Pulse (1988) - full transcript

An intelligent pulse of electricity is moving from house to house. It terrorizes the occupants by taking control of the appliances, either killing them or causing them to wreck the house in an effort to destroy it. Then it travels along the power lines to the next house, and the terror restarts. Having thus wrecked one household in a quiet neighbourhood, the pulse finds itself in the home of a boy's divorced father whom he is visiting. It gradually takes control of everything, badly injures the stepmother, and traps father and son, who must fight their way out.

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What is it?

You'd better call the police.

Yeah, come on.
You better... I'll go down.

- Be careful.
- Yeah.

What? Um, oh, uh,
uh, 1947 Kenwood.



- Bill?
- No.

It's okay.

All right, folks, let's back
it up. Let's back it up.

Be careful there.
Stay back. Get back.

What did you see?


Please clear the area.

This is the police.

Move away from the lawn.

In here!

All right, you people, stay back.

You'll note that Captain Hurley

has turned on
the No Smoking sign

in preparation for our landing

at Los Angeles
International Airport.

We ask that cigarettes
be extinguished at this time.

Please check to see that
your seat belt is securely fastened

and that your tray table
and seat back

are in the upright
and locked position.

You're really gonna
like the new place, son.

It's a lot bigger than
that condo in Venice.

And you won't be
sleeping on the living room sofa.

...the latest in a
rash of Southland freeway assaults

where now a total of more than
40 or more have been killed

and several injured.

What are you doing?

Um... the smoke.

Oh, uh, don't.

Um, that window's
off its track.

It'll go down,
but you can't get it back up again.

Is that better?

Your mother quit smoking, huh?

Yeah, she says people smoke

because, well, they don't
like themselves.


Well, your mother's become quite
the psychologist, I guess, huh?

You know, David...
it's a good thing

your school didn't
let out last week.

We had a lot of
excitement here.

We had three police cars,

an ambulance, a fire engine

and a TV cameraman
from one of the stations.

What happened?

Wait a minute. We're almost home.
I'll show you.




What happened?
A fire?

No. Hank Jordan,
the guy who lived there,

just went crazy
or something.

I imagine they'll...
fix it up and sell it.

I just hope
they do it soon.

It looks so terrible
the way it is.

You think your mom
packed enough stuff for you?


Is something the matter?

Where you and Dad lived before

didn't have all these...
bars on the windows.


Well, your dad put them up
right after we moved in.

It makes everything
a lot safer.

Oh, and look.

We didn't want to... cover up
the picture window with them,

so we did this.

Our bedroom's down the hallway,

right over there.

We have our own bathroom,
so this one will be all yours.

And this...

as if you couldn't guess...

is your room.

So, what do you think?

Don't you like it?

It has a lot of mushrooms in it.

Would you like some soup?



Thank you.

You'll have to tell me
what other food you... can't stand.

Okay. Ahem.

What's up?

What do you mean?

Well, I mean...

you've been so down
ever since you got here.

What's wrong?

You really should have
come to Colorado.

What, for the summer?

Yeah, and then
we could see each other.

And it would be
a whole lot better.

I mean... I could show you
all these neat places.

Like, um...
there's this one place,

you know,
called the Roaring Fork

where you get in your inner
tubes, ride down the river

and you carry
a fishing pole and...

I've got some pictures
to show you.

Sounds pretty nice, kiddo.

Yeah, and then you could
stay with us at our house.


You know that's not possible.

I know.

But... then you could stay
someplace else,

like someplace close.

And, well, she could come too.

And then I could stay with
you guys there.

Yeah. But I can't
do that, see?

I have a job.
I have to stay here.


You know, Mom doesn't
have any of that stuff.

What, the microwave,
you mean?

See, we used to live
in an apartment in Denver.

And it had all that stuff.
But... I don't know.

We had a microwave
and everything.

But Mom just never used it.
She was scared of it.

She says it can
make you sterile.

Oh, that's silly.

Well, I mean,
it's not true.

Well, it might have been true
a long time ago,

but it's just
not true anymore.

