Sunday, 13 November 2011
SHOCKING DARK (aka TERMINATOR 2 (no really!)) (1989)
Directed by: Bruno Mattei
Screenplay: Claudio Fragasso
Starring: Christopher Aherns, Haven Tyler, Geretta Gerretta, Fausto Monbardi
Good old Bruno Mattei. The prolific Italian schlockmeister of such genre “greats” as Strike Commando 1 & 2, Cop Game, Double Target and Robowar, tried to pass this little gem of Italian sci-fi action trash off as a sequel to The Terminator (a good year or two before James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel actually hit). Or at least the producers did. Yet, Shocking Dark has much more in common with another Cameron classic: Aliens. In fact, it has so much in common it has (pretty much) the same entire plot (save for the mad as a bag of frogs ending) with many of the same scenes and even dialogue lifted straight from Aliens. Non-surprisingly this flick has also been known as Aliens 2 in some territories. It’s copyright infringement a go-go in this ultra cheap rip-off which is an absolute hoot thanks to all the plagiarism going on, the atrocious acting and some funky cheap-jack monsters causing mayhem for a bunch of intrepid shotgun-wielding Colonial Marines, I mean future soldiers.
In the not too distant future Venice is sinking into its canals and The Tubular Corporation (the what corporation!?) send a squad of soldiers off into the sinking city (just one giant empty factory/power station with never ending corridors) to make sure the art museums aren’t being looted for their treasures (what!!!!????). Unbeknownst to our (highly untrained) soldiers some genetic scientists have unleashed a bunch of bloodthirsty mutants that take great pleasure in ripping our platoon of heroes limb from limb (what!!!, what????). Add to this a cybernetic soldier by the name of Samuel Fuller (WHAT!!!!!) an ending so bizarre it makes the rest of the film look coherent and you have one of the best 80s Italian rip-off cheese fests ever.
Basically this is just an hour and a half of non-acting entities running around darkened corridors blowing mutants away with pump action shotguns and screaming incessantly. Seriously, there is so much screaming in this film with the two female characters left alive at the end basically communicating by just screaming constantly at one another. The hilarious “non-acting” by everyone adds a certain comedy element (though to be fair they all look like they haven’t got a clue what is going on) and the film is partly entertaining by trying to spot how many scenes they’ve directly lifted from Aliens. Ripley and Newt being locked in a room with an alien/mutant while they’re sleeping (complete with waving at the cctv for help): check. Marines watching and listening to a bunch of aliens/mutants closing in on them on some kind of tracking device: check. Some unlucky bastard caught and trapped in the alien/mutant lair who chants “kill me, kill me” before an alien/mutant bursts through his chest: check. I could go on as there are many more scenes duplicated wholesale but it’s best if you can track down a copy (they are quite rare) and indulge in the sci-fi plagiarism craziness that is Shocking Dark.
Aliens, Terminators, shotguns, gore, absurdness and Bruno Mattei all together in one low budget shlockfest of awesome.