Director: Bruno Mattei
Stars: Christopher Ahrens, Haven Tyler, Geretta Geretta
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
It’s another 80s Italian exploitation flick team up with director Bruno Mattei (listed here as Vincent Dawn) and Claudio (Troll 2) Fragasso who wrote it with long-time collaborator Rossella Drudi under the pen name of Clayde Anderson. Claudio is also cited as a co-director by some (including on some of this disc’s special features) and not by others. I tell you, trying to find out the truth as to who did what in 80s Italian horror movies can be complicated. But is this flick any good? Well, let’s find out.
Ever see the movie Aliens? Well this is that, only set in Venice, Italy because: budget. Seriously, in the future the pollution is so bad that Venice is a ghost town, but a big evil cooperation needs to get something out of there. So in go the space marines…oh wait, I mean a group called Megaforce. Hey, that’s a whole other movie, entirely! Anyway, “megaforce” finds one lone little girl survivor, they use motion trackers to hunt the evil aliens…I mean pollution monster mutants, the critters cut the power and get into a sealed room somehow, the lead character is a woman who gets locked in a room with the little girl and a monster by the evil cooperate company man, there’s a firefight, the little girl falls down a hole and our heroine goes after her, alone, to save her. Seriously, I’m not making this up, this is out-and-out plagiarism. Oh, then the Terminator shows up for good measure at the end. Hmm, maybe that’s why this movie is also known as Terminator 2 in Italy. Yes, really. And James Cameron never sued over this?
So the movie is derivative as can be, but there’s a lot of fun to be had here if you’re a fan of so-bad-they’re-good flicks. The special effects range from kind of cool to downright laughable, the acting is pure Italian exploitation and is the direction by Mattei. If you are looking for an honest to goodness good movie, look elsewhere. If you want some mindless fun, this film will do that for you and then some.
On to the extras on this new Blu-ray release from Severin Films. There is an interview with co-writers Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi who outright admit that Shocking Dark was a blatant Aliens rip-off. Well, points for honesty, I guess. This interview lasts for 13 minutes. There is an interview with the always awesome Geretta Geretta, an American actress who did a bunch of these Italian horror flicks, including another Mattei favorite of mine, Rats: Night of Terror, and that interview runs for over 12 minutes. There is an alternate Italian title sequence under the other rip-off title for this movie, Terminator 2. Lastly, a trailer (under yet another title, Aliennators) can also be found here. Man, I love Italian exploitation.
Shocking Dark is for fans of Italian exploitation and no one else. There is no reason to watch this if you’ve ever seen, or even just heard of, Aliens. Or Terminator, for that matter. But if you are a fan of this often silly genre and want to go “how the hell did they get away with this” over and over again while you laugh your butt off, Shocking Dark is the movie for you, and this new Blu-ray is easily the best edition of this movie ever release. Consider this one conditionally recommended.