenes adds a fair bit of tension that lacks in the narrative. There is however more than one problem, the make up effects on the zombies/monsters or whatever, is awful and is really fake looking, is just appears they dipped there face into a make up bag and went with it, it never does convince although some of the gore sequences and effects are better. The plot is another problem, the final twist is ridiculous, there is no narrative resolution, plot points come to nothing and it leaves the film with a completely vacant ending. Some of the dialogue is so bad its genius - lets go with emergency plan h and leave plan b- that takes a special writer, the dubbing is also quite poor but the acting is fine, somehow even with all the negatives this is such a watchable film, everything is just so silly or awful it makes it even more endearing, the pace is lightning fast, yes some of the make up's awful but at least they made an effort (well maybe) and there's plenty of blood and guts to keep the horror fan satisfied.

If you don't take it too seriously there's plenty to enjoy, it's a massive surprise how much fun it is, but if your looking for another Romero better to skip this one. Lenzi's second film on the Section 3 nasty list, along with Eaten Alive and his couple on the full Video Nasties list so the DPP were clearly gunning for him.
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on 12 October 2015
Despite it flaws this is one of my favourite films of all time. One I was waiting for on Blu-ray. Glad Arrow got it too!!
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