Shocking Dark a.k.a Terminator 2 (Bruno Mattei, 1990)

A cyborg with a glowing eye from the film SHOCKING DARK

Shocking Dark / Terminator 2 (1990)
Directed by: Bruno Mattei. Produced by:
Franco Gaudenzi
Cast: Haven Tyler, Christopher Ahrens, Geretta Geretta, Fausto Lombardi, Dominica Coulson

SHOCKING DARK is a cut-rate sci-fi epic rife with overacting and daft dialogue from prolific director Bruno Mattei (HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD).

The Plot In the not too distant future, an elite soldier unit infiltrates an abandoned lab beneath the cordoned-off ruins of Venice, Italy. Before long red-eyed alien monsters start picking off the marines one by one.

The Cast The always fun Geretta Geretta sadly checks out too soon, with an indifferent Haven Tyler taking over the leading lady duties. The secondary cast of non-actors scream inane dialogues at the top of their lungs. Watch out for bit part actor David L. Thompson (the crazed shrink from NIGHTMARE CONCERT) in a cameo as Professor Raphelson.

The Music Bruno Mattei has boosted Carlo Maria Cordio’s middling score with some additional cues from British library music collection.

SHOCKING DARK is brimming with frantic overacting, sporadic low-rent action scenes and daft dialogue. This may not be Bruno Mattei’s finest hour but this dubious treat from Flora Film has its fans.

The Monsters Rubber monster suits look less convincing the ever thanks to the sharpness of the 2018 HD presentation. When the marines blast the alien creatures with their shotguns, their heads explode, spraying chunks of papier-mâché. The filmmakers attempt to obscure the unconvincing creatures behind steaming pipes, but the merciless closeups give the game away.

The Visuals SHOCKING DARK is no visual stunner. Riccardo Grassetti (ROBOWAR) is a decent cinematographer and occasionally plays around with coloured gels to good effect. Just don’t expect Mario Bava. The low budget really shows, though: way too many scenes are merely framed in static medium shot, possibly handled by second unit.

Production Design For a sci-fi shocker, SHOCKING DARK has little futuristic feel to it. It looks like Mattei shot most scenes in the basement of a condominium building. Little effort has been made to dress up the locations: you can often see gas meters and such in plain sight. The marines’ „hi-tech“ armour and weaponry look very cheap, too. Also, footage of 20th century Venice bookending the film feels crudely grafted on. The pod scene towards the end turned out decent, though.

Reviewed by Alex Bakshaev in May 2020.