I wanted to show the dance number set to Lou Christie’s “Lightening Strikes” from Strange Behavior (1981), and found this YouTube clip. But unless you’ve seen the film, you may want to shut it once the song is over. No use spoiling a cool movie that you should check out. It moves at a pace that’ll have the Ritalin generation upping their meds, but director Michael Laughlin’s best film works as both a remembrance of 1950s lily-white idealism and a component of late-70s/early-80s New Wave. It was originally (and barely) released by the short-lived World Northal Films. I caught it in first run, prompted by enthusiastic notices in The Soho Weekly News and The Village Voice, along with its snazzy poster art (see below). Twenty-eight years later I finally revisited the bugger, on widescreen DVD from Synapse Films, and it hasn’t lost any of its fractured charm. Laughlin co-wrote the screenplay with a young Bill Condon (later of Gods and Monsters fame), resuscitating the mad scientist genre with an actor (Arthur Dignam) who had me thinking of J. Robert Oppenheimer. As far as I’m concerned, the rest of the cast — Dan Shor (from the barely seen Kubrick valentine Strangers Kiss), Dey Young, Louise Fletcher, Michael Murphy, Charles Lane, Scott Brady and an intoxicating Fiona Lewis — are close to excellent. There’s a Halloween party, tacky costumes, a Tor Johnson mask, and this choreographed marvel, all of it unspooling in a quiet Midwestern town… filmed in New Zealand, many years before hobbits and rings. It’s also worth watching with the lively DVD commentary by Condon, Dey and Shor.