Released in some markets as Dead Kids, this offbeat slasher/mystery flick is set in the fictional small Midwestern American town of Galesburg, Illinois (although it was filmed in New Zealand).
The main characters are Police Chief Brady (Michael Murphy) and his son, Peter (Dan Shor). The mother has died in mysterious circumstances, which will be explained later on.
Pete attends the local college where a few students are showing great improvements in their work, a state of affairs that seems to be down to their volunteering to be guinea pigs at the local research institute.
Pete’s friend Oliver (Marc McClure) has been undergoing these tests, and the As he receives on his papers proves some benefit to the experiments.
It’s an oddball tale of high school murders, bizarre experiments and mad doctors, and boasts one of horror cinema’s strangest party scenes – a fancy dress party where all the local kids have come dressed as 1960s TV characters, including Batman and Robin, Lily Munster, Fred and Wilma Flintstone and even Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza.
The party is in full swing when Lou Christie’s hit song ‘Lightnin’ Strikes comes on and, inexplicably, the partygoers break into highly synchronised dancing.
It’s a wonderfully bizarre moment in a film that, despite its more grisly moments, pays loving homage to hazy small-town Americana of the 50s and 60s. The soundtrack is by Tangerine Dream and features songs by New Zealand band Pop Mechanix and Nick Cave‘s outfit, The Birthday Party.
Dr Le Sange/Nagel
Beryl Te Wiata
Billy Al Bengston