Impulse (Grindhouse Releasing) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots + Packaging Shots


This long forgotten William Shatner horror flick gets a new lease on life from Grindhouse Releasing, which brings us a smorgasbord of special features along with two of William Grefe's other films, The Devil's Sisters and The Godmothers.

Studio: Grindhouse Releasing
Release Date: January 31st, 1974 (theatrical) (Impulse) / November 1966 (theatrical) (The Devil's Sisters) / December 12th, 1973 (The Godmothers)  / March 12th, 2024 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes 5 seconds (Impulse) / 1 hour 24 minutes 16 minutes (The Devil's Sisters) / 1 hour 17 minutes 39 seconds (The Godmothers)
Region Code: FREE
Disc Count: 2 (BD-50)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (Impulse) / 480p (1.33:1 aspect ratio) (The Devil's Sisters, The Godmothers)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Impulse) / English Dolby Digital 2.0 (The Devil's Sisters, The Godmothers)
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Yes (slip box)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: William Shatner, Ruth Roman, Jennifer Bishop, Kim Nicholas, James Dobson (Impulse) / Sharon Saxon, Fred Pinero, Velia Martinez, Anita Crystal, Ramiro G√≥mez Kemp (The Devil's Sisters) / Tony Adams, Socrates Ballis, Billy Barty, Courtney Brown, Pauly Clash (The Godmothers)
Written by Tony Crechales (Impulse) / John Nicholas (The Devil's Sisters) / Bob Hilliard, Woody King, Mickey Rooney (The Godmothers)
Directed by William Grefe (all films)
Rating: PG (intense sequences of murder) (Impulse) / Not Rated (The Devil's Sisters) / G (The Godmothers)


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Poster(s)

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What's It About?

A paranoid, leisure-suit-wearing conman/gigolo named Matt Stone seduces lonely women, bilks them of their savings via an investment scam, then kills them. When he begins seeing an attractive widow, her daughter Tina becomes suspicious of his motives. (Impulse)

Two demented siblings running a white slavery ring kidnap a dejected young woman (Sharon Saxon) who is seeking a new start in Tijuana. (The Devil's Sisters)

Two brothers pose as women to avoid marrying a mobster's ugly daughter. (The Godmothers)
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Video/Audio

IMPULSE has been given a brand new 4K restoration from Grindhouse Releasing and the results are more than pleasing. The film was shot on a very low budget so it doesn't have the sheen of bigger budgeted films but the film still looks great. Colors are nice with the brownness of the time really showing through here but skin tones tend to be a little pinkish. Blacks are dark and inky and film grain is retained. 

THE DEVIL'S SISTERS is about the middle of the road when it comes to the film's transfer. This is a standard definition transfer and I think the fact that the film was in black and white really helps it not look too bad. The film is a no budget affair and looks like it cost even less. Crappy sets and shitty lighting live up to their names and the acting is beyond terrible. The transfer doesn't help the film any with a flat, lifeless picture that would not have improved much had it been in HD. This is the type of transfer you would get in a 50-Movie Collection DVD set.

THE GODMOTHERS looks pretty terrible. This is a standard definition presentation so you have to take the picture quality with a grain of salt. Colors are off. The film has a brown overtone to it like it was bathed in shit. There is also very little in the way of detail. Whites are blown out at times and skin tones do not look all that natural. There is also all sorts of problems with the film source itself. There are all of these colors that come out of nowhere. Lines and other imperfections are littered throughout the entire film.
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Extras/Packaging

Disc 1

Audio Commentary with William Grefe
Interview with William Grefe
The Making of Impulse (14m 27s, HD, 1.85:1) William Grefe, Frank Henenlotter, and Doug Hobart are on hand to give us some stories about the making of Pulse.

Shatner Saves Sakata - Harold Sakata was almost killed during the scene where Shatner hangs him. The rig holding him up broke and he was really being hung. You can watch the footage with two different audio commentary tracks:

  • William Grefe (1m 31s, SD, 1.33:1) He just tells the story of what happened.
  • William Shatner (1m 45s, SD, 2.35:1) The track with Shatner talking to the crew recording him. The footage they use here is recorded off a tv. There is something charming about that.

