Raw Nerve opens with a serial killer haunting Mobile, Alabama, using a pump action shotgun to shoot women in the face while they’re wearing red high heels. Race car driver Jimmy Clayton (Ted Prior, brother of this film’s director) has been having visions of the murders so he goes to the police and offers to help them out. Unfortunately for Jimmy, neither Detective Ellis (Jan-Michael Vincent!) nor Captain Gavin (Glenn Ford!!) believe in psychic phenomena so they toss Jimmy’s ass in jail. While Ellis’s ex-wife, Gloria (Sandahl Bergman!!!), tries to prove that Jimmy’s innocent, Jimmy’s mechanic (Randall “Tex” Cobb!!!!), takes an unhealthy interest in Jimmy’s teenage sister, Gina (TRACI LORDS!!!!!).
As you can tell from reading the paragraph above, the main thing that this film has going for it is a cast full of recognizable B-actors. Though none of them are really at their best, Raw Nerve is still your only chance to see Glenn Ford, Jan-Michael Vincent, and Sandahl Bergman all sharing scenes together. Unfortunately, despite all of the famous names in the cast, Ted Prior got the most screen time and he really didn’t have the screen presence to pull off either the role or the film’s loony final twist.
The best thing about Raw Nerve is that it features both Randall “Tex” Cobb and Traci Lords. Lords was a legitimately good actress, even if her past as a pornographic actress made it impossible for her to get the type of roles that she really deserved. Lords doesn’t get to do much in Raw Nerve but she does her best to make Gina into a real character instead of just a generic victim. Meanwhile, Randall “Tex” Cobb is a marvel as a biker who is never seen without a beer in his hand. When Cobb eventually leaves the movie, you miss him.
Raw Nerve was one of the many low-budget thrillers that came out in the 90s. Like many of these films, Raw Nerve was directed by David A. Prior and released by Action International Pictures, which shared both an acronym and a sensibility with American International Pictures. Though films like Raw Nerve may not have been great art, they were entertaining if you came across one of them on Cinemax. Where else were you going to see Tex Cobb and Jan-Michael Vincent battle it out at two in the morning?