Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Horrors of October - Deadly Friend

Deadly Friend (1986)

Boy genius Paul has the worst luck with friends: His robotic creation B.B. gets a double-barrel from a paranoid neighbor (Anne Ramsey) and his next-door crush Sam (Kristy Swanson) is viciously beaten into a coma by her abusive father. When he tries to implant the former's computer chip into the latter's brain, further problems arise. DEADLY FRIEND was Wes Craven's first original film following the success of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and it is certainly an intriguing one. The film starts off as an average looking 80's boys flick with a nerdy but handsome guy using his smarts to charm the girl and defeating his bullies but then segues into a sci-fi take on Frankenstein, with the former hero turning into a demented accessory to a murdering robotic zombie. There are some things, however, that hamper the execution. The most notable error in judgment is its infamous campy takes on violence, with the prime example being the scene where Ramsey's explodes from a thrown basketball, which has become a popular viral clip and the film's legacy. The unintentional laughs also come from the decision to have Swanson walk around with her fingers formed into pinchers (like the robot's own claws), which looks incredibly childish on screen and just sucks out all of the seriousness of the picture. There's also the nonsensical twist ending but you get the point. Warner Bros. certainly didn't help matters with a misleading ad campaign (see above) and later with a pathetically flat DVD cover art. Though I did roll my eyes a lot and had many hearty bad laughs, DEADLY FRIEND was ultimately an enjoyable watch, able to ring out some creeps from all of the body snatching, human reprogramming, and cold focused expressions from Swanson. Halt your repeated viewings of the basketball kill for a minute and give the whole movie a shot.


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