Thursday, June 19, 2014

Impulse (William Grefe, 1974)

The way Jennifer Bishop sits with her legs crossed at a friend's house in this movie will cause your... Uh, will cause your... Um, I seem to have lost my train of thought. Where was I? Ah, yes, the waitress in the white shorts. The sight of her serving customers in those tight white shorts will send you over... Wait a minute, that's not where I was. Let's see. Okay, I remember, I was talking about Jennifer Bishop sitting with her legs crossed. And boy, did she ever know how to... cross her... legs... You know what? For some strange reason, I can't seem to concentrate on the things I want to concentrate on in regard to William Grefe's Impulse, the trouser-moistening horror film that depicts a world where street smart mega-milfs know to be weary when their boyfriend's tell them the belly dancer she caught him canoodling are "just friends." As she would say, "Nobody's 'just friends' with a  belly dancer." You wanna know why I can't concentrate? It's simple, really. And it can be summed up by employing two equally simple words. Are you ready? Here it goes: William Shatner. That's right, William Fucking Shatner, T.J. Hooker himself. You know how William Shatner, while sitting in the captain's chair, looks up at the ceiling of the Starship Enterprise and yells "Khaaaaaaan!" in an overly dramatic fashion in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan? Well, William Shatner's performance in Impulse is one giddy-inducing "Khaaaaaaan!" moment after another, as the Montreal born actor is at the top of his game.

I hope you enjoyed that whole bit where I pretended I wasn't able to concentrate on the film's pervier moments. 'Cause, let's get real, the appeal of this film begins and ends with William Shatner. Take away William Shatner and... You know what, I don't even want to contemplate the prospect of William Shatner not starring in this film, as I get depressed just thinking about it.

That's right, step aside Wings Hauser in "GETEVEN" and Frank Kress in The Gore Gore Girls, I've got a new favourite performance by an actor in a motion picture, and it's William Shatner in Impulse. And the weird thing is, I'm not even a William Shatner fan. Yet, there's something about him in this movie. Now, was it his killer threads? Possibly. How 'bout his way with the ladies? Could be. The face touching? Yeah, it was the face touching, wasn't it? Actually, I like to think was an amalgam of all those things.

Even though I was on board the second I saw him take a drag on one of those cigarette-cigar hybrids he likes to smoke while watching a belly dancer belly dance, the part where he verbally accosted that lady with the balloons was the exact moment I thought to myself: This isn't acting, this is something entirely different.

To be honest, when William Shatner started to berate that woman with the balloons, I wanted to crawl underneath the couch. Not because I was scared, but because I was embarrassed. People who confront people in public make me uncomfortable. People who confront people in public who are holding a shitload of balloons make me want to die (secondhand embarrassment is my kryptonite).

Quirky secondhand embarrassment fun-fact: Whenever I see someone running to catch a bus and the driver ignores their effort by pulling away without stopping, I always look in the opposite direction. The moment the person running stops and realizes the bus ain't stopping for them fills my heart with sadness. Oh, and the worse the weather is, the more sadness gets crammed in there. And the sensation I felt as William Shatner lashed out at the balloon lady was eerily to similar to the one I feel when someone misses catching a bus. Just for record, I never run to catch public transit (I'll just catch the next one). Oh, and this applies to buses, streetcars, rapid transit and subways.

How did William Shatner, or, I should say, Matt Stone, the name of the character he plays in Impulse, become the suave ladies man is he is today? It's hard to say. I do know this, the opening scene shows a young Matt Stone stabbing his mother's abusive G.I. boyfriend to death with a samurai sword some time in the mid-1940s. After stabbing him, little Matthew puts one of his pinky fingers in the corner of his mouth. I'm guessing the whole pinky in the corner of the mouth thing is some kind of psychological coping mechanism, as Matt seems to employ it whenever he's faced with a stressful situation.

Fast-forward to modern times, it's now the mid-1970s, and Matt Stone is the suave, leisure suit-wearing ladies man I referred to earlier. The opening scene explains the mental trauma, but how did Matt become such a ladies man? Actually, I think I'm missing one key ingredient, and that is, Matt Stone looks like William Shatner. And as everyone knows, men who look like William Shatner have to beat horny women off with a stick on a regular basis.

