Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Laughlin|
|Produced by||Antony I Ginnane,
|Written by||Bill Condon|
|Music by||Tangerine Dream|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
Strange Behavior is a 1981 New Zealand 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 reportedly died years previously but still gives lectures via old films. Le Sange's research is being continued by Gwen Parkinson (Lewis). 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. 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.
- Michael Murphy - John Brady
- Louise Fletcher - Barbara Moorehead
- Dan Shor - Pete Brady
- Fiona Lewis - Gwen Parkinson
- Arthur Dignam - Dr. Le Sange
- Dey Young - Caroline
- Marc McClure - Oliver Myerhoff
- Scott Brady - Shea
- Charles Lane - Donovan
- Elizabeth Cheshire - Lucy Brown
Screenwriter Bill Condon has a brief cameo as a teenager killed at the film's opening.
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." 
The film was released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack by Severin Films under its New Zealand title, Dead Kids in 2014.
A novelization of the film was published in 1982 under the title "School Days" by Robert Hughes.
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 (including two enacted by Ngila Dickson and Peta Rutter) spontaneously perform a synchronised dance routine to "Lightnin' Strikes". The soundtrack has never been officially released; the Tangerine Dream tracks are available on the fan release Tangerine Tree 50: Assorted Secrets 2.
- Milne, Tom. Willemin, Paul. Hardy, Phil. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Horror, Octopus Books, 1986. ISBN 0-7064-2771-8 p 361
- "Company Credits for Strange Behavior". imdb.com. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- "Strange Behavior (Elite)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- "Strange Behavior (Synapse)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-10.