Director – Bruno Mattei (Hell of the Living Dead, Zombie 3)
Starring – Christopher Ahrens (Blue Tornado, Boom), Haven Tyler, and Geretta Geretta (Demons, Rats: Night of Terror)
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Burno Mattei is an unusual name when it comes to Italian cinema. His career saw many ups and downs but he has mad a well known name for himself directing 80s horror and sci-fi films like Hell of the Living Dead, Zombie 3, and Rats: Nights of Terror. He did continue to make films up until the 2000s but his 80s horror films are classics.
Several months back I got the 1989 sci-fi horror film Shocking Dark which was billed in Italy for a short period of time as Terminator 2. Mattei has had an amazing career but that doesn’t mean that all his movies are memorable. Him and I have a rocky relationship where the movies of his I like I actually love and the ones I don’t care for I actually hate. Shocking Dark is one of those films that I loved and did not want to end.
**Spoiler Alert**The film is set in a future where Venice is uninhabitable due to pollution. The water is extremely toxic which has forced everyone to move away. Scientists try to work on a solution so an armed military group takes a scientist into the city to run tests when they encounter monsters have been thriving on the pollution. Now they must fight for their lives in order to escape but one of them is not what they seem and they are once against struck with another evil menace to fight and this one is powered by a major corporate who created the toxic mess for financial profit. **Spoiler Alert**
I’m always skeptical of a Bruno Mattei movie I had never seen before. Shocking Dark is one of those films that I had never heard of until the release was announced so I chalked it up to being one of the shittier Mattei flicks hence why I had never heard of it. Lucky for me I was dead fucking wrong because this was a fun experience.
The acting in this one is decent. The cast does a solid job in their roles but some of the roles could have been casted better than they were. The civilians are solid but some of the soldiers just didn’t look like soldiers. They were dedicated to their role but they just didn’t have the physical look of a soldier.
The story for this one is cheesy 80s sci-fi horror fun. The future with toxic waters breeding monsters was pretty fun especially how the film was set up. We get deep into this story before the Terminator like element was tossed in which caught me off guard. I was expecting it but once the film was rolling I completely forgot about it. The film has solid pacing and just enough action to hold your attention.
Finally, the film has several on screen kills. This isn’t a bloody or gory one but it does have tons of practical effects ranging from the creature suits to the prosthetics for the robot. The effects look awesome but the shotgun deaths did look like trash. Overall, Shocking Dark is shockingly entertaining. It does suffer from budget issues but it still hits the spot for those looking for 80s sci-fi action. Check out the blu from Severin Films.
Alternate Italian Titles