dir. Wes Craven
I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, Wes Craven ain't much of a director. Looking back on his body of work, I can find only a couple directorial efforts that I genuinely dig, The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare on Elm Street. He's had some decent ideas but his workmanlike direction generally results in films with the flat visual style of mid-eighties, syndicated action/drama serials. Sure he gets the job done, but really any competent Television director could film those pictures and the results would be indistinguishable from Craven's work.
To be quite honest, though, most of the "masters of horror" generation of directors have spotty filmographies. John Carpenter is perhaps the only member of the bunch with a pretty consistent winning streak (George Romero comes a close second). I've seen all the major and most of the minor works from these directors. Although for the sake of completion I continue to watch the lesser works, I ain't holding my breath for any hidden masterpieces. And so it was, of course, with lowered expectations, that I delved into Craven's mid-eighties, teen-angst Frankenstein story Deadly Friend. How can I put this mildly, Deadly Friend is a steaming pile of crap.
Like many other films Craven has helmed, Deadly Friend feels defiantly inconsequential. It's got a lot of eighties cultural touchstones: robotic technology, concern with John Hughes-esque teen-angst, people getting murdered, etc. But it all feels so slight. Whereas A Nightmare on Elm Street tapped into the cultural zeitgeist, Deadly Friend merely re-purposes many movie trends to fit a bland, uninvolving narrative.
Paul Conway (Matthew Laborteaux) is a young prodigy with a penchant for tinkering with his robotic friend BB. After moving to a new town, he soon befriends Tom (Michael Sharrett) and Samantha (Kristy Swanson), a teenager with an abusive father. Things soon turn sour for Paul when local shut-in Elvira Parker (Anne Ramsay) destroys BB. Soon enough, Paul's friend Samantha is put into a coma by her drunken father. It just isn't Paul's day. The young rapscallion's got a plan, though: steal Sam's body and implant BB's computer-chip brain into her brain, thus reviving her (back me up, science. That's how this shit works, right?). Oddly, Paul's plan soon backfires, as the computer-brained Sam has turned into a murderin' machine, hell-bent on killing assholes. Although, this seems like a win-win situation for Paul and Tom, Tom has to remind his brainy friend that there are laws in place to prevent just this sort of thing. The spoilsport goes and calls the cops, putting an end to the fun.
Sure Deadly Friend is good for some campy fun, but it's not over-the-top enough to truly qualify as a camp classic. That being said, the film is worth it alone for this legitimately revered death scene.
That's right. Bitch got her motherfuckin' head blowed apart by a motherfucking basketball. If Deadly Friend had ten other scenes like this, it would still be studied in film schools to this day.