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A student moves into a run-down building in New York City. His bizarre neighbors make a concoction in their apartment they call wine, but when he takes some of it, he turns into a deformed, murderous monster.
Frankie is a war vet whose life sucks. He has no money, a nagging wife, junkie friends, and a deformed baby. This is the story of one day in his pathetic post-war life. Written by
Josh Pasnak <email@example.com>
"Combat Shock' differs from most Troma releases it that it is not "intentionally" cheap and idiotic (a la "A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell" to name but one, of many). Filmed amidst the squalor of inner city slums, and admittedly mounted with an ultra-low budget, this initial film of Director Buddy Giovinazzo is a stark portrait of urban poverty and hopelessness that is both repellent and somehow, captivating, despite the amateurish thesping & technical execution.
Definitely not a film for everyone, this picture paints a bleak portrait of a veteran GI and former POW, Frankie Dunlan (played by Rick Giovinazzo, brother of the Director), whose memories of his experiences in Viet-Nam have left him functionally deficient upon his return to civilian life. Incapable of holding a job, but saddled with the responsibilities of supporting a wife and deformed child ( a side effect of his Agent-Orange exposure), Frankie awakens each day to a dead-end future, with no perceivable way out. He eventually comes to grips with his hopeless situation in a stark and shocking climax.
This film will never win any acting awards, but the overall milieu is realistically captured and the final effect is powerful, albeit depressing in the extreme.
Worth viewing (particularly via the Troma DVD, released in '98), despite the production drawbacks. And kudos to Troma for being the (only) apparent distribution firm willing to release this film. Troma also recently rescued Dario Argento's "The Stendahl Syndrome" from distribution limbo, so despite Lloyd Kaufman's (Troma topliner and tacit "official" spokesman)outright pandering to the video market's lowest (and I mean lowest) common denominator, he proves that, at least once in a while, he has some genuine "Taste".
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