Want A Ride, Little Girl?

If not always great, William Shatner (T.J. Hooker) can always be relied upon to deliver something memorable in his many roles. The full Shatner experience makes you want to watch the screen, even when reciting stiff dialogue and cheesy drama. Taking a detour from his usual adventures on Star Trek, Shatner in his virile heyday of the 1970s stars in William Grefe’s Impulse. Playing a womanizing Lothario by day and twisted psychopath by night, it’s a much different role for the screen legend.

Underground Florida filmmaker William Grefé got Shatner for two weeks, piecing together an odd but mostly effective exploitation vehicle around him. The gritty killer thriller also features Ruth Roman (Strangers On A Train) and Harold “Oddjob” Sakata from Goldfinger. If you ever wanted to see Captain Kirk take out a Bond villain, here’s your chance.

Impulse is a tasty relic of an earlier era in film distribution

Matt Stone (William Shatner) preys on lonely women for love and money, a deranged ladies man who doubles as a con man. He also happens to be a stone-cold killer.

Murdering anyone who gets in his way, Stone begins dating a single mother with plans of scamming her. Her young daughter Tina (Kim Nicholas) doesn’t like him from the jump, beginning a cat-and-mouse chase between them which turns disturbingly dark and violent. The widowed mother is completely oblivious, seduced by Shatner’s charms.

Impulse is a tasty relic of an earlier era in film distribution, when regional drive-ins and movie theaters had an insatiable demand for exploitation content. Always looking for something new and edgy, they peaked in the Seventies before home video took off in the Eighties. These smaller distributors took wild chances on independent filmmakers and among the dross were little patches of greatness.

William Grefé somewhat anticipates slasher trends in the coming decade, leaning on the dualism of a psychotic killer who can turn on the charm when necessary. Impulse has shades of the “final girl” trope and Matt Stone’s deranged killing spree is nastier than Hollywood productions of the same era.

Definitely a movie which could be deemed grindhouse despite Shatner’s presence, Impulse reminds you he’s more than the captain of the USS Enterprise.

Video

Impulse’s original camera negative is believed to be lost so Grindhouse Releasing has lovingly restored a 35MM release print for this steady 4K remastering. Impulse runs 87 minutes on a BD-50, giving ample room for the AVC encode to transparently capture the often heavy grain structure and dense shadows. The 1.85:1 Blu-ray presentation mirrors a cleaned up film print with occasionally unavoidable blemishes.

Definition is on the softer side though Impulse’s 1080P resolution is replete with high-quality fine detail when the shot allows. Grindhouse Releasing takes a conservative approach with their 4K scan, eschewing heavy filtering. That leaves the film-like video with stable colors and a serviceable contrast. There’s a distinct low-budget aesthetic and moldy color palette from 1974, almost nostalgic and quaint.

Impulse’s picture quality makes the leap to Blu-ray for the first time looking remarkably improved. Given the extant elements in circulation, Grindhouse Releasing pulled everything they could get in terms of color and resolution from them.

Audio

Impulse’s monaural soundtrack in 2.0 DTS-HD MA is adequate in scope, offering decent dialogue reproduction and moderately spacious fidelity. The underground film from Florida isn’t a bass monster and its higher frequencies are a tad rolled off. There are enough dynamics for a somewhat lively sonic experience when action heats up but otherwise is a tad pedestrian.

Optional English subtitles play in a white font. A rare French dub in monaural 2.0 DTS-HD MA with an alternate soundtrack is a secondary option.

Extras

Grindhouse Releasing delivers Impulse in an absolutely loaded 2-disc special edition, including two rarely-seen bonus movies from William Grefé’s early career. It’s packed to the gills with interviews, rare footage and some wild memories of William Shatner. Almost more than can be listed but I tried. Something like 15 hours of bonus content in total is listed. The material featuring Shatner himself is often funny and worth watching.

Many special features are relegated to a second Blu-ray. The limited edition set comes in a lavish, embossed slipcase with reversible artwork inside the clear plastic Blu-ray case, a postcard featuring Shatner’s character, and an eight-page booklet offering an essay by Jacques Boyreau. Both BDs are coded for all regions. Esteemed painter Dave Lebow provides art for the slipcase. There are a few hidden easter eggs hidden on the menu…

Audio Commentary by director William Grefé (2024)

“The Making of Impulse” (14:27 in HD) – New featurette

“Shatner Saves Sakata” Clip (01:45 in SD) – Separate audio commentaries by director William Grefé & William Shatner

40th Anniversary Screening: Tampa Theater, Nov. 7, 2015 (27:10 in HD)

Theatrical Trailer A (01:18 in HD)

Theatrical Trailer B (02:52 in HD)

The Godmothers (77:39 in 4:3 480i; 2.0 Dolby Digital) – A G-rated motion picture from William Grefé starring Mickey Rooney!?

The Godmother Intro (03:55 in HD)

The Devil’s Sisters (84:16 in 4:3 480i; 2.0 Dolby Digital) – 1966 black-and-white flick with an optional director’s commentary.

The Devil’s Sisters Intro (02:42 in HD)

Bill Grefé & The Devil’s Sisters (01:20 in HD)

Radio Spots (00:13 in HD)

Still Gallery (01:20 in HD)

Between the Treks: Shatner in the 1970s (26:26 in HD) – A nice look at Shatner’s career from film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

Kingdom of the Shatner: William Shatner Live in Santa Monica (64:37 in HD) is a 2022 event at the Aero Theater with William Shatner promoting the reissue of Impulse.

Doug Hobart: The Corpse Speaks! (33:58 in HD) – An interview with the associate producer of Impulse assisted by director William Grefé.

Bill Grefé is Furious (77:46 in HD) – An extended interview with the director expounding on a wide array of topics.

Bill’s Miami Stories (24:45 in HD) – Memories of living in Miami from the filmmaker.

Bill’s Sea Stories (43:17 in HD) – More wacky anecdotes and experiences from Grefe’s career.

Bill Grefé: 2011 Interview (12:34 in HD) – By this point you know Bill Grefé better than his children.

Live and Let Die News Report (02:39 in SD) – Vintage clip mentioning the James Bond connection.

Legend Award (09:25 in SD) – Legend Bruce Campbell introduces this snapshot of William Grefe’s professional success.

Swamp Man (18:14 in HD)

Bill Grefe’s Filmmaking Seminars:

Session 1 (125:05 in SD), “Session 2” (103:07 in SD), and “Session 3” (80:23 in SD).

Industrial Films Section: “Bacardi: Shatner” (19:32 in SD), “Fame with William Shatner” (12:09 in SD), and “Investing in Movies with Lauren Bacall” (23:01 in SD).

A bunch of short Films are also included from Grefé: “Thumbs” (6:09 in HD), “Iceman” (4:56 in SD), “A Cask of Amontillado” (09:22 in HD), and “Underwood” (21:09 in HD).

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Impulse
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

William Shatner plays a deranged killer in this lurid exploitation shocker from the 1970s

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 43 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:


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