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Strange Behavior

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Title: Strange Behavior  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: 1981 in film, Louise Fletcher, Charles Lane (actor), Bill Condon, Michael Murphy (actor), Dan Shor, List of Northwestern University alumni, Mark Hadlow, Strange Invaders, Michael Laughlin
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Strange Behavior

This article is about the 1981 horror film. For the Animotion album, see Strange Behavior (album).
Strange Behavior
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Michael Laughlin
Produced by Antony I Ginnane,
John Barnett
Written by Bill Condon
Starring Michael Murphy
Louise Fletcher
Dan Shor
Fiona Lewis
Arthur Dignam
Music by Tangerine Dream
Cinematography Louis Horvath
Editing by Petra
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release date(s)
Running time 94 min
Country New Zealand
Language English

Strange Behavior (original title Dead Kids) is a 1981 mystery horror film directed by Michael Laughlin, written by Bill Condon, and starring Michael Murphy. It is a homage to the pulp horror films of the 1950s. The film was intended as the first installment of the Strange Trilogy which was cancelled after the second installment, Strange Invaders, failed to attract a large enough audience.


Several teenage boys in Galesburg, Illinois are murdered, each apparently by a different killer. Local policeman John Brady (Murphy) investigates. The victims are sons of men who previously collaborated with John to investigate the unethical experiments of Galesburg University professor Dr. Le Sange (Dignam), 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 (Shor) 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.


The supporting cast includes Dey Young, Marc McClure, Scott Brady, Charles Lane, Beryl Te Wiata, Elizabeth Cheshire and Alma Woods. Screenwriter Bill Condon has a brief cameo as a teenager killed at the film's opening.

Though set in Illinois, the film was shot in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Encyclopedia of Horror designates the film as a New Zealand film. It lists several of the similar productions of its Australian producer Antony I Ginnane and frequent collaborator David Hemmings, who is Executive Producer of this film through the Hemdale Film Corporation. The book opines that "Dead Kids must count as one of their most professional efforts." [1]


The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by World Northal in June 1981. The film was released on VHS by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video.[2]

The film was released twice on DVD in the United States. First by Elite Entertainment in 2003[3] and then by Synapse Films in 2008.[4]


The soundtrack features electronic music by Tangerine Dream. Also included are songs "The Ritz" and "Jumping Out a Window" by Pop Mechanix, "Shivers" by The Birthday Party, and "Lightnin' Strikes" by Lou Christie. "The Ritz" and "Lightnin' Strikes" are heard at a teenage costume party during which characters (one of whom is enacted by Ngila Dickson) spontaneously perform a synchronised dance routine to "Lightnin' Strikes".


External links

  • Internet Movie Database

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