NOVEMBER 4, 2007
As far as I am concerned, DVD took a decade to hit its peak. That would be last month, when they finally released Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend legitimately (a bootleg DVD popped up at conventions for years until Warner announced it as part of their Twisted Terror collection). The DVD is still wholly disappointing (mono sound, no extras, doesn’t even have a fucking scene selection menu), but I don’t mind. I hadn’t seen the film since I was like 8, and retained fond memories of it (if only of the film’s most memorable moments – i.e. the basketball kill) I was mighty curious to see how it would hold up now that I am older and wiser, not to mention stupider.
What I didn’t remember was how fairly goofy the movie was. It’s essentially a kid’s movie, but with insane gore. I mean, he’s got a big yellow robot; he meets cute with not only a girl but a guy (the movie’s kind of weird); fights with a neighborhood bully, plays Halloween pranks... there’s even an old woman neighbor who they all fear. It’s sort of like a less whimsical Monster House. I honestly think the target audience for this movie are folks who were kids who were allowed to watch horror movies when it came out and are now easily amused assholes. Because really, who the fuck else could possibly enjoy this movie if they saw it for the first time as an adult? But on the flipside, you couldn’t be considered a very good person to recommend it for small children, what with all the rampant gore and violence.
Of course, the basketball kill is pretty much the most famous scene in Wes Craven’s career; the type of thing Youtube was invented for (strangely, going by the trailer, one would assume this kill was a reshoot, as the spot shows the victim being killed by getting smashed into a door). And it still holds up (i.e. makes me laugh my ass off) as well as it did back in 1987 or so. However, there aren’t many other kills in the film (the killer robot/zombie angle isn’t even introduced until about the 2/3 mark), but there’s enough gore in them to keep gorehounds happy.
The ending is pretty astounding. Showing signs of the “What the FUCK”ity of the Craven who would make Shocker, the conclusion finds a fully formed robot somehow nested inside the corpse of the girl. It bursts through her skin, complete with big monster teeth, and presumably eats the hero (offscreen). Then we hear, for about three straight minutes, the film’s non-theme theme song, which is just some guys going “Bee-bee. Buh-buh-buh-Bee-bee BEE-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” over and over. What the christing hell? Shocker may be the finest moment in Wes’ career (in terms of sheer awesomeness, not actual quality), but it is now abundantly clear to me that Deadly Friend laid the foundation for it.
This one’s based on a book simply called "Friend". I can’t imagine it’s anywhere near as hilarious, but I must know. Someone please buy it for me for Christmas.
What say you?