48th Anniversary Screening: Tampa Theater - November 7th, 2015 (27m 10s, SD, 1.33:1) The film was shown at a theater in Tampa and William Grefe and two other guys who worked on the film. This is the Q&A that happens before the screening (I think). The guy who is hosting tells one of the worst jokes I have ever heard and NO ONE laughed. Not one person. You kind of feel bad for this dude.
Trailer A (1m 18s, HD, 1.85:1)
Trailer B (2m 52s, HD, 1.85:1)

On the main menu, there is a button titled "Bonus Features" that contains two bonus films directed by William Grefe along with special features for both films.

The Devil's Sisters

Devil's Sisters Resurrected Intro (2m 42s, HD, 1.78:1) Grefe talks about how the film is based on a true story. He actually shot in Florida despite the film being set in Mexico. He then talks about how he tried to buy a print back of the film but they had all been lost. He did end up finding one in Germany but it was missing the last eight minutes.
Audio Commentary by William Grefe
Devil's Sisters Revisited (9m 21s, HD, 1.78:1) William Grefe sits down for an interview where he talks about how he was brought in to make the film, where it was shot (not in Mexico), getting his actors and crew, how he shot the film, 
Bill Grefe and the Devil's Sisters (1m 20s, HD, 1.78:1) Grefe tells the story about how the film is based on a true story. This special feature isn't really needed as we hear all of these many times elsewhere on the disc.
Sisters of the Devil Radio Spot (13s, SD)
Devil's Sisters Still Gallery (1m 20s, HD) autoplays with music from the score.

The Godmothers

Intro by Bill Grefe (3m 55s, HD, 1.78:1) Grefe gives us a nice size introduction to this Mickey Rooney-starring family flick.

Disc 2

Interviews

  • Between the Treks: Shatner in the 1970s (26m 26s, HD, 1.85:1) C. Courtney Joyner gives us a rundown of Shatner's career in the 70s. Shatner didn't have the best career during the 70s and Joyner is able to put it into perspective for us. 
  • Kingdom of the Shatner: William  Shatner Live in Santa Monica Oct. 9, 2022 (1h 4m, HD, 1.78:1) This is done at an Aero Theater screening in 2022 where Impulse was shown (using this very transfer and restoration) with Shatner coming to the stage and telling us a ton of stories from the making of the film. Shatner is a really good storyteller and he knows how to capture his audience like very few can.
  • Doug Hobart - The Corpse Speaks! (33m 58s, HD, 1.78:1) Associate producer Doug Hobart and William Grefe sit down for a look back at Doug's career. This interview covers the films from Sting of Death to Impulse.
  • Bill Grefe is Furious (1h 17m, HD, 1.78:1) This is the main interview in this set with Grefe. The interview footage of him on disc 1 is taken from this interview session. This is a great interview with Grefe giving his take on his career.
  • Bill's Miami Stories (24m 45s, HD, 1.78:1) Grefe gives us a history tour of Miami with some great stories like what happened in Miami when Pearl Harbor happened, what it was like being a child during the Depression, how Miami was converted into a giant military base during WWII.
  • Bill's Sea Stories (43m 17s, HD, 1.78:1) More stories from Mr. Grefe including how he met his wife, the time he met a con man, his run-ins with big stars.
  • Bill Grefe 2011 Interview (12m 34s, HD, 1.78:1) William Grefe was interviewed in 2011 by producer Andy Lalino. In these rare clips, he discusses day-to-day life, meeting Orson Welles, the making of Stanley, film critics, and his wife Grace.
  • Live and Let Die New Report (2m 39s, SD, 1.33:1) A local newscast about William Grefe's work on the Roger Moore James Bond film, Live and Let Die. He was a second unit director on the film and shot all of the swamp stuff and alligators. 
  • Legend Award (9m 25s, HD, 1.78:1) A short interview with Grefe taken from an awards show(?) where Grefe goes over his entire career. It's a nice overview that can be watched by those who want to get into Grefe's filmography.

Film-Making Seminars

Bill Grefe's Seminar on Independent Film-Making

  • Session 1 (2h 5m, SD,1.78:1, 4x3)
  • Session 2 (1h 43m, SD, 1.78:1, 4x3)
  • Session 3 (1h 20m, 1.78:1, 4x3)

These three videos are exactly what they say they are. It's Grefe talking about filmmaking with some really great stories. 

Industrials

  • Bacardi: Shatner (19m 32s, SD, 1.33:1) I am not going to say much about this other than you should go and read the imdb.com plot summary.
  • Fame with William Shatner (12m 9s, SD, 1.33:1) First Artists Media Entertainment. That's what FAME stands for. It's an infomercial for a production company. Basically, they will make low budget films, and then sell them to different places like video stores and TV sales. 
  • Investing in Movies with Lauren Becall (23m 1s, SD, 1.33:1) It's another sales video like the previous video with Shatner only this time it's Lauren Becall and not William Shatner. 

