Trailer Terrors: Deadly Friend (1986)

There's no one alive who will play with the girl next door.

Another film that I was inspired to watch after seeing Never Sleep Again, Deadly Friend is Wes Craven's first outing since his "sleeper" hit A Nightmare on Elm Street and was released one year after its sequel in 1986.

As a Wes Craven film, the plot is pretty convoluted and really what I would expect from the same director who did A Nightmare on Elm Street or Shocker. If there is anything that Craven has proven time and again, however, its that he tends to be a little unpredictable... and that's not a bad thing. Deadly Friend is just that: not a bad thing. It's not great (or altogether believable), but worth at least one viewing all the same.

As I mentioned, the story is a little confusing and essentially follows a young inventor named Paul who builds a semi-psychotic robot named BB out of loneliness to be his pal. Shortly thereafter, Paul and his mother relocate to a new home where Paul retains his outcast status as a nerd and lusts after hot, neighbor girl Samantha Pringle (yeah, she's named after a potato chip), played by Kirsty Swanson. Paul becomes so obsessed with Samantha in fact that he decides to bring her back to life after she's murdered at the hands of her abusive father. Merging his robot's brain with Samantha's dead body, Paul sets out to play God. (Guess he's never seen Frankenstein, must've been too busy looking at all 'dem fancy scientology picture books.)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 1, Ma Fratelli (The Goonies): 0

As you can well imagine, things go terribly wrong and robo-Samantha proceeds to slaughter everyone she comes across (with gusto). By far, one of the most well-known and best parts of the film is the splatterific basketball scene (see above) in which Samantha and obnoxious neighbor Elvia Parker (Anne Ramsey) go toe to toe with explosive results. It's messy, it's goofy and it's oh so much fun to watch over and over. Unfortunately, the rest of the film isn't half as interesting to experience.

Not nearly as frightening as the trailer would have you believe, the film offers little else in term of story or special effects. If you're a fan of Craven then this film will most likely be one you'll want to catch just for a quick fix between The People Under the Stairs and Scream, but for everyone else Deadly Friend is strictly a by-the-numbers weekend rental.


  1. Paxton said...:

    I loved this movie back in 86-87. However, you are right, it doesn't hold up. Nowhere near as good as I remember.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    That one seen sticks in my mind, but otherwise the film is a complete wash. Craven has always been one of those directors who is a definitive "hit or miss" for me.

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