Hi there.


Mmm! Hey, what
are you making?


Oh, yeah?

Yeah. We're making
lemon meringue pie.

All right! Fantastic!
My favourite.

Oh. What's this?

Oh, uh, we rented a movie,

and then David found out
there's a Dodgers game tonight.

Yeah? You're still a Dodgers fan.

See, I bet there's
no ball team in Leadville Falls, right?


Anyway, we'll
eat dinner a little early,

and you guys
can watch it.

and, if there's still some time
left, you can look at the tape.

Oh, tonight.

What about tonight?

Dan is having some people in
from New York.

Madison Avenue types,
you know?

So I told him... we'd be there.

Why didn't you call?

It's not for dinner.
It's for after.

What about...?

Oh. No. You're
invited too, son.

You should come, really.

Everybody would love
to meet you.

Do I have to?

You'd probably... rather
watch the ballgame.


Joe Malfatano

walking over,
talking to Getty.

Virgil back
behind the plate.

Garber stretches.

And the 0-1 pitch
to Mike Marshall.

Base hit, left field.

Marshall going for two.

The throw to Oberkfell.
He's in there.


All right! Yeah.

Here's Chuck Tanner again.

And he's marched
into his bullpen.

He's gonna bring in
his sixth pitcher of the night.

And guess who it's gonna be.

Nike makes shoes for kids.

Running shoes.


The pitch to Whitfield. Inside. Good stop.

On the low
inside pitch...


Hi, Dad.


How are you?

Mm-hm. I'm fine.

It's the bottom of the
ninth, and the score is tied.

The guy on second...

...Breaking ball...

to the shortstop...

Two and two.

One out, one on.
Tenth inning.

The Dodgers in the bottom
of the ninth.

Double by Landreaux,
groundout by Brock

and a double by Marshall
who ripped one past...

Once again,
the stretch and the pitch.

Ground ball outside...

And the Dodgers miss a good chance

in the bottom
of the 10th inning.

And there are two groundouts
to close it out.

No runs, one hit
and two left on.

So the Dodgers, a tough loss
to the Atlanta Braves here...

Keep it down.


How many times do I have
to tell you? Keep it down.


Quiet. Keep it quiet.

We could get one of those, for sure.

Let's take a look at that right now.

All right.

Thank you, Marge. Good luck.

And remember, that's two free...

Thank you.

Never at that price again.


And so...

many things for you.

Just think of all the things
it will do...

Hi. You're on the air
with Bobbie.

This is Marian...

Hi, Marian.

From Phoenix, Arizona.

Now, what can we do today, Marian?

I'm interested in the
zirconia necklace for $99.99.

Now, are you just
getting one today, Marian?

Well, uh...

Gosh, I hadn't
thought about getting...

It makes a great present.

Is there a deal?

Of course there's a deal.
There's always a deal.

Well, how much would two be?

Two would be 99 times two.

Deduct $46.

Oh, well, um...

My husband's gonna kill me.

But all right... I'll have two.

All right.

And you can just tell him

that one of those

is for your mother-in-law...

Here we have to call them by feature.

And all for $149.99.


Oh, it certainly is.

It's on its way.



Hey, kiddo. Kiddo.

What's going on?

The... The...
The fire!


In there!

What do you mean?
What are you doing with the dryer?

It... It just came on.
I was just looking at it.

Well, you shouldn't
play with things like that, David.

You could get hurt.

Dad, I wasn't playing with it.

It just came on
and it was making a noise.

I was in...


By the television.

What about the television?

Well, come here and look,
and I'll show you. Come on.

It was really strange.

I mean... there was, like,
no picture at all...

There are times when you...

Listen, David, didn't we
decide on a bedtime for you tonight?

I mean, it was
right after the ballgame.

Dad, I was in bed.

That's weird.

What is?

Uh, it won't turn off.

A Winston money-back guarantee.

Next time you need to stop on a dime,

make sure you have
my Winston brakes.

It's your main power switch.

It shorted right out.

