As the nuclear-slush green credits roll, one distinction that immediately transfixes your attention will be the music score which is co-composed by the now legendary percussionist Hans Zimmer. As with most of his accompaniments, the enthusiastically ballistic, ultimately anticlimactic Nightmare at Noon is immeasurably annexed by his eardrum-trouncing contributions.
Nick Mastorakis is insolently quizzical of the canyon yokels when one hillbilly drives up to a water-poisoning experiment and he cheerily beseeches “Hi fellas. Them’s pretty lights. Whatcha doing? Making a movie?” In response, the team of armored henchmen perforate his truck full of ammunition.
Brion James was always pigeonholed as a Teutonic malefactor and in Nightmare at Noon, his skin palette is etiolated to an albino pallidness. George Kennedy emboldens the infected-person-who-is-concealing-it-from-the-group stereotype and the resolution to his subglacial mutation is a serpentine twist on the formulaic sacrifice on the behalf of the survivors.
The last half-hour is pretty listless with Bo Hopkins (with a strikingly pumiced resemblance to Steve McQueen) galloping on horseback behind the trail of James and their quick-draw showdown is aggravatingly flagrant from the supernumerary referendums to High Noon (in both Wings Hauser’s wiseacre dialogue and on a drive-in theater marquee).
The primal-instinct, pulpy helter-skelter of dopamine-induced gunfire and stuntmen engulfed in pyrotechnic flames is suppressed by a long-winded, occidental trek through the Utah mountains and an aerial dogfight between helicopters that is hyperextended into rotary-blade repetition.