Newest Reviews
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
We Need to Do Something
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
East, The
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
  Strange Behavior Side Effects
Year: 1981
Director: Michael Laughlin
Stars: Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Dan Shor, Fiona Lewis, Arthur Dignam, Dey Young, Marc McClure, Scott Brady, Charles Lane, Elizabeth Cheshire, Beryl Te Wiata, Jim Boelsen, Billy Al Bengston, Nicole Andersen, Bill Condon, B. Courtenay Leigh
Genre: Horror, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In a small town in Midwestern America there is something sinister going on, as one young student is about to find out. He is in his room at his studies, when his mother calls up to say she is going out, so he takes the opportunity to have a quick cigarette. Just as he takes a puff, he is plunged into darkness: there has been a power cut so he goes downstairs to light a candle, but as he becomes entranced by the shadow shapes he makes on the wall, he is abruptly interrupted by another figure, and he has a knife...

Perhaps the reason Strange Behavior feels so off-kilter is that it wasn't filmed in the United States at all, but in New Zealand, so while the actors speak mainly in American accents, not surprising with most of them hailing from that country, the atmosphere doesn't seem quite right. Of course, another reason it is so odd could well be that it is an update of the old mad scientist tale and plonked down in this small town, with allusions to the slasher movies which were in vogue in the horror genre at the time and brief interludes for such things as a dance number put to the sound of the Lou Christie oldie "Lightning Strikes".

Our main characters are a father and son, the mother having died in mysterious circumstances which will be explained later on, and they are a police chief, Brady (Michael Murphy) and his son, Peter (Dan Shor). Pete goes to the local college, where a few of the students are showing great improvements in their work, a state of affairs that seems to be down to their volunteering to be guinea pigs at the local research institute. Pete's friend Oliver (Marc McClure) has been undergoing these tests, and the As he is receiving on his papers prove that there is some benefit to the experiments.

Of course there isn't! Well, OK, the tests do make you brainy, but there are serious side effects and if you cannot work out what they are you haven't been paying attention. Could they be perhaps something to do with the spate of killings that have occured recently? Certainly the mutilated bodies seem to have been the product of deranged minds, and the setpiece murder sequences are curiously handled in an almost matter-of-fact fashion by director Michael Laughlin, who would go on to direct an even more popular cult favourite in Strange Invaders.

Writer Bill Condon pulls off a tricky act of making it clear-ish what is going on by the end, but leaving you confused as to the reasons why. Some kind of mind control appears to be the aim, but along the way there are such weird scenes as a college lecture given by a dead professor (Arthur Dignam) courtesy of a film reel in which the man on the screen controls the actions of a chicken with wiring on its head in the lecture hall. Yet rather than closing down the interest of the audience, all this uneasy peculiarity becomes intriguing, so even if you're not entirely satisfied by the fuzzy explanations, you do have the sense of fulfilment that a decent horror movie should provide. Also worthy of note are the doctor at the institute (the great Fiona Lewis) who administers injections of who-knows-what into the eyeball, and Dey Young as Pete's perky girlfriend, who may be cute but smokes too much. Music by Tangerine Dream.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3642 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: