Impulse (1974)

IMPULSE (1974)
Article 4595 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-1-2014
Directed by William Grefe
Featuring William Shatner, Ruth Roman, Jennifer Bishop
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho killer movie

A disturbed man who developed homicidal tendencies after a traumatic childhood experience hooks up with a widow. The woman’s suspicious daughter discovers his homicidal tendencies, but no one will believe her.

I’ve never been one of those people who made a habit of seeing William Shatner as a bad actor given to hammy overacting, but then, I’ve never seen this movie before, either. In fact, this movie seems to mostly remembered for Shatner’s awful performance as the murderous psycho, and I have to admit that it’s as bad as they come. Nevertheless, I can see what he’s trying to do; underneath his usual facade, the character is basically still a scared little boy in a desperate situation, and he’s trying to tap into that. Unfortunately, his failure to physicalize this character with subtlety ends up making his performance unexpectedly and inappropriately comic, and the result is truly awful. Perhaps a more skilled director than William Grefe (who gave us STING OF DEATH, DEATH CURSE OF TARTU and STANLEY) might have found a way to keep his performance in check, but maybe not; I can only speculate. Certainly, the mostly lame script doesn’t help the situation any, and some of the scenes are pretty ludicrous (such as the chase scene through a car wash). About the only thing I like about the script is the way the final scene effectively and neatly circles back to the first scene; it’s easily the best thing about this movie, which will most likely be only remembered for what’s wrong with it.

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