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Combat Shock

original title: American Nightmare


  • Theatrical Version
  • Director's Cut
Release: Aug 08, 2009 - Author: magiccop - Translator: Gladion - external link: IMDB
Comparison between the US Theatrical Cut and the US Director's Cut
both versions contained on the new US DVD by TROMA


After Frankie had experienced the horrors of war, he returns back to the states after the end of the war. As if his war trauma wasn't enough yet, he has his pregnant wife and an Agent Orange-damaged child to deal with and is unemployed for months. Also, in the slum he lives in, he gets in contact with criminals he owes money to. The sufferings from war were bad enough, but they are nothing compared to the desolate life in the concrete city.

About the Film:

Director Buddy Giovinazzo created one of the most depressing and desolate underground movies of the 80's called "Combat Shock" or also "American Nightmare" (original title). You see that the movie was made with a slight budget and that the performers were anything but actors, but especially this, and the grainy, cheap look contribute to the authenticity of the film.

Many think of films that are trashy, bloody and not to be taken seriously when they hear the name TROMA. But this film was only bought by the trash factory, after Giovinazzo was looking for a distributor. The TROMA bosses, though, had some additional war scenes shot respectively took stock footage of documentaries to sell the film as an action flick. So most Video- and DVD covers are misleading since they make you expect an action movie la Rambo.


The just released new US-DVD by TROMA, that has been released in their Tromasterpiece series, offers for the first time the Original Director's Cut, just like Giovinazzo had planned it initially and which was only shown on very few occasions. This version is ten minutes longer than the known version.

Notable is the fact that the original German DVD release by TROMA Germany already did feature all these new scenes, along with the war scenes TROMA had cut in. So that version is even longer than the Director's Cut.

The times in brackets correspond to the ones of the Director's Cut, the time designations before that the ones of the Theatrical Cut:

Theatrical Cut = 91:39 Min.
Dir. Cut = 96:44 Min.

Film tears of less than one second, that are contained in both versions will not be mentioned in this comparison.
00:00 The dir. cut (DC) starts with opening credits on black background.
21 Sec.

The Theatrical Cut (TC) starts with the TROMA logo, followed by (real) combat scenes and implemented scenes of Frankie as well as several credits.
163 Sec.

02:58 (00:36) Alternative shot of a riverbed. No time difference.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

03:17 (00:55) Ditto. No time difference.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

03:25 (01:03) Again, alternative landscape takes. The TC is longer and arranged completely different resp. some shots are shown twice.
DC = 14,4 Sec.
TC = 46 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

11:45 (08:52) In the DC you see a front shot of Frankie a bit sooner. In the TC, another take follows though (cameratake toward him). No time difference.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

14:10 (11:17) Shot of Frankie, the baby and Frankie again.
11,6 Sec.

14:20 (11:40) Several takes of Frankie and of him slumping onto the bed as well as the beginning of a take.
20,3 Sec.

14:26 (12:07) Frankie is lying on the bed.
3,5 Sec.

14:52 (12:35) After Kathy told Frankie that the baby is hungry, Frankie says in the DC that something to eat had to be there. Kathy explains that they had eaten that the evening before. In the TC, there is a take of Frankie though.
DC = 8,5 Sec.
TC = 3,5 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

15:00 (12:49) After Kathy has gone through the door in the DC you see Frankie in bed for a while. His wife then shouts that the toilet is broken.
26,7 Sec.

16:12 (14:27) Shot of Kathy with the baby.
4,9 Sec.

17:49 (16:10) End of a shot of Frankie saying something.
1,8 Sec.

18:10 (16:32) The quarrel between the two is longer in the DC. Kathy blames him for being in this situation and says that he should ask his father for help. Frankie wants none of that.
54,5 Sec.

18:40 (17:57) Take of Kathy.
7,3 Sec.

18:42 (18:07) Frankie leaves the bathroom, turns off the light and picks up a letter that's lying in front of the apartment door.
9,8 Sec.

19:12 (18:46) Frankie tastes the milk and disgutedly has to notice that it's sour. Kathy grins.
9,2 Sec.

20:31 (20:14) Shot of infusion bag and tubes.
5,1 Sec.

21:31 (21:20) In the DC you see Frankie looking at Kathy when leaving the apartment. At the same time, a fight between him and his father crosses his mind. Frankie goes to Kathy and tries to talk to her about his father. But it only ends in a noisy argument. Kathy subsequentally says that all that has been so long ago and that his father might have changed in the meantime. Frankie stands up in the end. The TC, though, features a take of the baby.
DC = 116,1 Sec
TC = 2,2 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

26:46 (28.30) Frankie is lying a bit longer on the floor.
3,6 Sec.

27:44 (29:32) Beginning of a take.
1,1 Sec.

28:11 (30:01) In the DC, you see Kathy eat cereal. In the TC there is a cut to the baby. No time difference.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

28:33 (30:23) Ending of a take.
2,3 Sec.

35:23 (37:14) The DC contains a landscape view. The TC a war scene.
DC = 5,7 Sec.
TC = 3,3 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

35:34 (37:32) In the DC you see Frankie. In the TC, a war scene again.
DC = 2,5 Sec.
TC = 2,4 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

35:55 (37:54) Ditto.
DC = 5 Sec.
TC = 3,9 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

36:09 (38:04) Ditto.
DC = 0,9 Sec.
TC = 2,5 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

36:20 (38:14) Here, a war scene is contained in the TC.
+ 2,9 Sec.

36:38 (38:29) In the DC, Frankie is shown and then a landscape-view. In the TC war scenes again. No time difference.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

39:11 (41:02) Paco tells Mike he should be satisfied with what he gave him or return the money.
4,8 Sec.

39:40 (41:36) The take that shows Mike running away is longer in the DC.
5,4 Sec.

79:43 (81:44) In the TC you can see Frankie slightly longer. In the DC there is a slow edit to the next take. Then the DC shows Kathy looking boredly at the glimmering TV screen.
DC = 45,7 Sec.
TC = 3 Sec.

Dir. CutTheatrical Cut

82:19 (85:02) The TV set is shown longer, then Frankie. He's hearing voices in his head.
17,5 Sec.

82:41 (85:42) The shot of Frankie's face reflecting war scenes is longer in the DC.
33,6 Sec.

86:12 (89:47) After Frankie has shot Kathy, in the DC you see her fall down on the ground.
3,6 Sec.

88:51 (92:30) Frankie goes to the sink with a glass to pour in some water. But nothing comes out of the tap, so he turns around again.
18,4 Sek.

89:46 (93:42) Frankie looks to the side at the dripping tap. While he continues to drink the sour milk you see blood flowing out of the oven.
58,2 Sec.

89:56 (94:51) Two shots of Frankie putting the gun to his head.
3,8 Sec.

90:16 (95:15) The shot of dead Frankie is longer in the DC. As well as the following shot.
6,9 Sec.