This week we celebrate our genre friends down under with a salute to Ozploitation. Strange Behavior is currently available on instant Netflix.
PASS: Strange Behavior (1981) – Rated R
“Strange behavior, indeed! If you like gritty slasher movies with mounting body counts, this bud’s for you. A madman (or men?) is hunting human flesh and doesn’t discriminate between adults or children. (One kid has his hands slashed off while in the shower … should have washed behind his ears, I guess!) Michael Murphy and Louise Fletcher star in a movie directed by Michael “Billy Jack” Laughlin.”
Ugh. One of the things I hate about some teen horror films are when they have actors that are clearly past their mid-20s playing teens. This one is just awful in that regard – were any of them teens? The classroom scenes are just painful – was everyone kept back a decade?
The costume party scene is even worse. Apparently they wanted to feature the music playing so they have all the ‘teens’ jumping up and down while a particular song is playing. The laboratory looks like a warehouse. They appeared to use what few props were lying around. Two lonely rabbit cages on a trolley are what passes for scientific equipment.
Later people apparently leave their 11-year old alone in the house with a large note prominently displayed on the door. The note states that they’ve gone and the house is unlocked with little Timmy upstairs. This is after multiple murders have already occurred in this small town with no one knowing who the killer is.
The film is not all bad but it can’t really be recommended. The acting ranges from terrible to passable and Louise Fletcher is completely wasted. The premise is mildly interesting (even if much of the film makes no sense at all) and a good twist at the climax is well-handled. For a more modern movie with a somewhat similar premise, try Disturbing Behavior instead.
People Watch: Writer Bill Condon appears as Bryan Morgan. He later went on to write screenplays for Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Gods and Monsters.