Saturday, September 7, 2013
A wicked little Horror classic from the 80s
Pulse (1988) is one of those classic little 80s Horror B-films that you happen to stumble upon in the wee hours of the night that keeps you enthralled until its conclusion, despite the fact you have to get up for work at 7 in the morning. Unfortunately, if you are the type of viewer that likes everything spelled out for them at the conclusion of the film, then "Pulse" isn't for you.
The story begins in an unnamed suburban town where a strange, electronic entity inhabits the inner workings of your average American family's home, resulting in deadly situations. Why this occurs is not explained nor is the source of the strange life form revealed. The story is essentially told through the eyes of 10 year old David (played by Joey Lawrence from Gimme A Break TV series fame), the eldest of the two boys in the household. Cliff De Young and Roxanne Hart play his parents, Bill and Ellen.
At first, the entity remains in the background as it, in a sense, explores the home and produces harmless poltergeist-like activities which are essentially ignored by the innocent family. Soon David becomes aware of its presence as it slowly becomes more malevolent. The creepy, unnamed old man that lives across the street (Charles Tyner) offers cryptic clues and warnings to David as he seems to have special insights into what is going on. He, for example, lives in a home that has no electrical service and is perfectly content to use kerosene lamps and the like for his daily existence as he ominously states to David, "You gotta pull the damn plug, boy!"
At first David fails to heed the old man's warnings but later comes to realize that he and his family are in extreme jeopardy as he narrowly escapes being asphyxiated in the family's garage and his mother is horribly scalded while taking a shower. Soon, all Hell breaks loose as their idyllic home becomes a gauntlet of electrical devices on a rampage (as silly as it sounds, believe me) and David and his father struggle to survive the wrath of the electronic entity.
One aspect of the film that needs mention is how the special effects were executed. Though they are simple by design, the close-ups and inner workings of the devices that the entity 'inhabits' is fascinating to watch and when the entity is finally thwarted by David's father, its demise is oddly cathartic to watch.
You will enjoy this film because it works on many levels. The acting is quite good and the characters motivation's are believable. So, try to get a hold of on this minor classic, cook some popcorn and enjoy (but don't forget to unplug the TV set before you go to bed).