Combat Shock – USA, 1986


Combat Shock is a 1986 American drama film written and directed by Buddy Giovinazzo and distributed by Troma Entertainment. It stars the director’s brother, Ricky Giovinazzo.

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The plot of the film takes place in Staten Island, and follows an unemployed Vietnam veteran living in total poverty with his nagging wife, his deformed baby due to Ricky having been exposed to Agent Orange that the US was spraying as a defoliant over Vietnam, and junkie friends. Unable to get a job and surrounded by the depravity of urban life and crime, he begins to lose his grip on sanity.


The movie is set in and was largely filmed in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island, where the main character dwells in apocalyptic squalor. It’s Port Richmond’s gritty streetscapes that assist in getting Giovinazzo’s desired point across. The film has often been hailed for its raw depiction of inner city life, the struggles of poverty and the plight of veterans returning home from war.

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The movie was shot on a modest budget causing the battlefield scenes to be shot in marshland across from the Staten Island Mall.

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Collector’s booklet, original cut of American Nightmares, audio commentary with writer-director Buddy Giovinazzo and Jorg Buttgereit, Post-Traumatic: An American Nightmare, Buddy’s Early Works,  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.

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“Well over two decades after its under-the-radar release, this scrappy, almost unbearably bleak study of post-traumatic urban torment continues to chafe, shock, and amaze viewers looking to see exactly what was pouring out onto theatrical screens before the big studios got a stranglehold on every screen in America.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

“Make no mistakes about it; Combat Shock is not for everybody. If you’re already depressed or have had suicidal thoughts in the past, do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from this film. It’s liable to push you over the edge and I doubt neither Troma nor Buddy want to deal with the resulting lawsuits your relatives would no doubt be tempted to file. Bleak does not even begin to describe the wrist cutting atmosphere that saturates every second of this unforgettable film. I’m tempted to use the word nihilistic but I don’t want to sugar coat the experience for anyone.” Jason McElreath, DVD Drive-In




Buy Combat Shock 2-Disc 25th Anniversary DVD from

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