6.5/10
2,314
53 user 69 critic

Combat Shock (1984)

A dangerously disturbed Vietnam veteran struggles with life 15 years after his return home, and slowly falls into insanity from his gritty urban lifestyle.

Director:

Buddy Giovinazzo

Writer:

Buddy Giovinazzo (as Buddy G)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rick Giovinazzo ... Frankie Dunlan (as Ricky Giovinazzo)
Veronica Stork Veronica Stork ... Cathy Dunlan
Mitch Maglio ... Paco - Gang Leader
Asaph Livni Asaph Livni ... Labo - Gang Member
Nick Nasta Nick Nasta ... Morbe - Gang Member
Michael Tierno ... Mike - Junkie
Arthur Saunders Arthur Saunders ... Pimp
Lori Labar Lori Labar ... Lead Prostitute / Vietnamese Woman
Jim Cooney Jim Cooney ... Interogating GI
Ray Pinero Ray Pinero ... Welfare Worker
Leo Lunney Leo Lunney ... Frankie's Father
Eddie Pepitone ... Terry - Strung-Out Junkie (as Ed Pepitone)
Martin Blank Martin Blank ... Doctor
Bob Mireau Bob Mireau ... Security Guard
Tom Desantis Tom Desantis ... Man Behind Frankie
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Storyline

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 <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Fighting, killing, maiming. Agent Orange and the torture cages were the easy part!...

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Nightmare See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The torture hut scenes were filmed in Buddy Giovinazzo's mother's backyard. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Frankie Dunlan: I see it all so clearly now.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original theatrical version was called "American Nightmares" and is 100 minutes long. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hellscapes (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Sometimes you're better off in jail".
11 October 2011 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

If you want to see a very effective, considerably penniless drama filled with horror and despair you can't go past the Troma released "Combat Shock". Looking at the cover artwork, it doesn't do it any justice because it's far more than just an exploitative actioner but a thoughtfully raw and unsettling psychological character piece on the struggle to cope with the hardship of unflinching reality that faced Frankie a Vietnam Vet returning back to a decayed society that just doesn't care. It's a dog eat dog world. Other than the nightmares and flashbacks that plague his mind, he finds himself still battling a war and trying to survive along with his wife and baby son (which is a disturbing sight); only the jungle this time is in his own backyard. An urban jungle --- where pimps and thugs rule the nest. Nothing seems to go right, even when he tries it goes from bad to worse with no real luck and the powerfully downbeat finale is hard to wipe from your mind. It's as depressing as you can get, because the story actually gets your into this character's mindset making you feel every bit of pain and torture. There is some action and violence, but like I mentioned earlier it's more than just that. Ugly to look at with its seedy shot on locations, but the script emotionally unfolds slowly and remains captivating in its bleak intensity. Sometimes it might lull about with the spaced-out central character's aimless wandering, but it grimy edginess just sticks with you. Although the accompanying electronic score does amplify some oddly sounding cues. Performances are credible and Ricky Giovinazzo moodily solitude turn is picture-perfect as Frankie. Director/writer/producer Buddy Giovinazzo straight-up compact handling is tough and unsparing, making the production a true labour of love. Primitive, but challenging entertainment.

"I can't go home empty handed tonight"


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