Short Films

  • Thumbs (6m 9s, HD, 1.78:1) This film was shot in 2019, takes place in 2019, and contains the line "C'mon! The net is where it's at."
  • Iceman (4m 56s, HD, 1.78:1) A kidnapped woman tries to get out of being killed by offering to sleep with the killer. Then it just ends. I think the last shot was supposed to be shocking but it is so poorly done that it makes no sense. 
  • A Cask of Amontillado (9m 22s, SD, 1.78:1, 4x3) William Grefe traps filmmaker Steven Brack behind a brick wall for not wanting to watch Grefe's Stanley. They argue about film and shit on filmmakers. It's pretty funny if not very obvious. 
  • Underwood (21m 9s, HD, 2.35:1) This short features Grefe as an actor in the film and not a director.

Still Galleries

  • Production Stills (16 images)
  • Press (46 images)
  • Drive-In Delirium  Newspaper Ad Gallery (4m 43s, HD, 1.78:1) This one autoplays and has nice animated graphics to it.
  • Video Releases (11 images)
  • Bill Grefe (10 images)
  • Revival (24 images)
  • Cover Art by Dave Lebow (22 images)

Grindhouse Releasing Prevues


Now, anyone who has ever read my reviews here knows that I am not the biggest fan of commissioned artwork on home media. No matter how good the new artwork looks (some of these artworks especially from the likes of Kung Fu Bob and Darren Wheeling) I will always choose the film's original theatrical poster. I will always respect the companies that use the original art over a newly commissioned piece. 

I say this because I want you to know where I stand. This is because I actually like the new artwork on this release. I don't like it as much as the original artwork but it does capture the look and feel of the quite well. The fire really sells the piece for me. The beautiful slip box features the new artwork. The embossing done on the title and Shatner is very fine but nice. This artwork is featured on the double-sided artwork found in a Criterion-style, double disc blu-ray case with the film's original theatrical poster being featured on the other side. My copy arrived with the original art featured out of the box instead of having to flip the artwork. I like that.

An 8-page, full color booklet can be found inside the blu-ray case. The booklet features an essay by Jacques Boyreau, adverts for the film, and a chapter selection. 

Finally, a postcard with an image of William Shatner smoking a cigarette as his character in the film. This is beautifully drawn by Dave Lebow who also did the amazing slipcover artwork.

Both of the discs feature blu-ray artwork and are REGION FREE.
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Overall

Right before I put the blu-ray disc of IMPULSE, I prayed that it would be good. A film like this could be either hit or miss. Nothing in the middle. People were saying the film was good and William Shatner was scary. As the film played, my fears were put to rest. This is a really good film. The film moves at a quick pace and it keeps our attention. Shatner is very scary here with him killing multiple people. He will snap and kill the woman he is the in the same room with. He does have a line here and there that is flat but everything else he does is pitch perfect. IMPULSE is director William Grefe's masterpiece. 

THE DEVIL'S SISTERS is a film where a girl is kidnapped and then attacked and attacked and attacked and attacked. This girl is attacked and raped so much an attack scene will end and then fade into another one right before it starts. The film then ends with director William Grefe describing how he shot the last eight minutes of the film as they have been lost. As Grefe is talking we see storyboards from the shoot. It helps us visualize the shot ending while keeping it interesting. I can guarantee this version of those eight minutes is a hundred percent times better than the real ending. 

Whereas IMPULSE is William Grefe's masterpiece, THE GODMOTHERS is his disasterpiece. GODMOTHERS is TERRIBLE. You would think that a film with Mickey Rooney, you know, the star of Breakfast at Tiffiany's, would have had a better script. The fact that the film was co-written by Rooney tells us all we need to know: it ain't funny. I never laughed once during the entire film and actually winced at a few jokes because of how bad they were. This is one of the worst films I have ever seen. It is THAT bad.

This blu-ray, from Grindhouse Releasing, is one of the most stacked releases I have seen in a long while. Not only do we get the film, we get two other William Grefe films (THE DEVIL'S SISTERS and THE GODMOTHERS) along with special features for each film. We also get a four hour filmmaking seminar that William Grefe hosted. Short films, industrials, and a butt ton of interviews. Had I been able to buy this blu-ray in 2023, it would have made my Best Of list.
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Extras/Menus

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Film

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Packaging


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