In numerous essays I've noted how some works possess the potential for the combative mode but fail, for assorted reasons, to achieve this special archetypal synthesis. In 2013's SEMICOMBATIVE VS. SUBCOMBATIVE, I noted that if one could, in theory, distinguish between subcombative works that portray the act of combat and those that have no action that even comes close to the act. But because my panoply of theoretical thoughts is complicated enough, I chose not to bother incorporating the term "semicombative."
Yet it seems to me that it might be useful to have a term for acts of fictive violence that *almost* make the grade. TRANSITIVE MONSTERS 2 demonstrates that the only combative works in the Hammer Dracula series are the four films in which the master vampire contends with one of Hammer's versions of Bram Stoker's Professor Von Helsing. The other four films nevertheless end with violent struggles, usually between the vampire and some young swain, but I judge these to be subcombative because "the implication [of these films] Is always that ordinary humans can only muddle through and win by last-minute flashes of inspiration."
I suggested some of the theoretical distance between the struggle and the combat in one of my observations from STORMING ACROSS THE THRESHOLD PART 2:
[Regarding] BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS and THE GIANT BEHEMOTH--As much as their cinematic progenitor, the 1933 King Kong, both depend on giant critters wreaking havoc in big cities and then being defeated by whatever forces human beings can muster against them. In the end, no matter what specific arguments I put forth, they boil down to the subjective feeling that BEAST only tromps its way over the megadynamicity threshold, while BEHEMOTH "storms" across, in part because it shows a greater propensity toward the "dynamic-sublime."
I don't foresee re-using the metaphorical distinction between "tromping" and "storming" again, but it seems to me that a lot of the subcombative works described in the STORMING essay are best seen as films that involve "struggle," but fail to concentrate the action-elements enough to produce that instance of the "dynamic-sublime" called "combat."