If the Aussies do anything right, it’s the creation of horror films and the strange devices that they use to create said horror films. They tend to be the opposite from their American cousins with attention more on characters and less on what is going wrong throughout the movie (killer, zombies, and ghosts). Strange Behavior is not typical in any fashion and is little different compared to what I have been watching recently. Yeah, the film was made in 1981 but I can’t get around to seeing all the old films before I see new ones. Who do you think I am? Anyways, the movie was originally titled “Dead Kids” and for whatever reason when making its way across the pacific to the States, it was turned into Strange Behavior but it works better due to the events of the movie. Well…as in kids behaving…strangely.
The story starts out with a young kid being murdered by another young teen (no mystery here as to who kills him either, the light shines right on the murderers face). I thought that it was interesting that they show you who the killer is right from the beginning. Of course, there turns out to be several teens killing their friends but the movie automatically lets you know that you shouldn’t waste your time trying to pinpoint the murderer and asks you to pay attention to the story. I like this way of filming, Canadians do the same thing with their horror by trying to focus on other elements of the story besides the killer or ghost. This is an Australian movie yet it is set in Illinois and all the characters have American accents. This may have been a way for the director to try and reach a bigger overseas audience but who knows. There are actually a couple of scenes where some of the actors were dubbed over noticeably with American accents to get rid of all the Aussie sounds in the movie; it’s not hard to miss. It’s almost like watching a dubbed Kung Fu film, where the mouths move one way and they say something different. That weird quality just adds to the fun really.
The main premise of the story involves kids killing people (I know I already stated that, just bringing you back around) because they are being brainwashed by some group of scientists in a local college. Now these kids are only agreeing to these experiments because they are under the assumption that they won’t blackout and butcher anyone plus they are guaranteed a large check after every visit to the lab (crafty lab coat wearing bastards). Not to spoil anything (cause I recommend this movie) there is a slight twist at the end involving the professor who you thought was dead and it is both laughable and kind of awesome. Then again I might have just spoiled the end but the presentation of it is like the end of a Clue game, rather dramatic and relieving. Plus there is more to it other than the professor’s livelihood, it involves parenthood (I’ll shut up now)!
The strong parts of the movie include the story because you want to know the reasoning as to why the doctors want these kids to behave strangely (you can laugh) and it’s just rather played out in a fun way. The film also has one of the best party/dance scenes I have ever seen to date. You can check it out below this paragraph. It seems almost choreographed yet it flows so naturally. The gore effects leave a lot to be desired and aside from one famous scene (which you will see in the video too) there is not much to witness in the blood department. The main character is lovable and you feel sad for him once he gets wrapped up in the strange world of the laboratory. The scene in which he pisses blood had me cringing, mostly because I felt so bad for him.
With everything thrown at you in this piece, I strongly recommend you seeing this film (and every other film we have covered) because Ozploitation is a great rabbit hole to fall down into. It may be a lesser known film compared to Rogue and Patrick but it will leave you smiling and searching for the next batch of Ozploitation films.