57° Galesburg
Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

The solar eclipse in totality over Noblesville, Ind
Total darkness
April 15, 2024

Student Senate recently passed a bylaw requiring a club representative at senate meetings. They have since paused the bylaw. Are you in favor of it?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

“Something is happening in Galesburg… Something that kills horribly and then laughs.”


“School Days” by Robert Hughes is a 1982 novelization of “Strange Behavior”, a slasher film set in Galesburg and filmed in New Zealand. Much of the plot centers around Stanhope University, described in the book as “a Midwestern Oxford: gothic gray stone buttressing the plain, cutting out of the air a pattern of tested civilization in a land of little culture,” and the psychology department’s connection to a string of murders in the town.

I recommend watching “Strange Behavior” if you get the chance — not because it is high cinema, or represents the Knox culture in any way. The movie is not good. But it is fun, especially when you and your friends can complain about how there are too many hills for it to be truly Galesburg.

Unfortunately, the book is something that I experienced alone. 

As novelizations go, it isn’t a horrible adaptation. Hughes alternates between two timelines to give the original storyline some more depth. A father and son duo both have ties to the dubious psychology department of Stanhope; we follow the father through his teenage years and into his adult life as police chief, and we follow the son through his generic teenage life with murders and unethical science experiments scattered throughout. (Both timelines get sex scenes, for some reason.)

The father’s teenage years—at least for someone who watched the movie first—were the most interesting, because the book expanded on things originally left unexplained. However, these new explanations quickly became overkill. So much information was repeated, to the point that a paragraph would end and the very next sentence would be rephrasing it, but slightly to the left.

The one thing that the book managed to not over-explain is the biggest plot twist of the movie — which I won’t spoil, because I do think people need to experience it fresh. What I will say is that it comes out of nowhere, and the novelization only raises more questions. I’m not sure how Hughes managed to say so much and yet so little, in the end.

The worst part of the novelization is one of the few changes it makes from the movie. Hughes made the decision to cut a scene that stars a gaggle of frisbee players. If anything was going to redeem this wannabe-Galesburg novel, it would have been the frisbee representation we all know and crave.

Overall, I cannot recommend this novel, unless it is in the context of reading it to your friends and laughing.

★☆☆☆☆ 1/5

This review accompanies a review of “Strange Behavior”, the film this book is based on, which can be found here.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Knox Student Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *