Review: Campy 'Deadly Friend' Stuck Between Gears

by Ken Tasho

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 22, 2021

Review: Campy 'Deadly Friend' Stuck Between Gears

The films of Wes Craven seem to be either close to perfection ("Scream," "A Nightmare on Elm Street"), or bloody messes ("My Soul to Take," "Deadly Blessing"). 1986's "Deadly Friend" lies somewhere in between... it's neither scary, nor offensive. Sometimes it's loads of fun; other times, the film borders on sheer camp.

Regardless, "Deadly Friend" should be added to one's Halloween horror movie collection, especially if you're a fan of either the late Wes Craven or the delightful Kristy Swanson.

"Deadly Friend" is one movie I went to the theater to see as a teenager. Now it's making its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray from Shout Factory, and I had forgotten how crazy the plot line is. Kristy Swanson plays the titular deadly friend; she dies at the hands of her father and is brought back to life as a robot by her best friend (Matthew Laborteaux, "Little House on the Prairie").

While not a great film, "Deadly Friend" is schlocky and gruesome at the same time. One critic said of the film, upon its initial release, that it was " 'The Breakfast Club' version of 'Bride of Frankenstein.' "

The special features are fairly rote and a little predictable. Interestingly enough, all of the extras discuss how "Deadly Friend" was supposed to be called simply "Friend." Craven had wanted to do a romantic thriller, based on a novel with the same name. After studio tinkering, scenes of gore were added back into the final finished film.

The special features include:

  • "Hey Sam, Nice Shot" — a lovely interview with charming actress Kristy Swanson

  • "Written in Blood" — screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin discusses writing the change from "Friend" to "Deadly Friend"

  • "Robots, Ramsey and Revenge" — a look at the makeup effects in the film, most notably Anne Ramsey's infamous death scene

  • "Samantha's Symphony" — examines the soundtrack to "Deadly Friend"

    "Deadly Friend" is out on Blu-ray from Shout Factory on October 12, 2021.

    Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things '80's and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with '80's rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.