Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DBH Review:Strange Behavior(1981)

By Eric Polk-
Released during the Golden Age of the Slasher Film, Strange Behavior takes a slightly different turn in the slasher subgenre, forgoing both the killer in the woods and the killer in the suburbs setting, using the mad scientist motif to coax the scares out of you instead.

 Several teenage boys in Galesburg, Illinois are murdered, each apparently by a different killer. Local policeman John Brady investigates. The victims are sons of men who previously collaborated with John to investigate the unethical experiments of Galesburg University professor Dr. Le Sange who was reportedly killed years previously but still gives lectures via old films. Le Sange's research is being continued by Gwen Parkinson (Lewis). Unbeknownst to John, Gwen has enlisted his son Pete as a research subject. Gwen's "experiments" involve mind control turning the subject into a programmed killer. John, whose late wife had worked for Le Sange, becomes convinced that Le Sange is still alive and is waging a vendetta against those who wronged him.

I admire this film for being a little different in regards to its setting and plot.There weren't too many slasher movies around this time that didn't use the forest or suburbia as their backdrop. Using science as a weapon, though done a thousand times before, is a fresh plot line in an era where vengeance stemmed from murdered mothers or pranks gone horribly wrong. The casting is rather decent with horror veteran Michael Murphy(Shocker) and Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher(who seemed to have pulled out of her acting rut with this one) at the helm.

The suspense is long-winded at times and the gore is so-so. You won't find anything that will take your breath away when it comes to the scares. A neat fact about Strange Behavior was the first horror film shot in New Zealand during the 'Ozplotation' period of the late-70s and early-80s. This film was on Netflix Instant View at one time. However, it has since been removed.

No comments: