City of the Walking Dead (1980)

aka Incubo sulla citta contaminata
Article 3261 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-24-2010
Posting Date: 7-19-2010
Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Featuring Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter, Maria Rosaria Omaggio
Country: Italy / Mexico / Spain
What it is: Zombie flick

An airplane passes through a radioactive area, and it turns the passengers into bloodthirsty zombies. When the plane lands, they go on a rampage of destruction.

Well, the zombies are fast moving, know how to fly planes, drive cars, cut telephone lines, and rescue trapped elevator riders, though they don’t appear to be able to talk; at least the movie gets points for making the zombies somewhat formidable. One of my sources praises the movie for being nihilistic. I don’t know about you, but for something to be effectively nihilistic, it also has to be convincing, and it never reaches that level. In fact, it’s more campy than scary, what with the idiotic dialogue of the English-dubbed version, where people state the obvious, speak in platitudes, moralize, etc; Mel Ferrer in particular never convinces me that he’s dealing with a real crisis. Oh, there’s plenty of grue for the gorehounds, and for those looking for flesh, the zombies do have a habit of tearing the blouses off their female victims before killing them. But almost every scare is telegraphed and every twist is predictable. No, I take that back; I have to admit that I didn’t see that final plot twist coming. Unfortunately, that final plot twist makes the movie several times stupider. I certainly hope this isn’t the best of the Italian zombie flicks, because it’s really the only one I’ve seen so far, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a washout.


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