Combat Shock / Cert: 18 / Director: Buddy Giovinazzo / Screenplay: Buddy Giovinazzo / Starring: Ricky Giovinazzo, Veronica Stork, Mitch Maglio, Asaph Livni / Release Date: August 6th
Combat Shock (1984) tells the story of Frankie, a soldier struggling to readjust to everyday life after first serving for his country in Vietnam and then spending several years in hospital. He suffers from intense flashbacks, has a one year old mutant son, his wife is pregnant again, and they live in a run-down apartment with a toilet that doesn't flush and no food in the cupboards.
"Gritty" tends to be a bit of an over-used word these days, but there's no other way to describe Combat Shock. The city is covered with grime and graffiti, drug deals go down in abandoned factories, and passers-by steal whatever they can find from the pockets of smacked-up junkies. There are huge lines at the job centre, where inside even the staff resort to taking pills just to get through the day. The entire film is a series of depressing and terrifying situations, pushing the already frail Frankie to his absolute limits.
After a conversation with his estranged father finally pushes Frankie over the edge, an encounter with the local crime boss triggers one final flashback during which Frankie decides he needs to rescue his family from the life they're currently living. Without giving anything away, his idea of saving his family is a fair bit different to anything you or I might come up with...
The occasional bit of dodgy acting and questionable continuity aside (although at least noticing these things does lift the mood slightly in amongst all the desperation), Combat Shock really does deserve its reputation as a cult classic. It's still as relentlessly dark and hopeless as we remember it, and even today, the final scenes stand up as some of the most shocking and powerful you’ll ever seen. Those last ten minutes will stay with you for a long, long time...
Feature Presentation of “American Nightmares”, director Buddy Giovinazzo’s Original Cut
Feature Presentation of “Combat Shock”, the Troma theatrical cut of the film
Audio Commentary with writer-director Buddy Giovinazzo and Jorg Buttgereit (Nekromantik)
Post-Traumatic: An American Nightmare – A documentary on the film’s impact and influence featuring William Lustig (Maniac Cop), John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait ofa Serial Killer), Scott Spiegel (Evil Dead 2), Richard Stanley (Hardware), Roy Frumkes (Street Trash) and more!
Buddy’s Early Works: Five short films directed by Giovinazzo and three music videos from the Giovinazzo brothers’ band
Interview with director Buddy Giovinazzo
Unscarred: Interview with star Rick Giovinazzo
Buddy Giovinazzo and Jorg Buttgereit at the Berlin Film Festival
Der Combat: Buddy Giovinazzo and Troma President Lloyd Kaufman at the Tromanale in Berlin
Hellscapes: The Locations of the film revisited
Original Theatrical Trailer