What caused it to short out?

Well, okay.

Take, uh...
Take your voltage

coming in the main, uh,
power station in Canoga Park.

Now... the electric company
will tell you

that it's running
smooth and steady.

That's a lie.

I mean, you put that thing
under a magnifying scope,

that smooth, steady line starts
looking like King Kong's EKG.

90-volt drop-offs,
130-volt spikes.

Pulses, they're called.

So, uh, what
are you saying?

Are you saying
that I should call the electric company?

Well, no.

See, uh, in order to
melt the switch like this...

in my opinion, take a couple
thousand volts at least.

And if the electric company
ever burped that loud,

it'd blow every damn circuit
breaker in your house...

Like that.

Then I don't understand.

Hey, join the club.

You know, there's a lot
of things I don't understand.

Take lightning.

You know,
my... grandpa's house was...

Look, there wasn't
any lightning last night, was there?

You want me to admit it?

Okay, I admit it.

I don't have a goddamn clue
what happened to your TV set.

Did you get a look at the back of
that thing when I had it off?

I mean, you got
enough chips in there

to send a spaceship to Saturn.

You know what I do?

I read the book.

I do what it says.

Hey, dude, check it out.

Wow, what a skater.

What a nerd.




Hey, watch out!


How sad. Oh, please. Oh, my...

Man, that was bad.

What's your name?

My name's Stevie.

You just moved in, huh?

Yeah, just for a while.

How come just for a while?

Because I don't live here.
I'm just visiting.

Well, then,
where do you live?

In Colorado, with my mother.

Well, then, where does
your dad live?

Here. That's who I'm visiting.

You're not very smart,
you know.

We can play there now,
you know.

Inside his house?


I wouldn't go in there
for anything.

And anyway,
my mom won't let me.

We can play
in his yard now.


We couldn't used to.
He was mean.

He used to yell
all kind of crazy things at us.

Like what?

See how that grass
is dead and everything?

He used to say we did that.

He used to say we'd sneak around
at night and put poison on it.

That's pretty crazy,
all right.

My mom said he was crazy because
of what happened to his wife.


Man... that was bad.

One day we were all around
after school,

and we started to hear
all this yelling and screaming.

The police came
and an ambulance.

And nobody knew
what happened.

Some of the kids said

he must have murdered her.

Did he?

What's your name?


So, what happened?

She was washing the dishes.

And she turned on
the garbage disposal.

And there was
something stuck in it,

with this metal thing.

It wasn't even
a knife or a fork.

Some kind of metal thing.

And when she turned it on,

it shot that metal thing
right up into her face.

Shot it up just like a gun.

Isn't that bad?

It shot it up
right through her eyeball.

Flight 5009.

- Five-oh-nine?
- Yes, that's right.

Mom, listen, I know that.

I know, but...

Please, Mom.
Just listen, okay?

Mom, will you please
just listen?


Would you just listen?

I know.
I know that, Mom, but...

I want to come home.


Why can't I just
come home now?

it scares me here.

I don't know why.
It just does.

No, it's not Ellen.
She's okay.

Yeah, she took me riding.

Yeah, the other day.

No. How can I?

I don't even see him,
you know?

He works all day.

And then when he
gets home, he's tired.

and all he wants to do
is watch television or something.

Yeah. I know, but...


What is it?

Ellen, look at that.

Look at what?

Well, right there
by the house.

The grass.
Is it getting enough water?

I watered it

Yeah, well...

maybe it's
getting too much.

Well, um... I'll check
the sprinklers.

Maybe they're not reaching there.


Yeah, look,
and don't forget about the tickets, okay?

Just, uh, call him
as soon as he's open,

and then let me know.

Oh, and tell him that I can come
and pick 'em up on my lunch hour.

Don't worry.

- See you at 6.
- Okay.

- Bye-bye.
- Bye.

Yes. Oh, great.

Uh, no, my husband
will pick them up at 1:00.

Is that all right?

Well, I'm going to have
to replace the whole lawn.

You see, it's all...
scorched completely.

