Film Reviews:


(Paul Golding, US, 1988)

After power lines are struck by lightning, strange things begin to happen to the electricity supply to a city suburb. Police are called to investigate what appears to have been a mad outburst by an old man. His dead body is found and the inside of his house is smashed to pieces. A young boy arrives in the neighbourhood to stay with his divorced father and his new girlfriend. After hearing tales of the mad old man, it isn't long before the boy begins to see and hear unusual things from the electrical appliances in his father's house. Following a couple of 'freak accidents', the family realise they are to be the next victims of a bizarre pulse of electrical power that has entered their house.

Although Pulse received a theatrical release in 1988 in the US, this mild SF thriller only had its UK premiere on television in 1992. The story, written by director Paul Golding, is the film's weakest link. After the pre-credits shot of the lightning, there is no other attempt at explaining just how (or why) the phenomenon has occurred. But in spite of the slim premise the rest of the production is polished. Direction, acting, mood and effects are all very good. Even the domestic background of the main characters is beliveably fleshed out.

Veteran of countless sinister character role - Charles Tyner appears, billed only as 'the old man'. He is the first to discover the truth behind the odd events. The special effects are subtle but first class, with cameras zooming into the hearts of 'infected' electrical appliances. It would be interesting to see Golding (possibly a John Carpenter fan - look for the Starman footage) work on something with a better script, but sources suggest he hasn't made anything since.

Rob Dyer