Sweet lord! My bootleg copy of this badboy is going in the closet! Finally, we have a widescreen DVD copy of Wes Craven’s crap-cult classic DEADLY FRIEND. Now, I know this is going to be a bold statement, but I think this is my favorite Wes Craven movie ever. Seriously.
Whoa, whoa. Before you start throwing tomatoes at me, hear me out! First of all, my Dad’s Italian. He’s got a huge garden. We’ve got hundreds of tomatoes in the kitchen. I can take it if you throw one at me. Second, I think it’s just the great affinity I had for this movie when I first experienced it as a teen that explains why I love it so much and hold it so close to my heart.
Besides the classic Universal Monster movies, my introduction into the horror world was the first NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movie. So naturally, shortly after becoming a horror fanatic, I’d hunt down anything Wes Craven was involved in. (Thank God this wasn’t the early 2000’s) And God bless HBO for always repeating movies a billion times back when we were growing up because I’d always catch DEADLY FRIEND late at night. And sure enough, I fell in love… With a teenage Kristy Swanson (Actually the sweet-natured character of Sam) and a yellow little robot named BB!
Paul and his mother have just moved into town, but Paul is not like most teenagers. He’s a freakin’ genius and he’s built a bad-ass little yellow robot named BB that makes Johnny 5 look like a bitch. Because of his intellect (and perhaps the fact that he’s teaching a college course?), it’s not exactly easy for Paul to make too many friends. Sure there’s Tom, but in all fairness, they’re only friends because he tripped over BB while trying to deliver papers. Ah, but then there’s the girl next door. Samantha has an abusive, creepy father who looks like he’s right out of the same custodian school as Freddy Krueger. The 3 (along with BB) become great friends, but there’s always a few jerks that have to spoil the good times! Mainly, punk ass Carl and his gang, as well as crazy old Elvira Parker across the street. (Anne Ramsey from THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN). First BB bites the bullet. And then Sam gets killed when she “accidentally” falls down the stairs with a little push from dear old dad.
Paul refuses to give up on Sam, so he brings her back to life by putting a chip in her brain like the one that brought BB to life. But the new version of Sam has got this nasty little habit of killing people that annoy her in fairly horrible and overtly graphic ways. (Head in a stove, basketball to the head, etc.) So, essentially this is a loose-take on the Frankenstein story but with the girl next door and a bitchin’ little robot. And I love every cheesy second of it. Even to this day!
First of all, there’s the random scares. Fresh off of his success with NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, Wes Craven throws in a few “nightmare jump” scares. Sam has a nightmare. Paul has a nightmare. Everyone pretty much has a nightmare. Then there’s that funny little robot, BB! He’s got his evil side. It’s evident from the very start, when a thief is scoping the contents of the families car. Or when he grabs Carl and squeezes his nuts. Or even later on when he wants to fight Elvira Parker, who’s totting a shotgun! This robot’s got balls. (Of steel, perhaps? Oh!)
Then there’s Kristy Swanson. I said it before in my VAULT write-up and I’ll say it again. I don’t know why, but this is the only movie that I find her attractive in. Look, I know she’s young girl in the flick, but I was maybe 13-14 when I first saw this? And I totally fell in love with the character of Sam. Even when she made those weird robot hand gestures. Maybe it’s because she’s pale and mute. I don’t know. But yeah, I love her in this flick.
The kills! Over the top and ridiculous! 4 words! Basketball To The Head! Go on You Tube, you’ll see what I’m talking about. And the song over the end credits sums up 80’s cheese so perfectly. A synth song that repeatedly calls out “BB!” I love it.
Biggest disappointment though? For years, I was convinced BB was muttering something whenever he spoke besides “BB”. So, I watched a bit of the movie with the subtitles on, and when it got to BB talking, it’d often read “(BB speaking gibberish)” Also, the cover! MGM? Universal? All you big companies? Stop hiring unimaginative, unoriginal kids that have never seen the movies to photoshop your covers! Does anyone in your advertising department realize how long I (and everyone else my age) stood in the video store as kids, entranced by the VHS box art for half of these movies? Guess what? Kids today will find those covers just as intriguing. It ain’t broke. Stop trying to fix it.
No features here besides the trailer, the movie in widescreen, and the fact that it’s out on DVD now! Buy it! Watch it with a large group of friends. I plan to! –Robg.
Buy it on Amazon.com!