Deadly Friend (1986)

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.

Jesus, LOOK at this fucking thing.

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.

Kristy Swanson has never been better, playing an expressionless robot.

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?


  1. I saw this at a dollar theater when I was a teenager. Paired with Chain Saw Massacre 2 and Trick or Treat. I was stoked because I had seen Nightmare on Elm Street and knew it was from the same guy. I laughed through at least half of it. The next best laugh that day was the scene in CSM2 when that flashlight that obviously is years old works when that chick grabs it. I was like "Energizers!" Dont remember much but the angry neighbor and the basketball scene. BEEBEE!BEEBEE!BEEBEE!

  2. This was a big favorite of my friends and I when we were kids. One of those movies you'd rent from the video store when you were supposedly too young to rent it, then watch it in the basement with a bunch of friends. Of course, this was before we discovered porn...

  3. I've never seen it.Heard and read.But not seen.Because it looks like a heap of shit.Without comedy.Apart from comedy horror and Nightmare on Elm Street 1 the 80's made shit horror.I like slasher films becuase I can't stop laughing at them.But serious horror?Not much in the 80's.

  4. I saw it a couple of times and although i wasn't allowed to see the "friday the 13th" series due the sex and drugs scenes policies in my house, somehow this movie was deemed ok for my viewing (and yes, now I'm a cynical a**hole, ha ha)I had a crush on the girl, and I think the ending had me hooked, although the phrase "what the f**k?" didn't left my mind for several days...

    ...Good innocent fun all around.

  5. i just bought this as a single dvd (not in part of the twisted terror collection, but still noticed as twisted terror on the box). I LOVED this movie when I was young..pretty much the same age as you so we had the same thought.

    i TOO dont remember it being basically the goods of the 80s movies when i was growing up , but mixed with a tinge of horror.

    the music was AWESOME for the fact that its hilariously kewl. thing...that i totally missed was Kristi Swanson. aside from the clothes, she was sooo freakin hot in this movie. I was sitting there watching it going. DAMN i remember her being so hot but shes got sooo many good hot qualities about her in this movie. atleast BEFORE her death.

    great stuff!

  6. i think i have to disagree with you simon..

    i dont think it was the 80s that made shit horror..i think it mainly depended on where YOU were personally in the 80s..
    if you were young, i think ALOT was awesome in the was a great set of years to be young in, as I was born DIRECTLY in 80.

  7. OH..
    and the end..
    i chalk it up to a nightmare.

    i dont like saying that DIRECT ending was actually the robot coming out of a corpse..that just wouldnt fit the slightest, but since there were a bunch of other nightmare scenes, i like to say thats what it was.

    plus...wouldnt it be fun to make a sequel now?

  8. I´m sure will see a remakesoon, it's bound to happen....

  9. The film was supposed to be a wacky PG-13 sci-fi thriller, but the studio forced Craven to add the gore and dream sequences. The basketball kill was indeed from the reshoots, and a lot of scenes between Paul and Sam early on were cut. Thus the somewhat schizophrenic nature of the film. It's still a fun mess!

  10. I honestly think that is a re-skinned Johnny 5.


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