Site Of The Dead

Nightmare City (1980): Soundtrack

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Incubo Sulla Città Contaminata

‘Nightmare City’ was directed by Umberto Lenzi and was one of the many horror films that came out of Italy in the early 80s. The success of Zombie Flesh Eaters in 1979 led many European directors to have a go at churning out their own exploitation style horror films in order to try and surf the wave of popularity that was created by Lucio Fulchi’s film.

‘Nightmare City’ was released under numerous names in the various territories that it was released and is also known as: ‘Incubo Sulla Citta Contaminata‘, ‘Invasión De Los Zombies Atómico’, and ‘City Of The Walking Dead‘ amongst others.

And let’s get one thing straight, ‘Nightmare City’ is far from being a classic horror film for the era – it is cheap, it has a tired plot, the zombies in the film are created by exposure to radioactivity and the make-up consists of mostly having brown papier-mâché glued to their faces. That said, it isn’t without its B-Movie charm and if you set your expectations low you should have some fun. Over the years this film has become a guilty pleasure for many horror-movie buffs. Also, it is one of the first films that featured running zombies (yeah, I know they aren’t proper zombies, but still).

The soundtrack was composed by Stelvio Cipriani, an Italian composer who was born in Rome in 1937 who has gone on to score soundtracks for well over 200 movies to date. His soundtrack work was formally acknowledged in 1970 when he received the Nastro d’Argento film award for his soundtrcak for the movie ‘The Anonymous Venetian‘, and one of his compositions for the film ‘La Polizia Sta a Guardare‘ was resurrected by Quentin Tarantino for his 2007 film ‘Death Proof‘.

The Soundtrack

Nightmare City (1980): Soundtrack

Track Listing
1. L’Attesa
2. Metropolis
3. Agguato
4. Incubo
5. Sustain
6. I’Ll Find My Way To You
7. Una Notte Pericolosa
8. Una Città Deserta
9. Solitudine
10. Masquerade

Stelvio Cipriani created a pulsing electronic title track for ‘Nightmare City‘ called ‘L’Attesa‘ that was used for the opening credits. This is a genuinely creepy track with a heartbeat style rhythm, doom-filled synths, and melancholy horns that really make the rather mundane and grey looking city in the opening shots seem like a pregnant nest of potential terror. Genuinely creepy stuff.

Listen to ‘L’Attesa’ below:

The rest of the soundtrack is a blend of fast-paced electronic tracks, loungy-jazzy numbers (including a vocal track), and slow-burning and mournful electronic pieces.

The main musical ‘signature’ for the movie is heard in the track called ‘Metropolis‘ which is a fast-paced electronic track underpinned by rock rhythms, which creates an urgency that suits the film pretty well, given that the premise is about fast-moving zombies terrorizing an unspecified European city. The main theme on this track is revisited in the tracks ‘Incubo‘ and ‘Agguato‘.

Listen to ‘Metropolis’ below:

Some of the slower tracks on the soundtrack are mournful and beautiful, they don’t always suit the cheap B-Movie action that is taking place on screen and often feel like they have been composed for a different film altogether. An example of one of the slower pieces is exemplified by ‘Solitude‘ which is played during a sex scene.

Listen to ‘Solitude’:


The soundtrack for ‘Nightmare City‘ has had a number of releases over the years and it remains commercially available, so it isn’t too hard to find a copy (see the links below)

It was first released in 1980 on the Cinevox label in Italy on vinyl and it had the beautiful and intriguing album sleeve featuring an explosion, which can be seen at the top of this page.

In 1997 it was re-released in a limited edition CD format on the German label Lucertola, which expanded on the track listing and made 36 tracks available. This release was only pressed in a limited edition of 1000 copies.

In 2013 a 28 track version was released on the Digitmovie label, which also made the score available as a digital download.

Useful Links:
Buy the Soundtrack for Nightmare City at
Buy the Soundtrack for Nightmare City at
Watch Nightmare City at The Zombie Site

And if you have a Spotify account, then you can stream it here:

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