- That'll have to all come up.
- Okay.

And then there's the shrubbery.

Hey, David.

You're getting wet.

Come on. I'll make you
some breakfast.

- Okay?
- Good.

See you.

We can leave
as soon as your dad gets back from work.

We can have hot dogs
at the ballpark.

Does that sound okay?


Well, you don't sound
very enthusiastic.

What happened to his grass?


Well, you know,
the man across the street.

He said the kids were putting
poison on it, didn't he?


he said a lot of things
after his wife died.

Paranoid, you know?

I guess he just stopped
taking care of things

and began to blame
everyone else.

So it started to die
after his wife got killed?


Well, no, actually,
it was before,

but... it got a lot worse

Why this sudden interest
in poor Mr. Jordan's grass?

I don't know.

What's the matter?

You look like
you've seen a ghost.

Stevie, come on.

No, I don't want to.

Stevie, come on.
Don't be such a wimp.

No. My mother told me
not to. It's dangerous.

Come on, Stevie.
She's not gonna even know.

No, I don't want to.

Stevie, if you don't
come on right now,

I'm not gonna play
with you ever again.

Come on.


Stevie, get back here
right now!


No way!


Oh, man.


What are you doing here?

Spooky... ain't it?


Did it talk to you?

The voice in the wires.



Yeah. Fried him like an onion.

Why do you figure
he did it?

Smashed the place up,
I mean.

I... I...
I don't know.

Ellen just said he went,
like, crazy one night.

Crazy, hmm?

That's exactly what those
son of a bitches would say.

They probably had
that poor bastard

thinking he was
going crazy.

I know all about it.

I must have seen 20 houses...
just like this one.

And after the first few...

I started having me

a real close look.

And I know
what I know, boy.

But I'm not telling it.

Not anymore.

No, sir.

Let them call these other poor
devils crazy if they want to,

but not me.

All right! Sports fans, let's go.

Great seats, love.

Look at this.
First base line.

Uh, I think maybe
you should sit down.

We seem to have a problem.

Well, it's a long drive,
you know?

We don't want to be late.


What is it?

David went over to
the Jordan house this afternoon.

Oh. Ah.

That wasn't very smart, David.
I mean, it's dangerous there.

You could get hurt.

I know. I know.
But listen, please.

He seems to think that what
happened at the Jordan house

is gonna happen here.

It comes in
through the wires.

I... I...
I saw it.

And... And that night that
you were gone, I felt it.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
Come on, now. Just slow down.

You felt what?

The voice in the wires.

He's met some crazy old man
in the Jordan house, and...

He's not crazy.
And Mr. Jordan wasn't crazy.

And the thing that killed him
is in here now.

And I just don't want
to stay here anymore.

And I just want

to get out of
this house right now!

Look, look. Look...

Bill, Why don't we...?

Why don't you go upstairs
for a little while

and let me and Ellen
talk about this, okay?


Look! Please.

Just for a little while, okay?

I'm sorry.

Hey. Hey, come on.

Hey. What do you think
you're doing?


Hey. Come on.

- What? What?
- No, Dad.

Dad, I don't want to stay
in the house.

- Dad. No, Dad, please!
- Okay.

- No! Dad!
- Come on.

Don't make me
go in there!

No, Dad, I don't want
to go in there!

No! No, Dad!

No! Dad, no!

No, I don't want to go.

No, Dad,
you're hurting me. Stop it.

Dad, you're hurting me!

I don't want to go
back in the house! No!

Did you...?
Did you talk to him?

The old guy.

Well, after David calmed down,
I went over to talk to him,

but he wasn't there.

His truck was gone.

I don't know.

Do you think...

something could be wrong
with the electricity?

It's just that David
seems so scared.

Yeah. Well, I mean,
of course he's scared.

It was...

It was that night
we left him alone, see.

That was
the beginning of it.

And today... jeez.

I mean, he goes
into that house,

and some crazy bastard
jumps down at him out of the ceiling.

I mean, jeez... I mean, that
would have scared me to death.

