There aren't a whole lot of films that I feel as much fondness toward as Wes Craven's Deadly Friend. It's widely considered one of his worst movies, but I like it more than most of them. And it's way better than Vampire in Brooklyn and The People Under the Stairs, both of which I hated.

In 1986, I was becoming a serious horror fan. I loved it all my life, but I started reading Fangoria voraciously and getting heavily into the fiction. It was a great time to be a fan and unlike today's horror climate, I liked almost all the films that were coming out.

Fangoria covered Deadly Friend extensively and I was hot to see it. When it played at a local drive-in, I convinced a friend of mine to go. I thought it was great and he liked it too. In fact, we saw it again at that same place.

I saw Deadly Friend on video after that, but it had been about 20 years since I watched it prior to last night.

It was like seeing a new movie, as I only remembered bits of the film. Of course I remembered the infamous basketball scene, but I forgot how much stupid "Short Circuit'-type robot silliness was in Deadly Friend. See, this kid is a science whiz and he created a robot pal with an artificial intelligent brain. Its name is Bebe and it is a would-be adorably clumsy mechanical man that constantly mutters in a Gremlinsesque twitter. It's pretty wince-inducing, but we get introduced to the lovely Kristy Swanson, which helps matters considerably. She has a drunken, abusive father who may be molesting her. Two bad things happen: One, the robot is shot by a paranoid old lady neighbor and Swanson's character, Sam, is killed when Dad knocks her upside the head and she takes a fall down the steps. Heartbroken, our dorky hero decides to reanimate Sam using the same technology that he used to create Bebe.

Here is when Deadly Friend begins to resemble a slasher movie. Sam harbors some of her old memories, as well as resentments toward those that wronged her and her pals.

Deadly Friend was based on a novel by Diana Henstell, which was simply called Friend. I've never read it, but I saw copies of it everywhere in used bookstores back then and I hear that it's an outstanding book. The film was adapted by Bruce Joel Ruben, who scored major critical and financial success by writing movies like Ghost and Jacob's Ladder.

If I sound down on Deadly Friend, I don't mean to. I still love this cheesy movie and I had a great time watching it with my 11-year-old daughter last night. There's some tasty gore in it and of course the basketball scene is worth the ten bucks the DVD costs alone. I'm a big fan of most things 80's and Deadly Friend reeks of that decade. Which is a good thing in my book.

In short, if 80's horror is your cup of blood, you need to get this DVD.

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