Fatal Pulse (1987) poster

Fatal Pulse (1987)


USA. 1987.


Director/Producer – Anthony J. Christopher, Screenplay – James Hundhausen, Photography – David Lewis, Music – Martin Mayo.


Ken Roberts (Jeff Kramer), Michelle McCormick (Lisa Lawson), Steven Henry (Brad), Blair Karsch (Mark), Alex Courtney (Professor Caldwell), Joe Phelan (Ernie), Cindra Hodgdon (Cassie), Sky Nicholas (Sheila), Maureen O’Hanlon (Carol Schneider), Christie Mucciante (Karen), Roxane Kernohan (Ann)


A maniac is slaughtering women in a sorority house. Chemistry student Jeff Kramer becomes a suspect when a girl he turns down becomes the next victim. Attempting to clear his name, he sets out to find the real killer.

The spirit of Friday the 13th (1980) appears to still be alive and well with Fatal Pulse, which was made at a time when fad for the slasher film, which peaked around 1980-3, had fairly much burned itself out. It is a title that one would think might belong more to a low-budget science-fiction film than to a slasher effort (although there is a moderately science-fictional explanation of everything that sort of turns the film into a slasher variation on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde).

Fatal Pulse is badly made on all counts. It seems almost to have been made as an object lesson to demonstrate the truth of the feminist objections to the slasher cycle. It is entirely centred around having a young nubile girl killed every few minutes. Most of them are killed while topless and all except the heroine contrive to bare their breasts at least once during the film. The gratuitous and unredeeming nastiness of some of the killings – like the scene where Cindra Hodgdon is tied up in a bath and electrocuted – starts to become repellent.

The film works on slasher movie logic – despite the methodical slaughter of apparently every girl in a sorority house, not one of them ever decides to move out or act in a self-protective way, nor even do the police deem it worthy to place a guard on the building. The hero is extremely wooden and few of the bimbos any better. There is an awful and intrusive music score.

Director Anthony J. Christopher has only made three other films with the non-genre erotic thrillers The Platinum Triangle (1990) and On the Edge (1994), as well as the psycho film Day of Redemption (2004).

Trailer here

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