Weren't you supposed to
take this back?

Oh, I did.

Um, they called this morning.

There was something wrong
with the tape.

It must have happened
when the TV set broke.

I had to buy it.
It cost 60 bucks.

It's just that
if he leaves in this state...

he's never gonna want to
come back here again.

And how can I be his father
if I never see him?

I mean, you understand?

I love him. I'm...

He's gonna be okay.

Let's get some sleep.

We'll work it out.


I hope it was a lousy game.


I'm sorry I have to
go to this meeting.

You sure you don't
want to come over with me to the campus?

You could walk around.

You gonna be
all right?


Are you sure?


- Ahh, Vincent, get him...
- Steven!

I said come in here.
Your lunch is ready.

Okay! I'm coming!



What are you doing?

Cobras are attacking
the Terror Dome.

Wanna play? Come on,
you can be the Cobras.

No, not really.

Okay, you can be
the GI Joes.


How do you get to
the airport?

Why do you want to
go to the airport?

Is there a bus
or something?

No, I don't think so.

It's a long way away.

Are you going back
to Colorado?

I have the ticket,

I just gotta get
the time changed.

Steven, get in here
right now.


Maybe my mom
will drive you.

Do you want me to ask her?

No, it's okay.
Thanks, Steve.

Steven, right now!


So, what are
you gonna do?

All right. Still keeps Will alive.

Oh, there's the sound.
That means we're out of time.

We'll automatically now start
revealing one letter at a time.

This is crucial.

The first person to buzz in
with the correct answer

wins the money
in the puzzle bank,

and in this case,
will win the game.

So be very careful.

Hands on your buzzers.

You may buzz in as soon
as the next letter is revealed

but not before,
or you'll be disqualified.

Ready? Go.

"H." Will?

"They lived happily ever after."

And you will, yes.

"They lived happily ever after."


Oh, my God.

He was a lot more scared than hurt.

The bruises from the collision
and mild shock

is what the doctor said.

The gas didn't
really hurt him.

But if he'd been there
any longer...

Oh, Jesus!

Mr. Rockland?

Can I show you something?

Yeah. Sure.

I slugged your line
with a new piece of pipe,

so now I'm gonna
turn the main back on,

relight all your pilots.

Right here's your problem.

Split wide open.

Actually, you're pretty lucky.


Oh, yeah.

Volume of gas you had in here,

and the ignition of that
station wagon turned on,

this whole place
could have blown sky-high.

Good grief.

Look, I mean...

what could have
caused this pipe to split like this?

Metal fatigue.

You see that window
right there.

Afternoon sun comes
blazing through there,

right on that spot.

Pipe heats up.

Sun moves on,
it cools back down.

Expansion, contraction.

Just wears the metal out,

till one day...

Anyway, that new pipe

ought to last you
another 10, 20 years.

You might think about
getting some Sheetrock

on this wall, though,
help insulate it.

Yeah, I will.

Okay, well,
I'll get that main right on.

Thank you very much.

And then everything will be
just fine again, won't it?


Oh, something happens,
and it almost kills someone.

And... you people come here

and you talk about pulses
and metal fatigue,

and you pull out
some pipe or switch,

and you say, "Here you are. Just
slap in a new one of these."

And you don't know
what's happening.

I mean, you don't know what's
really happening here, do you?

- Hey, hey.
- Do you?

Ellen, come on.
Come on.

Calm down.
Calm down now.

- Bill, what is it?
- Please.

Why is it doing this to us?
What does it want?

What "it"?

Uh... last night
I couldn't sleep.

I just... lay in bed,

You know, all
the little sounds there are at night.

The furnace turning on and
off, the refrigerator and...

I heard something else.

Something... growing
inside the house.

Getting stronger.

The voice in the wires?

And what do you call
all this? An accident?

Yeah! Yeah!

Yes, that's exactly what
I call it. An accident.

I mean, what do you
want me to call it?

You want me to believe
that there's some thing in the house

that is trying
to kill my son?

Come on.
I mean, that's crazy.


