6.3/10
2,673
60 user 71 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Buddy Giovinazzo cast various friends, family members, and film school students in small roles. 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

Cathy Dunlan: Taste it!
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Alternate Versions

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

Connections

References Dawn of the Dead (1978) See more »

User Reviews

 
Stark urban nightmare!
29 March 2001 | by sanzarSee all my reviews

"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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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
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