And this week we are excited to announce the next cycle, a very special cycle indeed. This October the bad movie twins will be turning thirty (it’s a pretty big deal), and we we thought it would be fun to do movies that are also turning thirty years old. That’s right, the cycle is the Sklog’s Birthday Bonanza, The Films of 1986. And since we are in a transition period between cycles we had to find a movie that is not only based on a book, but also specifically came out in 1986. And that means there is really only one choice (no, seriously, I think there was literally only one decently qualified movie to choose from in this case): Deadly Friend. A Wes Craven picture based on Friend by Diana Henstell, this is considered somewhat of a cult classic, but is also very well known for the meddling of producers during production. It looks … really strange. Getting me kind of excited. Let’s go!
Deadly Friend (1986) – BMeTric: 24.2
(Ah, very similar to last week’s plots and I think this is a trend for films from the 80s / early 90s. It rises until it reaches a stable rating/votes proportion in the BMeTric, and this again is a very good example of a film regressing to the mean as time goes on. I think movies that existed prior to IMDb going “mainstream” tended to have a much broader range of ratings (perhaps) and so with older movies you see this regression to the mean much more starkly. Always interesting (to me))
Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – Inventive teenager, in love with the girl next door, revives her (a la Frankenstein) after she’s killed. More heart, and more actual entertainment, than you’d expect from a Wes Craven horror film … though it’s probably the only movie ever made in which someone is beheaded by a basketball!
(Yeah, this movie sounds bonkers insane. I also don’t believe Leonard actually reviewed this. Maltin is notoriously uneasy about horror films, he’s like me, he finds them spooky scary. Maybe at the time he might have watched it as a job requirement, but I have a feeling this was compiled for the book and represents a review by some staff writer. Two and a half stars for this bullshit horror film. I don’t believe it. All that being said, this movie sounds like a genuinely terrible idea.)
(Wow! I’m actually shocked at how cheap this looks. This was made after Nightmare on Elm Street, which I think is a surprisingly beautiful film, but this looks like an amateur film in comparison. Another weird thing? Nary a robot to be seen. And I know for a fact that there is a hilarious yellow robot in this.)
Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Red Eye; Scream 2; The Hills Have Eyes; The Last House on the Left; Swamp Thing; New Nightmare; Paris, je t’aime; Music of the Heart; The Serpent and the Rainbow; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Cursed; My Soul to Take; Scream 3; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Shocker; Deadly Friend; Deadly Blessing; Notes: Died last year from brain cancer. Was set to direct Superman IV: The Quest for Peace but was dropped after feuding with Christopher Reeve.)
Writers – Diana Henstell (novel) – (BMT: Deadly Friend; Notes: Horror/Thriller writer in the 80s. Apparently worked in publishing for most of her career. That’s all I could find about her.)
Bruce Joel Rubin (screenplay) – (Known For: Ghost; Deep Impact; The Last Mimzy; Jacob’s Ladder; Stuart Little 2; Brainstorm; My Life; BMT: Deadly Friend; Deceived; The Time Traveller’s Wife; Notes: Won an Oscar for Ghost. The story is that he was going to turn down this film on principle as he had higher ambitions, but thought better of it because he really needed the money.)
Actors – Matthew Labyorteaux – (Known For: Mulan; Kaze tachinu; A Woman Under the Influence; Everyone’s Hero; King of the Gypsies; BMT: Bride Wars; Pinocchio; Deadly Friend; Notes: You hear that? That’s us improbably completing this random dude’s BMT filmography with what must be the most bizarre set of movies I’ve ever seen.)
Kristy Swanson – (Known For: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Big Daddy; Pretty in Pink; The Phantom; Hot Shots!; The Program; Higher Learning; BMT: Dude, Where’s My Car?; Mannequin: On the Move; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag; The Chase; Flowers in the Attic; Deadly Friend; Notes: Started dating Alan Thicke when he was 40 and she was 17 (wot?). They were engaged but never married.)
Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $8,988,731
(Wow, 10 times the budget of Nightmare on Elm, but made a fraction of the box office. Probably didn’t help that it was part of a publicly troubled production process and got terrible reviews once actually released.)
#39 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre
(Look at those waves. This guy came right on the heels of Terminator and Short Circuit and a little before Robocop, so definitely a trend. Now Ex Machina and Chappie are coming at a semi-boom in the same category. The waves may be indicative of how bad robot movies often are (see the keyword below) you make a few with great care and dedication … and then you saturate the market with garbage, then start all over again. Blah.)
#54 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre
(The second example quickly on the heels of The 5th Wave, this is far less interesting. Maybe this was introduced at a time when book adaptations were waning a bit, but hard to tell. Still, the amount of sci-fi movies based on a book now dwarfs those from the eighties. It is pretty stunning.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/7): No consensus yet.
(A rare, but kind of cheap 0% movie since it only has six (often far after the fact) reviews on rotten tomatoes. I’ll make a consensus though: While filled with its fair share of Cravenisms, it is also filled with classic Craven miscues. An interesting premise is squandered as the film instead becomes merely another cliched teenaged revenge fantasy.)
Poster – Deadly Sklog (C-)
(Personally I like it. I like the style, very classically 70s/80s horror I feel like. I like the idea of it in a way. But … I mean, what does it have to do with anything? What is this movie about? It doesn’t really scream “this is about a killer robot!”. It doesn’t say “this is a teenaged revenge fantasy!”. It is just … surreal. If anything it screams “like Nightmare on Elm Street this is a movie focused on the terror found within dreams”. If I was only given this poster I would say this movie is about a bullied teenage girl who discovers that through incredible psychic power she can control other people’s dreams and terrorizes those who terrorize her in the real world … hey, that sounds like a pretty good movie actually. Kind of a what-if-you-could-be-Freddy-Krueger in real life. Could actually be a fun movie)
Tagline(s) – She can’t live without you. [trailer] (A)
There’s no one alive who’ll play with the girl next door! [poster] (what in the fuck? F.)
(The second one being on the poster is a travesty. How? It is awful. The trailer tagline is a nice, concise play on words. Hints at the connection to Frankenstein. Hits all the right notes.)
Keyword(s) – robot; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Meet the Spartans (2008); 78.4 The Avengers (1998); 76.9 RoboCop 3 (1993); 76.8 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003); 75.6 Inspector Gadget (1999); 72.3 Jason X (2001); 71.2 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 69.8 Pluto Nash (2002); 66.5 Scooby-Doo (2002); 65.1 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982);
(That is a simply fantastic list of terrible movies. Robots do seem to enter into a lot of ludicrous and hilarious plotlines. If only Lindsay Lohan’s robot leg and arm from I Know Who Killed Me counted! Also this is an amazing set of sequels too. I just can’t get over it!)
Notes – Director Wes Craven’s and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin’s original vision for the film was a PG-rated supernatural science fiction thriller, with the primary focus being on the macabre love story between Paul and Samantha, as well as a secondary focus on the adults around them and how they are truly monsters inside themselves. Craven filmed this version of the film and Warner Bros. decided to screen it to a test audience mostly consisting of Wes Craven’s fans. The response from fans was negative, criticizing the lack of violence and gore seen in Craven’s previous films.
I would say that this is part of the Michael Eliot trilogy. Eliot was an editor brought in by Warner Bros. to reedit this film, along with Out for Justice and Showdown in Little Tokyo.
BB robot cost over $20,000 to build. Craven used a company called Robotics 21. His eyes were constructed from two 1950 camera lenses, a garage remote control unit, and a radio antenna taken from a Corvette. BB could actually lift 750 pounds in weight.