Impulse (1974)

AUGUST 12, 2008


Along with Stanley, director William Grefe was also on hand to discuss the 2nd film of tonight’s double feature: Impulse, which stars the inimitable William Shatner. Apparently, much effort was made to get Shat down for the screening, but he was stuck on the set of Boston Public. Fine, do your Emmy-winning work instead of coming to talk to drunks at 1 in the morning about a gloriously awful movie you made 35 years ago, jerk!

I actually liked Impulse more than Stanley. Not only is Shatner simply more entertaining than the former’s Chris Robinson, but it’s also a more “action-packed” movie. Shatner goes apeshit and attacks someone every 15 minutes or so, and the whole movie is pretty much about whether or not he will murder a little girl who saw him kill someone else. At one point, he even says “She deserves to die!” because she lied about something. Harsh dude.

There are so many hilarious bits in this movie, and I was so half drunk, that I couldn’t possibly remember them all. But some include Shatner kicking Harold “Oddjob” Sakata in the face (Sakata seems sort of confused by the whole thing), a drunken man trying to teach a young boy how to make love to a woman (the kid’s mother being the intended target), Shatner picking up a little girl without any real concern that such behavior is an arrestable offense, a character simply named Moy, etc. I don’t think I went more than 2 minutes without laughing out loud at SOMETHING.

Like Tim/Stanley, he’s also a pretty ineffective killer. At the end he stabs a woman, then chases the little girl until she falls down the stairs and seemingly breaks her neck, and then he attempts to drown another. But while he’s drowning her, the stabbed woman suddenly grabs his leg, impeding his process. And then the little girl comes back and stabs him! 3 women, and Shat couldn’t kill a single one of them properly. However, this results in a truly amazing moment; the little girl and the mother are walking out of the house, crying hysterically. Then the girl sees Shatner, dead, and points as she cries even louder, as if she just noticed that he was dead. It’s fucking bliss.

One bummer about both movies for tonight was that the film prints were devoid of all color for the most part. I am used to the pink/red tint for older films, but I can’t recall any this bad. They seriously had no color left in them for a lot of the time (both prints seemed to be assembled from a few different prints, so every now and then a reel would actually look pretty good). But you sort of get used to it after a while.

I’ve never even heard of Grefe before tonight, but now I am a fan. I plan to check out some of his other movies (if I can find them) and certainly buy this one on DVD when it’s out (they said a special edition is in the works). Like Scream Bloody Murder, Impulse is the type of wretchedly hilarious 70s “hero killer” movie that I could never get enough of, and wish would have a permanent place on the bi-weekly Grindhouse roster. Please, if you know of any other movies in which the star is sort of the hero but he freaks out and kills people for no real reason, list them in the suggestion thread.

What say you?


  1. Hey, I do believe you mean "Boston Legal", not "Boston Public" :o)

  2. "Like . . . a puppy . . . on the highway . . ."
    I LOVE this movie. I seriously need to move out to this magical land of yours, where men are men and movie theaters show something other than Shrek 8.

    I'm trying to think of other hero/killer movies, and the first thing that comes to mind is Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive.

  3. This movie is like crack when watched with an audience.

    Some more random goodness...

    -- Shatner goes through so many sleazy 70's wardrobe changes with each one seemingly topping the last. You got high collar shirts, plaid suits, pimp fedoras, bell bottoms. Groovy shit.

    -- I think there's like 3 obligatory butt shots of chicks in here because you know, ass is class.

    -- The little girl is automatically set up as an unsympathetic jerk by bad mouthing people and stealing cash from her mom, and she's supposed to be the HERO!

    -- Shatner vs balloons = GOLD.

    -- Sakata go to line, "Yeah."

    -- Sakata punching bag.

    -- Sakata carwash.

    -- The genesis of Dr. Evil's pinky fetish.

    -- Quote wikipedia on Shatner, "His second marriage--his longest marriage thus far--lasted 21 years and was to Marcy Lafferty Shatner from 1973 to 1994."
    Marcy Lafferty Shatner AKA the sleazy hot motel clerk that bangs Shatner in IMPULSE. Quality.

    I'm definately looking forward to this dvd, but Grefe and his DVD monkey/biographer were saying that they're still trying to figure out who owns the rights and what not, so who knows how long it will take to sort that out.

    Notable to the dvd, they said they found some footage from the Sakata hanging scene where Sakata accidentally ends up really hanging from his neck due to faulty rigging or something, and Shatner does his best to save him. Grefe said that he recently had lunch with Shatner and showed him the old soundless hanging footage to which Shatner ended up providing some funny narration. Grefe was making it sound like the scene and narration would be a dvd extra. My fingers are crossed.


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget