Strange Behavior (1981) - Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Hohum Score



A scientist is experimenting with teenagers and turning them into murderers.

IMDB: 5.7
Director: Michael Laughlin
Stars: Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher
Length: 87 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 8 out of 37 found boring (21.62%)

One-line Reviews (37)

Though it starts out a bit shaky with one of the least thrilling death scenes ever, Strange Behavior quickly becomes one of the most entertaining and enjoyable slashers I've ever seen.

A gripping, effective and stylish chiller.

Those shots of the car moving along the town's main drag are utterly cool and absorbing.

A fascinating offbeat horror movie.

Mainly it comes off because the sterling performances are very convincing in setting up their characters, the story's progression is unforeseeable with a unique premise (that could be lifted right out of those early horror 30's and 40's features of mad scientists) and Michael Laughlin's pastel direction has a freshly polish tinge about it that comes off very well in some superbly choreographed scenes that are stylishly unusual (loved the inspired party scene with Lou Christie's "Lighting Strikes"), unnervingly creepy (the scarecrow scene) or just plain suspenseful.

Overall quite a confusing entry .

That night, another of the town's teenagers and a cranky cleaner are murdered in a fairly taught sequence that mimics Halloween's use of building fear from staging creepy occurrences in the background of the screen's focal point (a door opening slowly behind the unsuspecting soon-to-be victim etc.) Due to previous experience, John decides that he knows what is behind this sudden spate of murderous mania, and heads off to investigate, which results in a fairly shocking showdown and an unexpected twist in the story.

All in all, "Strange Behavior" is a solid quasi-slasher/quasi-sci-fi flick that boasts good gore effects, a largely capable cast, and a compelling story that recalls the mad scientist flicks of the '50s as much as it does "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th.

A few Inspired moments of Horror, but Dull & Unbalanced .

you will find it enjoyable.

Although, I'll remember it more for a stunning I Dream Of Jeannie costume in the fancy dress party scene, than for the actual content.

There's something quite compelling about it all, even though the fractured story could have been far more fulfilling in its matter.

Forget Roth, go for the real thing like this, which is both more entertaining AND scarier.

The direction by Michael Laughlin is flat and there are some dull and lifeless moments.

Unfortunately there are plenty of dull moments spread throughout and both the action and actors seem bored.

Quirky, oddly gripping low budget horror .

It feels like you're having a bad dream: a nightmarish place, faceless persons, creepy enough to want to get out of, but intriguing enough to want to stay and see what happens.

The direction by Michael Laughlin was tight and effective; Bill Condon's script was clever, funny and twisty; Louis Horvath's provocative and incredibly colorful cinematography was impressive; the Tangerine Dream score was stunning and dream-like; and, in the lead, Michael Murphy, towering and unforgettable, was both brilliantly subtle and medium cool, as well as intense and humanly believable.

It has lots of exciting scenes like the knife in the head, blood and screams, more blood and more screams.

Actually, the only thing that keeps me from rating "Strange Behavior" as a neglected gem myself is the rather mundane and unoriginal plot as well as the disappointing amount of explicit gore.

First of all, this movie has a really slow pace!

Then we get a suspenseful chase through the woodland, as the psycho pursues the terrified female back to the party, making the effort to stab her in the ankle as he goes.

Most of the post-Halloween additions basically stuck with the lone-maniac stalks teenagers scenario; but Michael Laughlin's impressive opus includes multiple killers and a completely authentic conclusion to an engaging mystery.

The conclusion is cool and a bit unexpected, though it seemed rather rushed.

I wouldn't be surprised that younger audiences that are used to fast cuts and one-liners would find this film too slow (and then again youth that are smarter might embrace this as other films from over 20 years ago).

as mentioned above, the script is quite interesting and entertaining.

Combined with the low overall body count (and some inexplicable gaps in the storyline,) the film can be both boring and puzzling.

The initial part of the murder mystery is pretty decent with a couple fun and admittedly enjoyable stalking scenes that definitely give off a tense vibe from time-to-time, and the finale offers some pretty interesting revelations that are definitely unnerving, but the fact that the film is just so slow-going and dragged-out that it really loses a lot of it's steam just by dragging out the investigation and doing nothing with what should've been a tense scene beforehand.

Some scenes are packed with tension and the film as a whole is very suspenseful.

interesting and entertaining .

It also has one of the most pointless and confusing (to me anyway) "last lines" in movie history, and ends abruptly.

The fancy dress scene alone makes it worth a budget asking price, and it also boasts a few edge of your seat thrills that separate it from the influx of its more formulaic counterparts from '81.

It loses it's atmospheric feel , the blond kid acts like he's high for most of the rest of the film, and it has a climax that is very predictable and feels like it was thought up right on the spot.

While the film does have some lulls and seems overlong at even a fairly shot running time, it still manages to be quirky, unpredictable and on the occasion, intensely gripping.

Director Michael Laughlin, working with Mr. Condon, nicely mixes fright with fun, and they neatly construct an unexpected plot twist.

There's nothing that I can remember ever witnessing that compares to watching Batman and Robin taking it in turns to boogie, and its moments like those, which make this film so decidedly enjoyable.

To add to his good-fortune, he pulls a stunning blonde receptionist (Dey Young) and the two go out for dinner, which results in the beginning of a microwave relationship.