UNDERGROUND USA: INDIE CINEMA OF THE 80s - Combat Shock (w/ Dir. Buddy Giovinazzo in person!)

Presented by Friday Night Frights

If Agent Orange, murder, and dismemberment are considered the worst offenses of the Vietnam war, Buddy “Buddy G” Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock is a depraved, psycho-as-hell disagreement with that very posit, exploring the unseen but fatal mental scars that plagued a generation of young vets long after returning from the jungle. A fantasmojourney of schadenfreude that Videohound described as “relentlessly bleak,” Buddy G so warps the line between fiction and reality that he cast his brother and the movie’s composer, Ricky G, as Frankie—the critically disturbed young vet whose domestic life post-war (wife, baby, fixing the toilet) is its own special torture chamber.

BUT! Lest ye come looking for some run-of-the-mill psychological drama here, Combat Shock is nothing short of a post-traumatic horrorplay, a splatterpunk opera where the notes of our characters’ despair undulate in perpetual sustain, bolstered by a score we’d describe as something along the lines of “demented Atari possessed by a tripping demon.” As Frankie spends his days in a frozen nightmare – wandering the New York streets like a drugged Raskolnikov, arguing with his wife over their mutant-freak baby, awakened in the night screaming – Combat Shock becomes a brilliant shadowbox of canned terror where the walls inch closer and closer together.

Dir. Buddy Giovinazzo, 1984, 16mm Director’s Cut, 96 min. approx.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!