24 April 2011 | wes-connors
In a small New Zealand (as Illinois) town, future acclaimed filmmaker Bill Condon (as Bryan Morgan) is stabbed in silhouette after his parents leave him home alone. Elsewhere, aging teenager Dan Shor (as Pete Brady) is having trouble persuading "top cop" father Michael Murphy (as John) to sponsor an application to Galesburg College. To raise money, Mr. Shor accompanies pal Marc McClure (as Oliver Myerhoff) to the college's psychology department, where the lads are paid $200 to volunteer for some supposedly harmless experiment. Administered by creepily sexy Fiona Lewis (as Gwen Parkinson), you can bet the experiment has something to do with the film's rising body count...
"Strange Behavior" features some of the usual genre missteps, but they're interjected with freshness. The characters are introduced uniquely. Shor shows his cheeks, and Mr. Murphy clips his toenails at the breakfast table. Louise Fletcher (as Barbara Moorehead) is okay, but in a much smaller role than heralded. Best of all is a sixties TV costume party kicked off by Lou Christie's hit single "Lightnin' Strikes" (1966) and ending in what can be described as "Uncle Fester" stabbing "Hoss Cartwright" to death. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack is sweet. Director Michael Laughlin, working with Mr. Condon, nicely mixes fright with fun, and they neatly construct an unexpected plot twist.
****** Strange Behavior (10/16/81) Michael Laughlin ~ Dan Shor, Michael Murphy, Fiona Lewis, Louise Fletcher