CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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Scene To Be Seen: THE DEADLY FRIEND (1986)

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 01, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


There are some movies that are the sum of their parts which require repeat viewings entirely. And then there are some movies that only have one scene that demand repeat viewings. Sometimes even bad movies can possess one scene that makes the venture almost worthwhile. Emphasis on sometimes.

The selection for my “Scene To Be Seen” today comes from Wes Craven’s 1986 horror-teen-romance The Deadly Friend — a cheerfully gory film that goes like this: Paul is a brilliant, scientific young man (Matthew Laborteaux, Little House on the Prairie, 1976-1983) who resurrects his murdered would-be girlfriend Samantha (Kristie Swanson, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986) using advanced robotics. Unfortunately, his corpse-crush goes haywire and targets the nasty old wench played by Anne Ramsey (Throw Momma From the Train, 1987) who lives across the street.

How malicious is this hag? She makes Mrs. Deagle look like Mrs. Claus. First she snatches a basketball away from our hero because it was on her property. And then (get this!) she opens fire using a double-barrel rifle on BB, Paul’s ultra-cool, talking robot he spent years constructing. And the robot was voiced by Charles (Roger Rabbit) Fleischer! Double-bitch!

Now put on your raincoat and watch the freaky comeuppance Samantha the Zombie Queen delivers to the evil crone! You’ll never think of shooting hoops the same way again!

Fair Warning: Not for the Squeamish.

If my brief synopsis piques your interest, I’d recommend a rental. It’s doesn’t attain the perfection of great trash like Re-Animator (1985) but you could do a hell of a lot worse. Director Wes Craven was disappointed though; he had intended to make a H.P. Lovecraft inspired romance but the studio made him cut back on the love and shoot more gore. Pity. This explains the weird hell-with-logic-for-the-sake-of-a-BOO! ending in the morgue. Then again, any excuse for a scare is a good one.


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