From the Stereo to Your Screen: The Flys & Disturbing Behavior

“Got You (Where I Want You),” by The Flys, from Disturbing Behavior

We’re smack-dab in the middle of some serious ’90s nostalgia at the moment. People who grew up on Nickelodeon and MTV’s Total Request Live are now at the point where they have kids of their own, and it’s like there’s a race to see who can introduce their rugrats to … Rugrats first.

So, maybe it’s due to the fact that most of us who came of age in the early-to-mid ’90s have kids who are still in elementary school or just pushing up against the tween years that many of the popular genre films haven’t quite made it to streaming yet.

You can rent most of them, but The Faculty and Disturbing Behavior haven’t quite reached the ubiquity of Scream, which has popped up on Netflix, to say nothing of its two-season remake on MTV. Factor in that most of Nickelodeon’s ’90s series — Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, Doug — are all readily available on Hulu, and you can see that, strangely, ’90s teen horror is one of the rare black holes of current movie ubiquity.

It’s weird that I can pop onto Amazon Prime and stream any number of obscure ’80s gore fests or Italian gialli, but I Know What You Did Last Summer, Final Destination, and Urban Legend all require something like Starz or Cinemax. It’s a weird place to be in. Thankfully, you can pop over to Walmart’s Vudu service and kick out Disturbing Behavior for free, if you’re willing to deal with a few ads, and so that’s what I did the other day.

 

 

The 1998 film is your standard Stepford Wives knock-off, plotwise. Whereas The Stepford Wives was about a bunch of guys wanting their spouses to go from autonomous women into compliant drones, this flick has parents with troublesome youth. James Marsden is the kid who moves into the town and notices something strange going on. He then teams up with the smart, individualist girl at school — who is still 100% objectified in our introduction to her — and then they go about finding out why all the misfits are turning into clean-cut kids.

Clean-cut kids who lose their shit and commit atrocious acts of violence, by the way. It’s a commentary about being yourself and letting kids find their own way, I’m sure. That said: the film’s good, the acting’s not terrible, and a certain timelessness regarding the setting and specifics of the film let Disturbing Behavior remain a film worth rewatching two decades later.

The same cannot be said of the soundtrack. Horror soundtracks have always been a dumping ground for labels looking to pimp their latest bands, and while some managed to float some surprisingly prescient looks at where music was going (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2) or succeed in perfectly snapshotting a moment in time (Scream 2), Disturbing Behavior has a soundtrack full of bands I’d never heard of at the time, nor have I heard of since.

The lone exceptions are Phunk Junkeez — whom we talked about regarding Tommy Boy a while back — making another high profile appearance for a band who never really got that big. It’s weird, since they popped up on a good handful of mid-’90s soundtracks, then nothing, then BAM! Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Fucking bizarre, right?

Anyhow: the big thing off the Disturbing Behavior soundtrack was the Flys’ “Got You (Where I Want You),” which despite being a fairly rote grunge ballad in the vein of Bush’s “Glycerine” or “The World I Know” by Collective Soul, managed to become something of a solid single. The dark edge probably helped the song make it into the rotation of many alternative stations at the time, as well as the film being kind of a big deal, because it was Katie Holmes’ first big movie role.

The video got some spins on MTV, and it’s a weird one. Katie Holmes is in it, which is cool, but it’s basically the band playing on the edge of a cliff, with a bunch of teenagers running off the cliff, or getting pushed off by Holmes. You also see that the lead singers have almost more effects pedals than the the guitarist does.

It’s shot with a fisheye lens, and has some oddly oversaturated colors, and looks super weird, and I have no idea how it fits in with the film, other than Holmes, kids in “alternative” apparel, and letter jackets all doing the same thing. I’m assuming it’s some kind of commentary on conformity and/or playing off the movie’s ending, but the fact that I didn’t realize there were two singers in the Flys until about two days ago maybe says something about how poorly the video was filmed.

Standard inclusion of film clips, although there’s no real attempt to tie things in with the lyrics, which is probably for the best, because it’s kind of a stalkery thing and would basically just use the entire scene where Chug fixates on Holmes’ Rae and goes after her. It’s maybe not the best music video from a film ever, but it looks decent, and the song’s still pretty catchy (except for the cringe-worthy rapped breakdown — ugh, no).

Although, did anyone else ever think that the Flys and Sponge were the same band? I mean, really: listen to “Got You (Where I Want You)” back-to-back with “Plowed,” and tell me that Adam and Josh Paskowitz don’t sound like Vinnie Dombroski. Maybe it’s just that weird vocal affectation that so many singers had in the mid-’90s.

Also of note in Disturbing Behavior is maybe the best use of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” ever. They kind of do it in this really terrible Scream rip-off of a trailer, but in the film itself, the song fits in perfectly, like the damn thing was written for it.

 

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek

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