When Aliens by James Cameron was released in theaters in 1986, there was one big question that kept humanity busy for years: What would the movie look like without its big budget, good actors, with worse SFX, cheap costumes, a confusing screenplay - all that being shot in some boiler room? For three years, the dark age had returned until Bruno Mattei initiated a new renaissance and a vital answer to that question with Terminator II in 1989.
Venice in the year 2000. The sea level has risen, the water is polluted and the entire city contaminated. A distress call from the tunnel system makes some impartant people send a group of soldiers including some scientists in the underworld in order to figure out what is going on. Down there, they encounter some soldiers gone mad, slimy monsters and a little girl that appears to be involved in the mysterious incidents. One of the soldiers is working for the mysterious Tubular Corporation and he has other goals.
It is quite astounding that the movie was released as "Terminator II" in Italy. It is a total Aliens rip-off - some of scenes have been copied 1:1. T come straight to the point, the movie is complete and utter trash and that is what it is known for. The biggest flaw is its confusing plot in which elements like pollution, cyborgs, monster, time travel or dubious corporations have been wildly mixed. The acting is mediocre - at the most. The "best" scene is the one with Dr. Sara Drumbull (the Ripley clone) calling "They're coming" several times while the soldiers are trying to seal off the exit. Despite her bests efforts to seem panicked, she epically fails. The most amusing character is Geretta Gerette (who also played Rosemary in "Demons") - the Vasquez clone - who is so incredibly bad-ass all the time. Most of the movie probably shot in actual boiler rooms, ventilation shafts etc. The costume looks like the charity collection bin was looted and from that, something "new" was made. Also stunning are the Vespa helmets (?), painted black with a stripe in the middle, that are supposed to be soldier gear. If the budget is low, one needs to get creative.
All these inadequacies are part of the charme of Terminator II. Ripping off other movies, shot cheaply andd yet quite entertaining. For friends of bad taste, this movie is quite recommandable. Bruno Mattei is not unknown for shooting am hommage to well-known movies. His Roboman rips off Predator and RoboCop, Cruel Jaws is a Jaws rip-off, Snuff Killer an 8mm rip-off...
In Japan, an extended version of this movie was released as Shocking Dark. It contains a few new plot scenes. The coolest one is the scene with Koster who motivates the soldiers for the battle earlier. The German VHS (with which the following comparison has been made) contains the common International Version. In order to hide its original title, one scene has been displaced though.
German VHS (International Version): 81:49 min (PAL)
Japanese VHS (Extended Version): 89:43 min (NTSC)
The Japanese VHS is approx. 4:50 min longer.
In a prolog, the audience learns that Venice was a lively city popular among tourists. Until the sea levels rise and the nasty algae make living there impossible.
Extended Version: 52 sec
Cut to three soldiers sealing off Venice.
Extended Version: 2 sec
The German VHS shows soldiers including the title (Contaminator).
In the Extended Version, the title "Shocking Dark" pops up and we keep seeing Venice.
Extended Version: 5 sec
International Version: 3 sec
Via speakers, the Megaforce are ordered to get prepared.
The Vasquez clone (Koster) mobilizes the men drill sergeant style.
Extended Version: 1:17 min
At first, the Extended Version contains an alternate shot of the tower, followed by a shot of the soldiers walking across severals corridors. Then an alternate shot of Sara asking for the Tubular control room.
Extended Version: 2:34 min
International Version: 34 sec