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Impulse (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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Impulse (1984) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers

It’s a damn funny thing what earthquakes can unleash.  I remember feeling the ones here in Kansas that all the fracking in Oklahoma caused.  There was a shift in my mood.  I was on edge, just waiting for something else to happen.  Things were weird for about 30 minutes afterwards.  Perhaps they still are!

In director Graham Baker’s Impulse, a small town is suddenly rocked by an unexpected quake and the ramifications, as the town’s residents – including Hume Cronyn, Pill Paton, Anne Haney, and Amy Stryker – begin to act on every single whim, no matter how violent or irrational.  A woman does nothing when her kids begin to torment her friend.  A doctor kills his own patients.  A sheriff unloads his gun on a group of boys.  An old woman robs a bank.  Hell, I could go on!  The images in Impulse are haunting.

"Impulse is an unrestrained look at the consequences of actions and inactions.  It is downright spooky in its correct portrayal of small town life in the face of a BIG problem."


Something shook loose from civility when the quake hit.  But what is it?  What has people on edge and so damn dangerous?  Impulse, now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics, works for a number of reasons.  Intense and unflinching, this tight little horror film is a bottle rocket of moody anticipation.

And it is not just because Meg Tilly, who plays the “Final Girl” part of Jennifer, is in it.  Wait.  This is a slasher, too?  Well, yes and no.  The horror film – which wears many hats during the span of its 90-minute running time as a small town descends into madness –  holds its cards close to its chest about what exactly has gone wrong in the town but, rather fatefully, reveals itself to be a sort of message movie, especially when it is discovered to be responsible for the violent activity. 

The horror film also rattles off some fairly frightening sequences.  A classic scene in which Tilly drives through a pitch black night avoiding violent people on the side of the road before pulling into town to witness a spectacle of fire and fury is an immediate favorite of mine.  Another has her in the garage trying to escape some manic children that flattened her tires and are trying to burn her alive in the garage.  {googleads)

Situated in a small rural town, Impulse contains one hell of a shock for viewers.  Its isolation is deafening.  So, too, are the consequences when an early morning earthquake changes the path of a town’s future.  Slowly, individuals begin to do some pretty weird things.  Old people are spotted playing kick the can down the street.  Tempers flare, resulting in some pretty unique deaths.  Something is tearing the town apart.                              

And the madness begins with a simple phone call from Jennifer’s mother.  She is screaming at her, telling her all sorts of awful things about her and then, unexpectedly, she puts a gun to the side of her head and pulls the trigger.  WHAT THE HELL?!?!?  That’s what it took to bring Jennifer and her boyfriend, Stuart (Tim Matheson) out to the sticks.  This town is where she grew up.  To Stuart, who does his best to impress her father and brother, it is another world entirely.  Especially when he sees just how weird the citizens are after the earthquake. 

Impulse (1984) - Blu-ray Review

What the two of them discover, when it is all but too late, is a secret that no one in the town knows about.  Something is buried close by … and it is no longer contained.

Impulse is an unrestrained look at the consequences of actions and inactions.  It is downright spooky in its correct portrayal of small town life in the face of a BIG problem.  And, rather thankfully, commits itself to telling a story with no room for happy endings.  This ABC Pictures production might have not been successful upon its original release but, on 1080p, it lives to see another glorious day.

Impulse reminds us of all the reasons why we can never go home again.

Impulse (1984) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Graham Baker
Writer:
Bart Davis
Cast:
Tim Matheson, Meg Tilly, Hume Cronyn
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Imagine what would happen if every desire, every urge, every passion, locked deep inside all of us ...suddenly exploded.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Never forget."
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 28, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Synopsis: When Jennifer (Tilly) and her boyfriend Stuart (Matheson) return to her idyllic hometown, they discover that all boundaries of civility seem to have eroded. Mystified by the actions of normally kind townspeople who are suddenly driven to extremes of irrational—and violent—behavior, Jennifer and Stuart attempt to get to the bottom of the increasingly life-threatening chaos... before it destroys them.

Impulse (1984) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- September 18, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The brand new HD master is mined from a 4K scan of the original camera negative.  The resulting images are crisp and full of strong details.  There is an unexpected depth to the images, too.  Even the town seems bigger than it originally felt thanks to the crispness of the image.  The colors are full of strong yellows and browns.  And the beads of sweat, the first indicators that something is wrong with the person, are filled with edges that weren’t perceptible before.  Everything buzzes with goodness here.  The sound is presented in a thunderous DTS-HD Master Audio mono that adds a bit more thump to some of the action scenes. The aspect ratio of the release is the original 1.85:1. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Alien Nation’s director (and the director of this movie) provides an interesting commentary for the film.

Special Features:

A trailer is included.

  • • Theatrical Trailer

Impulse (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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