Shocking Dark title

AKA: Alienators, Contaminator, Hell, Terminator 2

Tag line : The future cities are crumbling ghost towns, polluted by toxic gases.

Shocking DarkI'm sure many of you will be familiar with director Bruno Mattei from his notoriously awful "Zombie Creeping Flesh". Well in the late 80s he decided to rip off a number of James Cameron's films, for this cheesy sci-fi tale.

Set in the future, in Venice of all places, the city has been evacuated due to high levels of pollution in the water and a toxic smog which has engulfed the city. The only people still active in the contaminated zone are soldiers, who's job it is to prevent wayward visitors, and a few scientists, who manage the cities processing plants which are supposed to be clearing the air and water.

When their command centre gets a mayday from a couple of their men at the plant, claiming they're being attacked by an unknown force, they despatch a group of elite soldiers to find out what's going on. Taking with them a couple of scientists, and a representative from the company to check that the plant is still OK, they head off to the processing plant, where the film quickly descends into a rip off of "Aliens". As strange creatures leap out of the dark and attack them.

Along the way they find a 'Newt' type character, who's been hiding from the creatures in the tunnels underneath the plant. And then when it looks like they've finally wiped them all out, they discover the company rep is actually a murderous Android, programmed to keep everything quiet about what really happened there (think, Ash from the original "Alien" crossed with Arnie's "Terminator" character) and the ending descends into a rip off of the finale of "The Terminator", as they're chased around the complex by the killer robot.

Dumb and cheesy, featuring a bunch of no-name actors, many of which who didn't appear in anything else outside of this (though sharper eyed viewers will probably recognise Italian regular Alex McBride and "Demons" actress Geretta Geretta in supporting roles), the film is really one I can only recommend to die hard fans of naff Italian horrors and should have been called "Shockingly AWFUL". No attempt has been made to conceal the blatant plagiarism of "Aliens", right down to the dialogue, which is almost word for word in places.

The film has been released under a number of alternate titles, though it comes as something of a surprise to find that this was actually released as "Terminator 2" in some European countries for its home video release. A full year before James Cameron released his official sequel, despite the fact it had nothing to do with Terminator and was more akin to Aliens.

The film has not had an official DVD release anywhere to date, though an 'unofficial' Taiwanese disc of the English print did briefly surface a few years back. But if the morbidly curious amongst you are determined to seek this one out, your best bet is to check round some video sharing websites for a VHS rip.

Overall Marks : 3/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "Mission to the Unknown", "The Murder Machine of the Future".

  • The Japanese release of the film, which was of the English language print, had an additional pre-credits scene, showing Venice as it is today, before it became a polluted exclusion zone. It also used several alternate scenes of the soldiers looking round the complex and contained some different lines of dialogue.

  • Alex McBride (real name Massimo Vanni), who plays one of the soldiers, also starred in "Zombi 3" (Zombie Flesh Eaters 2) "After Death" (Zombie Flesh Eaters 3), and "Rats : Night of Terror".

  • Geretta Geretta also appeared in "Demons" and "Rats : Night of Terror". She still works as an actress, but also writes, directs and does occasional television presenting.

  • Filmed back in 1988/1989, the film was not released until 1990 in Mainland Europe.

  • The film was produced by Mattei's long time collaborator Claudio Fagrasso, who also worked with him on "Zombie Creeping Flesh".

  • The film was only released in mainland Europe and Japan and not in the US or UK, due to a licensing issue.

Extra Info.

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