Impulse (1974) (part 4 of 7)

We cut to what is presumably a carnival (the only way we know is by the carousel music in the background). Matt and Ann are strolling near a pond where a flock of flamingos have come to roost. As the two walk past, one of the flamingos notices Matt’s outfit and tells him to tone it down a bit. I swear this really happened.

Anyway, Matt tells Ann a made-up story about how his mother died, and how he’s supposedly been raised alone by his wealthy stockbroker father. Matt tells her he turned down a position in his father’s firm to go out on his own. Ann asks how he’s doing so far, and he gives her the appropriately vague answer of “You win some, you lose some.” You kill a woman, you make some fake business cards, you run over a dog, it’s all in a day’s work, right?

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The two then walk towards an outdoor escalator. Ann hops on, but just as Matt goes to follow, a woman carrying a massive amount of balloons tries to get on at the same time and blocks him. Ann, a little ways up the escalator, is left blissfully unaware as Matt suddenly transforms into Psychotic Boyfriend. Psychotic Boyfriend flails around, knocking balloons out of the woman’s hand. Then, completely unprovoked, he starts screaming at her:

Psychotic Boyfriend: Hey, watch it! What do you think you do, own the place? Fat… people like you oughta be ground up… and made into dog food!

Folks, trust me when I say that Shatner unloading on Fat Balloon Woman is one of those moments that every bad movie fanatic simply must see to believe. In response, Fat Balloon Woman just looks dazed as Psychotic Boyfriend’s adrenalin levels drop to normal and he reverts to Nice Matt.

Impulse (1974) (part 4 of 7)

A shot of something all puffed up and full of hot air. And some balloons, too.

Nice Matt catches up with Ann and the two have some more painfully “cute” banter, this time about the hot dogs they’re eating. I swear, if Ann gives a pet name to her hot dog I’m going to turn into Psychotic Movie Reviewer and punch somebody in the face.

As Matt tosses the hot dogs away, we get a long, lingering view of Ann’s behind. Apparently, this is director William Grefé’s attempt to pick up a motif from his earlier movies, most notably Sting of Death. In fact, shots of women’s backsides are so commonplace in Grefé’s films that I’m amazed no one’s put it under “Director’s trademark” in his IMDb biography.

Ann turns around and bashfully asks Matt what he’s looking at. He approaches her, arms outstretched at the elbow, looking hornier than Kirk when he was stricken with that Naked Time disease.

Matt: Oooh, I’m looking at the most… beautiful… roundest… cheeks I ever saw!

I promise I’m not making any of this up. Ann, of course, is swept off her feet by all this sweet talk. Matt, seeming to have learned all his woman skills from crazy Sarge, immediately takes the opportunity to invite Ann back to his motel room. Ann resists, telling him that he hasn’t seen anything yet. Matt sleazily replies, “Oh, I bet I haven’t.” Speaking for myself, I definitely haven’t. She leads him off, and as soon as they’re out of sight, there’s a big ominous chord as we zoom right in on Harold “Odd Job” Sakata, standing under a tree and lighting a pipe.

Impulse (1974) (part 4 of 7)

If there’s some kind of metaphor here, I don’t want to know what it is.

Next we see Tina doing her homework and seething as she looks at the clock. Ann enters, apologizing for being late. She wonders why a couple of her “antique plates” are sitting out on the table, and Tina starts bitching about how she wanted to see a movie and have dinner or something. Ann again apologizes to the little brat and goes to see if she’s done her homework. As she’s looking away, Tina picks up one of the antique dishes and drops it on the ground. “It slipped,” she says with a shrug, adding with mock remorse, “Oh… and it’s your beautiful china.”

We immediately cut away from the severe beating Tina’s about to get, down to the beach where some tacky harp music is playing in the background. Ann and Julia are walking along the shore, and Julia says she brought Ann out here to ask how things are going with Matt. Ann says that nothing’s really happened yet, because she’s worried about how the little hellion will feel. Around here is where the movie veers into Lifetime Network territory as Julia intuits that Matt is “Mr. Right”. “He likes you,” Julia says. “Do you like him?” Personally, no, but Ann apparently does, so Julia tells her to “Go get ‘im!”

Julia leaves, and things become dangerously similar to The Lonely Lady as Ann walks along and hears voices echoing in her head. First she hears Tina ask, “Nobody could replace Dad, right, Mom?” Then she hears Julia say, “Look, honey. You finally met someone.” Then she hears Tina say, “We’re doing alright.” Then she hears herself [?] say, “I’ve got my own life to lead.” Tina again says, “We’re doing alright,” and it still doesn’t make any sense. Then Ann hears herself say, “My own life. My own life. My own life.” Then she walks off and the scene ends, which sadly means we will not get to see little disembodied heads swirling around her.

In the next scene, Tina is on her bike outside a motel and spying on her mom, who’s heading up to Matt’s room. We then cut to Matt and Ann in bed, lying in the afterglow. Matt stares at a framed photo of his mom (Hey, you don’t think this movie is ripping off Psycho, do you?) until Ann stirs, and the two of them start loudly kissing. Outside, Tina hops off her bike (was she just sitting there the whole time?) and runs up the stairs. She peeks in through the window, sees the two of them together, and starts crying. Yeah, I think I’d pretty much have the same reaction if I saw my mom getting it on with William Shatner.

Tina runs down to the cemetery to once again cry on her dad’s tombstone, saying that no one could ever replace him. “Never! Never! I hate her! I hate her!” But, Tina, don’t you realize that she has to live her own life? Her own life? Her own life?

Later that night, Julia comes to Ann’s house and finds Tina sitting in the dark. Julia says she came to see Ann and the little snot-nose yells, “Well, why don’t you check the motels?” Then Tina screeches that her mom is “becoming just like” Julia. What, you mean she’s got the gall to actually date again after the death of her husband? You little punk. Tina predictably smashes some dishes on the ground, so Julia decides it’s probably not a good time to visit and takes off.

A little later, Ann comes home and finds Tina picking up shards of china. Tina begins to make up a lie about accidentally dropping the plates, but Ann instead wants to introduce her to someone.

That someone is Matt, and this time he’s wearing what looks like a white version of Captain Kangaroo’s coat, complete with a big white pimp hat [!!]. When Tina sees Matt, she storms off, outraged, because to her he’s still the Run Over a Doberman Guy. Either that, or she’s just not a big fan of the late 80’s version of Doctor Who. In response to this, Matt just smirks.

Impulse (1974) (part 4 of 7)

This is like every picture of every best man at every 70’s wedding.

Then we immediately cut to some random woman’s rear end. You have to hand it to William Grefé; When he found something that worked (even if only in his own demented mind), he certainly stuck with it. This behind turns out to belong to the waitress serving drinks to Ann and Captain Kangaroo Kirk. Ann expresses confoundment at Tina’s behavior, but Matt the Pimp wisely proclaims that “Kids are kids!”

Then Matt brings up the topic of his bogus investments. Ann says she’s still interested and that she can come up with ten thousand dollars. Matt remarks that this is a “good amount”, but grows alarmed when he notices that Harold “Odd Job” Sakata is sitting at the table directly behind Ann. She notes Matt’s distress and wonders what’s bothering him, but strangely doesn’t think to actually turn around and see what he’s looking at. Matt grits his teeth and yells, “The time!” and quickly makes up an excuse to leave.

Multi-Part Article: Impulse (1974)

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