IMDb > Combat Shock (1984)
Combat Shock
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Combat Shock (1984) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
6.4/10   1,919 votes »
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Up 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Buddy Giovinazzo (written by)
View company contact information for Combat Shock on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 May 1986 (USA) See more »
Fighting, killing, maiming. Agent orange and the torture cages were the easy part!...
A dangerously disturbed Vietnam veteran struggles with life 15 years after his return home, and slowly falls into insanity from his gritty urban lifestyle. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
When I saw this, I said it's the greatest film of all time! Well, not THE greatest, but it's sure one of 'em! See more (50 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Rick Giovinazzo ... Frankie Dunlan (as Ricky Giovinazzo)
Veronica Stork ... Cathy Dunlan
Mitch Maglio ... Paco - Gang Leader
Asaph Livni ... Labo - Gang Member
Nick Nasta ... Morbe - Gang Member

Michael Tierno ... Mike - Junkie
Arthur Saunders ... Pimp
Lori Labar ... Lead Prostitute / Vietnamese Woman
Jim Cooney ... Interogating GI
Ray Pinero ... Welfare Worker
Leo Lunney ... Frankie's Father

Eddie Pepitone ... Terry - Strung-Out Junkie (as Ed Pepitone)
Martin Blank ... Doctor
Bob Mireau ... Security Guard
Tom Desantis ... Man Behind Frankie
Nancy Zawada ... Girl on Motorcycle
Brendan Tesoriero ... Weird Guy
Buddy Giovinazzo ... Social Worker (as Carmine Giovinazzo)
Mary Cristadoro ... Mary - Mugging Victim
Dean Mercil ... Passerby
Colette Geraci ... Prostitute
Janet Ramage ... Prostitute
Melissa Tait ... Young Prostitute
Stacey Tait ... Young Prostitute
Ginny Cattano ... Vietnamese Woman
Doo Kim ... Vietnamese Man
Claire Harnedy ... Nurse
Howie Murphy ... Passerby
Bobby Giovinazzo ... Passerby (as Bobby G)
Tom Devito ... Passerby
Vincent Petrizzo ... Bum
Yan Lai ... Vietcong Soldier
Leif Vetland ... Vietcong Soldier
Don Loftin
Jimmy May
Barry McBride
Jeff Mathes ... Passerby
Joe Loach
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ralph Cordero ... Man Pushing Wheelchair (uncredited)
Jerry Giovinazzo ... Prisoner of War (uncredited)

Directed by
Buddy Giovinazzo 
Writing credits
Buddy Giovinazzo (written by) (as Buddy G)

Produced by
Buddy Giovinazzo .... producer
Jerry Giovinazzo .... associate producer
Michael Herz .... executive producer
Lloyd Kaufman .... executive producer
Lori Labar .... associate producer
Original Music by
Rick Giovinazzo  (as Ricky G)
Cinematography by
Stella Varveris (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Buddy Giovinazzo  (as Buddy G)
Makeup Department
Ralph Cordero .... special makeup effects artist (as Ralph Cordero II)
Jeff Mathes .... special makeup effects artist
Brian Powell .... special makeup effects artist
Ed Varulo .... special makeup effects artist (as Ed Varuolo)
Sound Department
Howie Murphy .... sound
Special Effects by
George Rice .... explosives
Camera and Electrical Department
Matthew Affron .... grip
Jim Grib .... gaffer (as Jim Gribb)
Jim Grib .... lighting designer (as Jim Gribb)
George Rice .... key grip
Brendan Tesoriero .... grip
Other crew
Phill Niblock .... technical consultant
Mirella Jona Affron .... special thanks (as Mirella Affron)
Jerry Giovinazzo .... special thanks
Rose Giovinazzo .... special thanks
Phill Niblock .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
85 min | Norway:90 min | USA:92 min (director's cut)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:R | Canada:16+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 (2002) (self applied) | France:-16 | Netherlands:16 | Norway:18 | USA:R | USA:Unrated (director's cut) | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

