Impulse (1984 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Graham Baker
Produced by Tim Zinnemann
Written by Don Carlos Dunaway
Nicholas Kazan
Starring Tim Matheson
Meg Tilly
Hume Cronyn
Bill Paxton
Music by Paul Chihara
Cinematography Thomas Del Ruth
Edited by David Holden
Distributed by ABC Motion Pictures
20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • September 28, 1984 (1984-09-28)
Running time 91 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,773,433

Impulse is a 1984 science fiction thriller film about the residents of a small rural town, that after a small earthquake ruptures the seal on a toxic waste burial site, start to exhibit strange and violent behavior. The toxic material has migrated into the towns local dairy milk supply. Stuart, played by Tim Matheson, and his wife Jennifer, played by Meg Tilly, come to the town to visit Stuart's hospitalized mother. The couple begin to notice increasingly odd behavior by several of the townspeople. Although Stuart drinks the local milk, Jennifer does not. As the day progresses, the townspeople and Stuart begin to exhibit signs of violent and extreme sexual behavior. As the town descends into chaos and her husband becomes violent, Jennifer flees in a pickup truck but gets stuck outside of town. At the same time, Stuart escapes to the woods where he discovers the recently repaired toxic waste vault which he follows to the milk facility. He then begins to walk back to town, but comes across Jennifer in the stuck pickup truck. He helps free the truck, then warns his wife that as the only uninfected person she needs to leave. However, he intends to return to town to help as best he can. At the same time, the film shows two men loading a biplane with barrels of liquid. After the plane takes off, Stuart walks up to the other man whose government vehicle is filled with radios which talk about spraying the town. Stuart deduces this man has some connection to the events in the town, but when he confronts the man, the man kills Stuart down with a shotgun. Jennifer, who had turned around to return to town, witnesses the man murder her husband. She then runs down the mysterious man with her pickup truck and kills him. The movie ends with views of the town litered with corpses and a news item that government agencies have no explanation for the mass death of the entire town. The last shot shows Jennifer walking as the sun sets. The film was directed by Graham Baker, and stars Tim Matheson, Meg Tilly, Bill Paxton, and Hume Cronyn.

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