Raw Nerve (1991) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A race car driver has visions of the victims of a serial killer before their demise and tries to get a skeptic police detective and an ambitious reporter to help him find the killer.

  • Jimmy Clayton is a race car driver who has visions of the murders that have been happening locally. The police do not believe him and he is not aware of what is happening to him. When he has a vision of his sister Gina being murdered, he needs to make an investigation of his own. With the help of local reporter Gloria Freedman, Jimmy tries to determine who the murderer is and analyse his visions.

  • Nobody believes that Jimmy Clayton is innocent after he reveals intricate details about two unsolved murders--things only the killer could know. Although he claims he saw the killings in strange, disjointed visions, the police begin to stack a case against him...until Jimmy reveals that his own sister is the serial killer's next target. As the cops rush to protect her, the race is on to identify a killer who lies very, very close...and who is ready to strike even closer.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In Alabama, twin sisters Brenda and Marsha are murdered in an amusement park fun-house, the latter by a gunshot to the face. The next morning, race car driver Jimmy Clayton (Ted Prior) awakens to the news that his younger sister, Gina Clayton (Traci Lords), has been accepted to college. However, Jimmy scolds Gina for her revealing outfits and forbids her to wear red high heels to school.

    On his way to the racetrack, Jimmy picks up his uncle, Blake Garrett (Randall 'Tex' Cobb), who admonishes him for treating Gina like a child, and advises Jimmy to develop a social life. While driving around the track, Jimmy is struck by a severe headache, during which he envisions Marsha's death.

    At a nearby police station, reporter Gloria Freedman (Sandahl Bergman) questions her ex-husband, Lieutenant Bruce Ellis (Jan-Michael Vincent), about the latest in the series of murders, but he has little information, aside from the fact that most of the six victims were shot in the face. Bruce Ellis informs his superior, Captain Gavin (Glenn Ford), that one of Marsha's red high-heeled shoes was missing from the scene. Jimmy Clayton comes to the police station and tells the officers about his vision, but they dismiss him as a fraud. Gloria Freedman believes Jimmy's story is newsworthy, and she invites him to dinner, identifying herself as an investigator.

    That evening, Gloria and Jimmy make love, after which she falls asleep. At the same time, Blake Garrett rummages through the trunk of his car and finds Marsha's missing shoe. At a high-school dance, Gina and her friend, Lori Ann Cline, notice a shadowy figure in a window as they chat outside the gymnasium. As Jimmy Clayton wakes Gloria, he envisions Gina and her friend as the killer's next victims. They rush to the high school to discover that Lori Ann Cline has been shot in the face, but Gina is unharmed. Gloria returns home, where she is confronted by Blake Garrett, warning her to leave Jimmy alone, as he has enough pain in his life.

    Hours later, Bruce Ellis informs Capt. Gavin that a partial license plate number has been recovered from the murderer's pickup truck. The department psychologist profiles the killer, describing him as someone who is obsessed with certain objects, which he collects from his victims.

    In the morning, Jimmy discovers that he is the subject of Gloria's latest newspaper article and ends the romance, ignoring her apologies and declarations of love. Bruce Ellis advises Gloria to avoid Jimmy, saying he fits the killer's profile. The detective explains that Jimmy was sexually abused by his own mother, witnessed his parents' murder-suicide when his father found them in bed together, and possibly has a split personality. Gloria is certain of Jimmy's innocence and drives to his house to warn him, but Blake Garrett refuses to let her in.

    Gina directs Gloria to the cemetery, where Jimmy is visiting their parents' grave. Gloria warns Jimmy of the impending danger, but he is more concerned that Gina will learn that he is both her father and her brother. Police arrive moments later to arrest Jimmy, stating that his license plate matches that of the killer. However, Jimmy has a vision connecting Blake Garrett with Lori Ann's murder and runs home to protect his sister. Police follow Jimmy and arrest him, while Blake Garrett drives away with Gina.

    The pursuit continues to the airport, where Blake attempts to leave the country with his niece. Finding himself surrounded, Blake abandons Gina and returns to his pickup truck, leading police to a parking structure. Upon reaching the top level, Blake remains in the truck, drinking beer. He refuses Jimmy's request to surrender, saying he promised to protect his sister's children, then commits suicide by driving off the roof.

    Sometime later, Gloria arrives at the Clayton home for a date with Jimmy as Gina leaves for a evening out for herself. Jimmy is acting strangely towards Gloria and here he reveals that Blake was innocent, but killed himself to protect "Billy," Jimmy's alternate personality. Assuming the personality of "Billy," Jimmy explains that he had the courage to sleep with his mother when she seduced him in her red high heels, and to kill women who triggered memories of their trysts. As Jimmy attempts to strangle Gloria, Bruce Ellis bursts through the door and shoots Jimmy/Billy dead. Afterward, Bruce explains that he was acting on "a hunch." Bruce and Gloria then leave the scene.

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