Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

torsdag 12 april 2018


Directed by: Buddy Giovinazzo
Written by: Buddy Giovinazzo
Stars:  Rick Giovinazzo, Veronica Stork, Mitch Maglio... read more

Country: USA
Style: Drama | Thriller | War
Runtime: 1h 37min

Buddy Giovinazzo, an American director, writer and actor, who debuted in the early 1980s with a number of short films. Combat Shock was his first feature film from 1984, and this may also be one of his most significant works in his entire filmography. An effective and highly elaborate post-dramatic war movie mixed with social realism and possibly one of the most heaviest movies I've ever seen.

Frankie (Rick Giovinazzo), a Vietnam veteran has been psychologically abused from the experiences he had suffered from during the war, therefore, he also has difficulty in adapting to a normal life in New York City. His wife Cathy (Veronica Stork) spends the days together with the test-image on the Television and their newborn son is heavily deformed because of the chemical weapons Frankie suffered from during the Vietnam War. Whores, pimps, thieves and drug-dealers make the situation worse for Frankie when he comes to town. One day it hurts him so much that he falls into a nervous breakdown and takes his bloody revenge on the society that created him.

Combat Shock is one of the most depressed movies I've ever seen. You need a bit of dark sense of humor to be able to spot any kind of humor at all. But trust me, there's humor, the task is just to succeed in finding it in the shadow of the morbid and nightmarish graininess the film carries on.

You will recognize a lot of inspiration from block busters such as 'Midnight Cowboy' (1969), 'Soldier Blue' (1970) and 'Taxi Driver' (1976). Much is borrowed from these films in a very unique way. Giovinazzo blends the brilliant anger and the violence of 'Taxi Driver' with isolated surrealism from movies like 'Eraserhead' (1977), 'The Tenant' (1976) and 'Rabid' (1977). The film consists essentially of a full-featured story that works perfectly for its genre.

This is a masterpiece in its own bizarre way. It captures the daily life of the poor Vietnam veteran, bringing him back to a world full of poverty, hopelessness and terror with a roaring wife and a scary mutant son. The details in the inner circle of the apartment are really embarrasing - with dirt on the walls and an overflowing toilet. It's a tough and grainy movie, as uncompromising and brutal.

The actors are obviously no professionals, and it helps to give us an elegant yet gloomy feeling, filled with grainy images of decay which creates the radical, nihilistic and depraved mood. The end scene is also among the most shocking ends I've seen in movies - You will at least be affected!

I absolutely think that many of you've already watched this movie, but if you're one of the major who managed to miss Combat Shock, I'd recommend it to you who like heavy 80s cult classics. The film uses genuine images from the Vietnam war, brutal reunions of Frankie's touring task which gives a vibrant, disturbing and electronic score.

Giovinazzo has later made some other movies on quite same objects such as 'No Way Home' (1996) and 'Life Is Hot In Cracktown' (2009), but as said, Combat Shock is a low budget movie, and that's quite suitable for the bistro and therefore creates a sharp inner light that never romanticizes the underclass and its poverty. Strong, depressing and overdramatic.

My rating: 4 out of 5


Produced by: Buddy Giovinazzo, Jerry Giovinazzo, Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, Lori Labar
Cinematography by: Stella Varveris
Editing by: Buddy Giovinazzo
Special Effects by: George Rice
Music by: Rick Giovinazzo
Language: English
Color: Color

DistributorTroma Entertainment


Owner of and writer for Twisted Minds. French Canadian weirdo, lives in the past, afraid of the future, but curious about what to come. Beginner in extreme horror and visual arthouse, and finds it exciting to discover the world down under. Growed in the 80's and discovered cheesy classics, among others John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Stuart Gordon. Live for electro, rock and metal music and have a long story full of concert memories. This is the first time he takes the interest in writing about what he is experiencing.