Some slasher movie villains just care a little more than others. Where as your typical Jason types just want to dispatch their victims as quickly as possible with whatever’s at hand, the killer in Fatal Pulse respects the audience enough to tear off a girl’s shirt beforehand, sticking her breasts into the camera before offing her in some elaborately stupid way.
Take an innocent young sorority girl, attending college to better herself, as opposed to using it as an opportunity to lapse into a beer bong coma on her parent’s dime. Her sorority sister is murdered, with others soon to follow, and this drives this sweet girl into a deep, neurotic depression. A dynamic young dreamer is resigned to weeping while stroking her cat, and occasionally engaging in some amateur Flashdance-trocity. She decides to go out jogging to feel better, kissing her pussy with one final goodbye before quickly being accosted on a dark, lonely sidewalk.
Most killers would quickly slit her throat and get on with their daily routine, at least sparing her the indignities of further suffering. Not this guy. Like a snuff torture MacGyver, he rigs up some electrocution bondage contraption out of a metal bed frame, egg timer, and some chicken wire. Poor Cassie is strapped in and zapped until her gums bleed, and eventually, her precious little heart caves in under all that voltage. While she's being electrocuted, he cuts open her shirt with a pair of rusty scissors, a stream of tears glistening off her supple mammaries. By 1988, the slasher was in its death throes, and this was the sort of innovation that was needed to lure the few cough syrup junkies that were still awaiting some more hack n’ slash cinema (via VHS technology). After all, America is built on innovation.
Only one other killing doesn’t fit this formulaic combination of mammary goodness and brutal homicide, in which the rock aerobic girl is tricked by the killer into showing up for a band audition. She plans on becoming a superstar, but instead has her throat slit by a record (a vinyl record, not some Guinness book shit). This is a rather alarming revelation. I’ll make sure to be careful from now on when pulling out my Falco’s Greatest Hits LP.
The “drama” of the story centers on Jeff, our comatose lead and unfairly pegged suspect. He’s dating sorority blonde Carol, but they’re having relationship issues, what with her being super hot and him being a lifeless putz. Not to mention, loose cannon Brad, he of the leather jacket and Flock of Seagulls mullet, is trying to break them up and pin the murders on Jeff. If that isn’t enough turmoil, all of Carol’s sorority sisters are being murdered, and this is contributing to her stress level (not to where she’d move out though). However, things start to become rectified via one of those bike riding love montages, featuring the smash hit “Give Love a Brand New Start”. Jeff seals the deal with a kiss (actually he fucks her), leaving a poem and an origami dove behind the next morning (it’s one of those sensitivity deals).
Thankfully, Jeff has a friendly shoulder to lean on in the form of his wacky stoner buddy, who is accompanied by cartoon noises and carries a bong at all times. Not only that, his uniform seems to consist of the wackiest shit he could find at the Salvation Army. He combines a Thor hat with a blue bandana, and also wears a Superman snow cap with bermuda shorts, and not to mention those wacky window shade glasses that people only wore in the 80’s (I don’t think they actually blocked out the sun, so they probably just gave you the illusion that the entire world is a window you’re peeping into). This is later replaced by a red bandana, backwards hat, and a T-shirt that proclaims “what it is”, which I guess is some kind of stoner retard koan. Still later, he morphs into some dime store superhero named “Captain Marvelous”, not so much to stop the killer and save the day, but to further sodomize the viewer’s brain into cheez whiz. This descension into noodle disarray is no doubt anchored by the synth-funk holocaust score.
So, is Vietnam vet Joe Estevez the killer? Or, just a red herring caretaker that likes to peep into sorority windows while twitching profusely? Jeff thinks the former, and even uses Carol as sexy time bait to try and trick Estevez into stabbing her, thereby proving his guilt. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the killer turns out to be a character that has nothing to do with anything, namely the college professor that would occasionally pop in and play chess for no reason. After a rather lackluster final girl showdown between Carol and the prof, Estevez pops in and becomes the hero, reestablishing his status as an all-time top three Estevez (Charlie and Martin Sheen don’t count, of course). I think the lesson here is that using little gook boys as target practice may be a tad shady when viewed through the prism of foreign policy, but its gravest consequences are the side effects it incurs. Former gook pluggers end up suffering through bouts of sweaty mumbling and suspicious twitching, only to find psychological cleansing through an act of goodwill (or, in some cases, they just shoot up a department store).