Combat Shock – Troma Films (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: Buddy Giovinazzo
Writer: Buddy Giovinazzo
Cast: Rick Giovinazzo, Veronica Stork, Mitch Maglio, Asaph Livni, Nick Nasta, Michael Tierno
Release Date: June 7th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 97 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
"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." - synopsis provided by the distributor
Combat Shock comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 15.2 GB
Feature: 15 GB
According to social media comments made by someone who works for Troma Films, Their transfer uses the same source that was used for Severin Films' 2017 Blu-ray release. Though there are some mild instances of print related debris, colors look very good, image clarity is strong, and black levels fare well. That said, despite sharing the same source, the encodes could not be more different. Where Severin Films' Blu-ray was a dual-layer disc, Troma Films' is a single-layer disc that only uses 15 GB for the feature film.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Though range wise, this track can be lacking, the dialog comes through clearly and everything is balanced.
Extras on disc one, which contains the feature film, include an introduction with Lloyd Kaufman (2 minutes 48 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).
Extras on disc two include a DVD trailer for Combat Shock (1 minute 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a theatrical trailer (3 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival locations featurette titled Hellscapes (2 minutes 42 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with actor Rick Giovinazzo (6 minutes 33 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with writer/director Buddy Giovinazzo (4 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Buddy Giovinazzo and filmmaker Jörg Buttgereit from the 2009 Berlin film festival (7 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview titled Der Combat Llyod finds Buddy Giovinazzo at Tromanale 2006 (4 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival documentary titled Post Traumatic: An American Nightmare (29 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three music music videos directed by Buddy Giovinazzo - Planet TT (4 minutes 20 seconds), Leave this World (4 minutes 5 seconds), and Something in the Water (3 minutes 10 seconds), five short films directed by Buddy Giovinazzo - A Christmas Album (7 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Mr. Robbie (7 minutes 55 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Subconscious Realities (15 minutes 26 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Jonathan of the Night (12 minutes 58 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), and The Lobotomy (7 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles).
Other extras include trailers for Blood Boobs and Beast, The Last Horror Film, Troma’s War, Story of a Junkie, Squeeze Play!, The First Turn On!, The Toxic Avenger, Mutant Blast, Stuck on You!, Waitress!, Class of Nuke 'Em High, Return to Nuke 'Em High: Volume 1, Return to Nuke 'Em High: Volume 2, Poultrygeist, and Shakespeare's Shitstorm.
From its opening moments, Combat Shock establishes a relentless tone that builds to an unflinching climax. The narrative is an exploration of the American dream, which is decaying in Combat Shock. Many of the things the protagonist experiences are easily identifiable, like an inability to find work, food instability, and a society that’s falling apart at the seams. Needless to say, many of these things are just as relevant today as when Combat Shock was released thirty-eight years ago.
Without a doubt, Combat Shock's greatest asset is the performance of Rick Giovinazzo in the role of the protagonist, a Vietnam vet named Frankie Dunlan. And though he had never acted in a film before Combat Shock and hasn’t appeared in one since, Rick Giovinazzo gives a flawless performance that is utterly believable.
From a production standpoint, Combat Shock is not a film without shortcomings. Fortunately, its positives far outweigh its negatives. Most notably, its use of gritty New York City landscapes, special effects that look very good considering budget limitations, and an infectious score that does a great job capturing the mood. That said, Combat Shock is the type of film that within the first few minutes will either draw you into its web or you will be so revolted by what you are watching. Ultimately, Combat Shock is a grueling experience that is sure to shock, disgust, and most importantly, entertain you.
It should be noted that there are two versions of Combat Shock. The original cut, known as American Nightmare, is director Buddy Giovinazzo’s preferred version. and a shorter version that was retitled and released by Troma Films titled Combat Shock. For this release, Troma Films has included the American Nightmare cut, albeit with the title card Combat Shock.
Combat Shock gets a fully loaded release from Troma Films that comes with a strong audio/video presentation, recommended.
Written by Michael Den Boer
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