That's what we called him.

Poor Mr. Jordan.
We said he was crazy.

Was he?

Okay, okay.
Listen to me now.

Listen. What happened
today was this.

Right here.
Look at it. You see?

This is what happened.

It's not a monster.
It's not a plot.

It's not a plan.
It's not a conspiracy.

It just is what it is.

It's a stupid
hunk of metal.

And how many more things
like this are there?

How many more things that
we don't even know about

till someday one of them breaks
and almost kills one of us?

Goddamn it!

Stop it! Stop it!

I mean, what is this about?!

Do you wanna leave too?
Is that it?

I mean, I don't know
what's happening.

Do you wanna leave too?

Oh, God!

Bill... you're gonna be
late for your meeting.

I could have done that.

Yeah... okay.

So if anything
should happen... anything...

just call me,
and I'll come right home.


I promise.

Yes, sir.

I'll be over at the place
on Thornton.

There's no phone there.

So if you run into a hitch,
just work around it.

Don't leave. Um...

I want you to tell me
about the houses.

Tell you what, lady?

You know what.

You told... my son.

I want you to tell me.

Lady, I didn't tell
nobody around here nothing.

and I'll be glad
to tell you the same thing.



Turn off the faucets...

and I'll tell you
what to do.

To do?

Yes... do.

Or would you rather
hide in your hole

and hope for the best?

Pull the plug, lady.

Pull all the plugs.

Disconnect yourself.


And not just up there
at the top of the pole.

That don't mean nothing.

It don't just
crawl in on your wires.

It ain't a thing.

It's a signal.

A pulse.

Kind of like...
a voice.

So, what you've got to do

is to get rid of anything
in your house

that might have ears
to hear it.

Me... I'm back to wood fires
and kerosene lamps.

My wife would like to kill me.

But she thought I was nuts when
I built the fallout shelter.

But you wait and see.

I was right about that one too.

I heard a man on TV one time
say that... paranoia

is just another word
for heightened awareness.

But you do what
you want to, lady.

What the hell do I know?

I'm... crazy.


The hardware store in the mall
has got a special on kerosene.

It smells some,

but it sure does make
a pretty light.


Ellen? You up there?


Hi. Wow! Oh, yeah.




I, uh...

I talked to your mother.

She's coming on Sunday.

To take me back?

Well, see, I was hoping
that we could just sit down

and maybe
talk things over and...

Damn! Hot!

Oh! Oh!


Honey! Honey!

Honey! I can't get it open!

I gotta get something
to break it.


Okay, okay. I'm coming.
I'm coming.


How is she?

She's in
the burn unit.

They say she could be okay,
but I don't know.

Video CD player could be yours

for only $189.


Hey, all right.


Bill, if you need anything,
Ruby and I will be upstairs.

We'll get some fresh linen
and things for the guest room.

Okay. Thanks.

Ellen's okay.

I mean, I know... it looked
pretty bad and everything,

but, uh...

they said... that
she would just have to

stay there
in the hospital for a while.

And without Ellen here...

Your mom is coming here
tomorrow morning.

And... we're gonna
pack you up and...

And you can go with her.


Look, so Howard...

Howard just said just now

that you could stay here
tonight if you wanted to.

And it would be okay with me.

I mean, if it would
make you feel better.

Can you stay here too?


If you want me to.








Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

Come on.











Help! Help!






Help! Help! Help!


Help! Help!
Help! Help!


- Put this blanket...
- Okay.


Go on! Oh!

- Where are the keys?
- No!

This way!

No, Dad!


- Okay?
- Okay...

Hurry, Dad. Hurry!

Stand back.


Bill, stop it!

For God's sake!

What are you doing?

Where's the cops?

What the hell are you doing?

Drop it. Drop the axe!


Drop it!

I said, drop it!


That was your house that you
just wrecked, wasn't it?

Yes, it was. Yes.

You must both be crazy.

Yes, we are.
We're - both of us.

We are,
aren't we?

We're crazy.


Oh, God, are we crazy.