Thursday, July 30, 2015


In 1989, Italian director Bruno Mattei made an amalgam of Aliens and The Terminator. We look back at a wonderfully bad film...

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then a 1989 Italian film called Shocking Dark pays James Cameron the ultimate compliment: it openly steals from not one but two of his '80s hits.
Now, it’s no secret that B-movie filmmakers have long taken ‘inspiration’ from hit genre movies - Star Wars, Alien,Jaws, and Mad Max are some of the most imitated films of the '70s and '80s, spawning such cult B-movies as StarCrash, 1990: Bronx Warriors, and Contamination.

Shocking Dark, on the other hand, occupies its own special place in movie history. We’re not just talking about an attempt to evoke the general atmosphere of a successful film here - we’re talking about the wholesale recreation of entire sequences. As an example, consider the following exchange:

Samantha: Mommy always said monsters don’t exist, but it’s not true.
Dr Sara Drumbull: Don’t worry. I won’t leave you alone for a minute.
Samantha: Promise?
Dr Sara Drumbull: Cross my heart.
Samantha: And hope to die?

It’s lifted almost verbatim from a memorable scene in 1986's Aliens. In fact, pretty much all of Shocking Dark’s main story unfolds exactly like James Cameron’s classic: there’s a squad of soldiers whose bravado outstrips their preparedness, a Ripley-like civilian onlooker (Dr Sara Drumbull), drooling monsters, an untrustworthy corporate stiff and an orphaned child survivor.
Remember that bit in Aliens where they’re all stuck in Hadley’s Hope, wondering how the aliens have managed to get inside? Where Hicks, Hudson and Ripley are all wondering why the motion tracker’s telling them the aliens are actually in the room, and then they look up in horror at the suspended ceiling? That’s in here.

Remember the bit in Aliens where Bishop’s dissecting a dead Facehugger, and for just a moment, we look into Bishop’s distracted eyes and think he might be just as scary as Ash was in Alien? Even that incidental moment re-emerges in thinly-disguised form.

Perhaps sensing that they had a lawsuit on their hands, Shocking Dark’s makers came up with a cunning way of confusing 20th Century Fox’s legal attack dogs: for its international release, they called it Terminator II.

Oh, and just to ring the changes, they set it not in outer space, but in Venice.

Read the rest of the article over at DEN of GEEK!

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