For years I had assumed I had seen 1981's Strange Behavior, but turns out I was thinking of 1983's Strange Invaders, which was actually the second film in a proposed "Strange" trilogy that never got to film number three since film number two was a flop. (Strange Behavior was also released under the title Dead Kids.)
This is an odd movie in many ways, and not just the plot, which involves an evil scientist, mind control, and major daddy issues. It was filmed in New Zealand, but features majority American actors (and a few New Zealanders that were clearly dubbed to sound American). Director Michael Laughlin does his best to make the setting look like small town Illinois, but it just doesn't feel right, making the already creepy film almost otherworldly.
It's also got a stellar cast, including Louise Fletcher (RIP!), Michael Murphy, and Fiona Lewis, and was co-written by future Academy Award-winner Bill Condon.
Instead of a trailer, I'm going to add a clip of the best part of the movie, which is just another thing that makes Strange Behavior so...strange. It's a costume party scene that evolves into a choreographed dance sequence set to Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes."
I watched Strange Behavior on the Criterion Channel.