If a stick is not available to beat them off with, Matt simply strangles them with his bare hands. The first woman to experience this hands on approach to homicide is a wealthy milf named Helen (Marcia Knight), who pushes Matt too far while questioning his commitment to their relationship. After strangling her, Matt places his pinky finger in the corner of his mouth and then dumps her body, along with her car, in a nearby lake.

Fans of classic cinema will notice that the shot of Helen's lifeless body sitting in her car at the bottom of the lake is eerily similar to the scene where Shelley Winters does the same in Night of the Hunter.

What's the deal with brunette women giving birth to blonde children? What's that? You say it happens all the time. Interesting. It's just that I initially had trouble buying that Ann Moy (Jennifer Bishop) was mother of Tina Moy (Kim Nicholas), the precocious young girl who... What the fuck?!? Don't look now, but Tina is getting in Matt's car.

Call me a complete square, but don't think children Tina's age should be accepting rides from strange men with fresh scratch wounds on their faces (Helen scratched Matt's face nice and good before buying it). And don't give me any of that, "Hey, man, it was the '70s," malarkey. Nonetheless, Tina wasn't really in any danger, as Matt runs over and kills a dog while driving her the cemetery to visit her dad's grave.

What kind of shop does Ann run? I mean, looking at the stuff on shelves, it would seem she sells everything from dresses, shampoo, cigarettes to jewelry and commemorative dinner plates. It doesn't matter, because look who just walked in the door, why, it's Matt Stone. Catching her as she slipped while dressing her store mannequin, Matt calmly puts her back on her feet, buys some cigarettes, throws her a sly smile and leaves. To paraphrase my personal hero Frank Booth: "Goddamnit, Matt Stone, you're one suave fuck!"

I don't usually do this, but I'm going to have to criticize this movie for something plot-based. When Matt Stone runs into Tina and Tina's mother on the same day, I thought it was a tad coincidental. But when Matt runs into Julia (Ruth Roman), Tina's best friend, while getting film developed, I was like, this is too much. Seriously, what are the odds that Matt Stone would run into three people connected to one another on the same day? What's that? You thought it was Matt Stone's plan all along? I don't know, man, it seemed so haphazard.

Think about it, how did Matt know Tina would be standing in the middle of the road in the middle of the afternoon? It seemed a little far-fetched, if you ask me. Anyway, Julia invites Matt to a small get together at her place in order to fix him up with Ann. Of course, Julia doesn't know that Matt and Ann have already met; the fact Matt remembered the name of Ann's mannequin (Agatha) was adorable.

As you might expect, Matt and Ann start dating (I told you, Matt is one suave motherfucker). One of their first dates involves a trip to the zoo, where Matt, when Ann is not looking, scolds a lady carrying balloons. However, little does Matt now, but as he's doing this, Karate Pete (Harold "Odd Job" Sakata) is watching from the bushes. Who's Karate Pete? He's Matt's nemesis (a rival con man who Matt owes money to). But don't worry, Matt's got plans for Karate Pete, deadly plans.

Unfortunately, Tina sees these "deadly plans" in action, and spends the rest of the movie trying to convince anyone who will listen that Matt Stone is bad news. Of course, no one believes her. To make matters worse, Tina must now avoid the wrath of Matt, who knows she saw his "deadly plans" in action. Will little Tina survive Matt's multiple attempts to silence her? Who's to say? All I know is, William Shatner is amazing as Matt Stone. And pretty much the only reason why anyone in their right mind should make the effort to watch this movie.


  1. This movie is a masterpiece and everyone should know about it. I saw it about halfway through a 24 hour movie marathon and it drove the audience berserk.

    1. Impulse with an audience?!? Now that's entertainment.

  2. When I first saw this, I rewinded that balloon bit like 7 times in a row. I love how the balloons rub against his clip mic.

  3. Shatner, Odd Job, William Grefe, the incredible car wash chase scene, some of the worst day for night I've ever seen, the "fashion" ... It just doesn't get any better than this.