STRANGE BEHAVIOR - Original Soundtrack by Tangerine Dream
CD includes Digital Download / Digital Booklet
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BSX Records presents the soundtrack release of STRANGE BEHAVIOR, featuring music composed by Tangerine Dream (SORCERER, THIEF, RISKY BUSINESS) for the 1981 horror film directed by Michael Laughlin (STRANGE INVADERS), written by Michael Laughlin and Bill Condon (GODS AND MONSTERS), starring Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Dan Shor, Dey Young, Arthur Dignam, Marc McClure and Fiona Lewis.
Released in 1981, STRANGE BEHAVIOR was produced by Antony I. Ginnane and is considered part of the Ozploitation film movement of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that included THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, LONG WEEKEND, PATRICK, MAD MAX, THE ROAD WARRIOR, ROADGAMES, TURKEY SHOOT, BMX BANDITS and RAZORBACK, among other films. Also known as DEAD KIDS and SMALL TOWN MASSACRE, STRANGE BEHAVIOR takes place in the small town of Galesburg, Illinois. John Brady (Murphy) is the chief of police. His son, Pete (Shor) attends high school with his friend, Oliver (McClure). Life takes a turn for the worse when John has to investigate the brutal murders of four townsfolk in four separate incidents. John hasn’t been himself since the suspicious death of his wife Catherine years earlier, which he always believed had something to do with her boss, Dr. Le Sange (Dignam), who himself died shortly after Catherine's passing. At the same time, Pete volunteers to participate in a medical experiment conducted by Dr. Gwen Parkinson (Lewis) to earn some extra cash for his college applications, unknown to John. Parkinson is involved in the same experiment Catherine was working on when she died and as the story continues, John discovers that the experiment is directly related to the recent deaths around town and his own past.
The music for STRANGE BEHAVIOR was composed by the pioneering German electronica band Tangerine Dream. Founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream is a ground-breaking musical act that veered away from the influence of traditional Anglo-American rock/pop and instead relied upon hypnotic rhythms, sustained drones, musique concrète, tape-music looping techniques, and the proliferation of early synthesizers. STRANGE BEHAVIOR was produced early in their career, following the success of their scores for SORCERER in 1977 and THIEF also in 1981. The band included the classic lineup of Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, and Johannes Schmoelling. After completing STRANGE BEHAVIOR, Tangerine Dream would continue to score many iconic Hollywood pictures including RISKY BUSINESS, THE KEEP, FIRESTARTER, RED HEAT, VISION QUEST, LEGEND, NEAR DARK, and THREE O’CLOCK HIGH. And yet somehow, their score for STRANGE BEHAVIOR never got a soundtrack release. Until now.
BuySoundtrax Records is excited to present STRANGE BEHAVIOR on compact disc for the first time, remastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland from the best available elements provided by the production company. The booklet includes exclusive liner notes written by author and composer Brian Satterwhite.
STRANGE BEHAVIOR is a limited edition release of 1000 units.
1. Opening Credit/Murder In The Kitchen (2:25)
2. Tension In The Classroom (3:34)
3. Laboratory Theme (2:11)
4. Romance Theme (1:19)
5. Horror In The Bathroom (3:17)
6. Experiments In Tension (4:26)
7. Tension In The Graveyard (3:17)
8. Dad’s Story (1:44)
9. Pete Goes In For The Kill (1:56)
10. Tension In The Laboratory (1:18)
11. More Tension In The Laboratory (2:42)
12. Kill The Professor/Cleaning Up (1:40)
13. Wedding Theme (2:27)
Total Time: 36:54
Strange Behavior (1981) ***
13 tracks - 36:17
The early ’80s horror-thriller Strange Behavior represents the first screenplay from eventual director Bill Condon, who co-wrote the film with actual director Michael Laughlin (Strange Invaders). The story concerns a scientist who is experimenting on teens to see if he can turn them into murderers. The German electronica band Tangerine Dream (Wavelength, Dune) was working mostly in German film and TV at the time, but had done Sorcerer in 1977. Strange Behavior saw them build on their characteristic synth stylings.
For fans of electronic horror scores, Strange Behavior should have plenty to offer with its assertive textures and effects. Various thematic threads also add a tonal focus in the midst of what otherwise amounts to a collection of experimental musique concrete elements and avant garde techniques. Also providing an aural anchor point are some intriguing looping figures that recur throughout.
“Experiments in Tension” is an aptly-titled track that, one might argue, summarizes the approach that the group took to this score as a whole. By contrast, “Romance Theme” is fairly forgettable, and adding insult to injury, it gets dialed out at the end of the track. Regardless, horror and suspense are the crux of the soundtrack, as evidenced by “Pete Goes in for the Kill,” with its effective use of drum machines and non-pitched percussive ideas, an approach followed up on in “Tension in the Laboratory.”
Strange Behavior is not going to be for everyone, and even fans of Tangerine Dream’s more melody-driven fare may find the score to be a rough listen. That said, it is a solid example of electronic horror scoring from the early ’80s, and anyone interested in the genre is advised to check it out. The album, limited to 1,000 units but also available as a download, can be sampled at the label’s website. —Steven A. Kennedy
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