The puppet for the deformed mutant baby cost only 140 dollars to make.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When Frankie inspects the revolver drum magazine after loading it, some of the cartridges have a dent in the primer made by a firing pin, meaning that they've already been fired.See more »
Cathy Dunlan:[looking to Frankie] You're not looking for a job... you're waiting for the world to end...See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Adjust Your Tracking (2013)See more »


What are the differences between the theatrical version and the Unrated Director's Cut of the movie?
See more »
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
When I saw this, I said it's the greatest film of all time! Well, not THE greatest, but it's sure one of 'em!, 12 December 2003
Author: one4now4 from Ft. Worth, TX, USA

Where do I begin in a review of a film as powerful as "Combat Shock"? Here is the film that shoots holes in every patriotic belief. It is an art film with subtle moments throughout that don't even feel subtle, for even its calmest, most non-violent scenes get under the skin of the viewer. In it, Ricky Giovinazzo (writer/director Buddy Giovinazzo's brother) gives an excellent performance as a haunted 'Nam vet named Frankie. With his pregnant wife and severely disabled one-year-old son (totally mutated because of his father's exposure to Agent Orange), he struggles to survive in a ghetto filled with poverty and rot. Desperate to find a way out of his hopeless situation for his family and himself, he wanders the streets, having hellish flashbacks, being beaten by drug dealers, and searching for a job that doesn't require killing, robbing, or technical experience. Frankie's only friend is a quivering, bitter junkie who steals just to nurse his drug habit, and Frankie also encounters unfortunate people such as two young children being pimped on the street. As he wonders how this could happen in the country he had gone off to fight for, his sanity continuously crumbles before cold, graffiti-sprayed, industrial backgrounds. Adding more to the cold, relentless intensity is a droning mass of white noise that fills the soundtrack from the machines when the score isn't going. Soon Frankie sees that the very nation he has called home is a battleground all its own. There is not an uplifting moment in the entire film, not so much as even an iota of dark humor. "Combat Shock" offers strong insight into just how human even the most inhumane of killers are. Not once do the filmmakers glorify the violence seen in the movie, instead using the horrific and gory elements in the ugliest, most depressing way possible. Believe you me, this is no complaint, because this is what makes "Combat Shock" a powerful and unforgettable experience. It is raw, gritty, and very deep, as it is made for those who prefer films that force them to think. The score (by Ricky Giovinazzo as well) is one of the best I have ever heard, and fits the film like an uncomfortably tight glove, conveying a horror-movie feel while combining it with more melancholy and dramatic sounds (as well as some dirty, seedy, bored, punked-out-sounding death disco sensibilities) to help give this movie a feel of a study of reality as a horror movie. The gore FX and the mutant baby are very well-done, but this is not a movie for people who just want to see blood and guts. As I said, where most splatter films dehumanize their characters, "Combat Shock" makes you feel for the characters. It's so much more disturbing and moving that way, and I must say that this is more horrific than any of the full-on horror films that I've seen. The director was obviously a fan of "Taxi Driver" and "Eraserhead", but this film is not derivative and not only stands up well on its own, but stands up so well that it is much better than both of those films, gaining intensity and momentum until the shocking and heart-wrenching climax. I've watched this movie several times and still come away laughing at the end every time, not because it's funny (which it's not), but because it's a feeling of relief and release I get when the catharsis finally occurs in the brutal, climactic scenes. Don't think this is some cheezy, goofy movie just because it took Troma to release it. After all, nobody else would. It's been a long while since I have seen a movie that I would be ready and willing to crown as my favorite above all others, but this amazing masterpiece of independent cinema definitely deserves the title. (It's not its fault that it shares the title with many others, but that's beside the point!) And, by all means, see the unrated version!!!

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Combat Shock (1984)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Welfare queue scene. johnbalance
Unexplainable? cptmorrow
The baby brings the movie down a lot carrcody680
Coincidence? yourcoughiskiller
Eraserhead anyone? budha_69
No wonder Rudy Giuliani cleaned up 42nd St. forry-777
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