Oct. 3rd: Deadly Friend (1986)

Ah Deadly Friend, one of Wes Craven’s answers to “Hey, why don’t you make another Nightmare on Elm Street film?” that didn’t really hit it off with critics or with fans. I’m not even sure this one found its legs on video or with the benefit of age, but it’s a movie I kinda dig all the same.

Mostly that has to do with BB, the Johnny-5-esque, artificially intelligent robot that boy genius Paul has constructed. I love this fucking guy. He’s awesome and his voice and nonsensical dialogue are of the hilarious variety, performed as they are by Charles Fleischer, also known to the world as Roger Rabbit.

But on Halloween night, BB is destroyed by a shotgun wielding Mama Fratelli. Paul manages to save BB’s brain though and keep it for a rainy day.

That day soon appears when Sam, Paul’s next door neighbor (and object of his teen desires) is punched straight down some stairs by her dickhead father, resulting in her untimely death. What’s a budding young, love-struck scientist to do? 

Why he plays Frankenstein and steals her corpse, of course. He then implants BB’s CPU directly into Sam’s dead brain. How could that possibly go wrong?

While not Craven’s best, this troubled production rises above its studio and test audience tampering to become some sort of bizarre mishmash of gore, sci-fi and teenage love story that’s an (at least) interesting installment in his storied career.

It’s like watching Craven, the studio and the audience all duke it out on screen to make the movie as it’s unfolding, and the results are strange.

Is it what Wes intended? Doubtful. Is it what the studio wanted? Definitely not. Is it what audiences wanted? I dunno, but if the audience is The Shindig, we’re on board with this weirdness.

There’s not much Halloween in Deadly Friend, but that’s why we’re socking it so early in the month. There’s enough to be festive and the rest of the plot is just ridiculous enough to be an enjoyable 80’s sci-fi-horror-love-story-murder-bot romp.

Plus, Kristy Swanson is too much, lobstering-around in her robot state murdering people, not to have a good time.

I give it 1 flagrant foul and muttering robot up!

Designation: Treat!




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