Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 30th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Australia/USA, 1981
Director: Michael Laughlin
Writers: Bill Condon, Michael Laughlin
Cast: Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Dan Shor, Fiona Lewis, Arthur Dignam, Dey Young, Marc McClure, Scott Brady, Charles Lane, Elizabeth Cheshire, Beryl Te Wiata, Jim Boelsen
DVD released: October 28th, 2008
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Strange Behavior is the directorial debut of Michael Laughlin who also co-wrote the screenplay with Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls). The plot for Strange Behavior revolves around controversial medical experiments that are turning the local teen’s murders’. The story is set in a sleepy rural town that is murder and relatively free of crime. The rash of killings catches the town’s undermanned police force off guard. The plot eventually reveals that these experiments on the teens are part of larger revenge plot against police Chief John Brady.
The plot for Strange Behavior is pretty straight forward with very few surprises or moments were the story loses focus. The film’s most memorable scene is during a costume party in which Lou Christie’s “Lightning Strikes”. Also is you look closely everyone at the party is dressed as famous television characters. Co-writer makes an interesting observation how the 1998 film Disturbing Behavior bears a strong resemblance to Strange Behavior.
The cast features many familiar faces like Michael Murphy (Count Yorga, Vampire), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Jim Boelsen (The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse), Dan Shor (TRON), Dey Young (Rock ‘n’ Roll High School) and Marc McClure who is most remembered as Jimmy Olson from Christopher Reeve the Superman films. The film’s standout performance is Fiona Lewis as the diabolical Gwen Parkinson whose experiments are turning the teens into killers’. All around all the performances are very good. It is interesting to note that Klaus Kinski was the original choice for Dr Le Sangel, a role which eventually went to Arthur Dignam.
The film’s core was composed by Tangerine Dream who composed many memorable score in the 1980’s for film’s like Thief, Risky Business, Legend and Near Dark. Over the years Strange Behavior has been released in shorter and cropped version’s that drastically affect the plot’s overall impact. The version included for this release is the film’s full length version and in its original aspect ratio which showcases the film’s picturesque photography. Ultimately Strange Behavior is an effective thriller that fans of 1980’s horror films will thoroughly enjoy.
Synapse Films presents Strange Behavior in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is another strong transfer from Synapse Films that outside of some minor print damage look clean, colorful and details look razor sharp. This transfer has also been flagged for progressive playback.
This release comes with two audio options English and Spanish. Both audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Overall both audio mixes sound clean, clear and evenly balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include an extensive photo gallery, filmographies cast & crew, the Australian and U.S. trailers for the film. Also included with this release is an isolated audio track for the films score and two deleted scenes with optional audio commentary with Bill Condon. The main extra is an audio commentary with co-writer Bill Condon, actors Dan Shor and Dey Young. This is an exceptional audio commentary that is filled with many wonderful stories about working on this film from the three participants. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Patrick, Thirst and Syngenor. All the content that was included on the now OOP Elite DVD release has been carried over for this release. Overall Strange Behavior gets a fully loaded DVD release at a more than affordable price.