This week we began on the Sklog’s Birthday Bonanza, all movies from 1986, with a movie based on a book, Deadly Friend. As I watched Deadly Friend I couldn’t help but think to myself “Hmmm, I would have thought I’d be having more fun watching this than I am.” After all, this was a film that featured a bright yellow robot as a main character and a death scene involving a zombie throwing a basketball at someone’s head so hard that it literally explodes! But almost everything outside of those two things was pretty meh. But I’ll leave the further analysis of the film to Patrick.
In terms of the adaptation from the book Friend by Diana Henstell, we actually got a bit of a departure going from print to screen. The book was just a classic boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl is killed by father, boy resurrects girl on a stormy, lightning-filled night. Just classic stuff. At its core it’s just an update of the Frankenstein story to a 1980’s love story. The movie kept a lot of the main storyline (the boy’s weird robot best friend is probably the most peculiar), but scrapped a lot of the Frankenstein heavy features, choosing instead to focus on the love story (and eventually the gore). The most prominent change made was to the motivation of the main character bringing his love interest back from the dead. In the book the boy is distraught over her death and in a fit of anger/love/insanity steals her body from the mortuary and attempts to revive her (to horrifying effect). In the film they seemed to shy away from having the main character straight-up rob a grave. Instead he plans on installing a microchip into her brain to revive her from a coma. Finding that he is too late to the hospital and she has already passed away he decided to go forward with the operation and revives her (to horrifying effect). Just a little softening to make an unlikable character… well, still pretty unlikable. Overall, I found the book to be quite the drag (mostly because the main character is a pain in the ass and super weird) and unsurprisingly the movie it inspired isn’t much better. It’s basically the worst combo. At least with a lot of the other films we watched for this cycle I enjoyed either the film or the book (or both). In this case they both were just OK. Phew… finally no more books to read.
This week Settings 101 was an exhilarating adventure. We’ve been on quite the run of films with distinct locations, so it’s nice to have to work for it this week. While watching the film there were several scenes with fairly clear license plates shown to the viewer. Unfortunately, these license plates turned out to be prop plates with “Drive Safely” written at the top rather than the state name (kind of like the “Great State” license plates of The Tuxedo). Unwilling to give up I scoured the rest of the film for any other indication of location. Fortunately the film opens with a scene of the boy moving with his mother to their new home. He is navigating the highways and byways of America and has a map on his lap. That map? A map of Illinois! Now this would hardly be definitive except that there is a line marking their route through the state ending near the city of Peoria. Now does this really mark their route? How are we to know whether this truly means that the film is set in Illinois or if they just grabbed a random prop map for the film? Who cares! Set in Illinois! A definitive D-. Literally the least amount of information that could possibly be provided and still arguably have a set location. I. Love. It.
‘Ello everyone! Deadly Friend? More like Dreadful Fraud, amirite? We watched what I will describe as a very strange movie, and probably for a very strange reason. Let’s just get into it:
- The Good – Um, honestly nothing? It isn’t really a movie I would say. It is somewhat charming in the technological youth it exhibits in its hopes and dreams of robots at that point in the 80s. But it is a barely movie through and through. Even the practical effects aren’t effective. And acting is okay for what it is I guess. But at that points in time it is a low-budget nonsense movie. I wonder why it has a cult following …
- The Bad – I’ve already went through it a bit, but the movie is bonkers. It makes little sense in some ways (the main character is either totally insane or a sociopath) and then is only morbidly fascinating in most others. It is boring, and weird, and falls short in almost every way. As Jamie said: it should be more fun, but it isn’t.
- The BMT – No. Too small and boring. Like Maximum Overdrive it is only BMT in showing how people completely botched horror in the 80’s. Probably the cocaine.
Ah, and why did we watch this movie? Because 1986 is amazing terrible for bad movies. It was between this and Shanghai Surprise as far as we could tell (since we have already seen Cobra) and Shanghai Surprise had to be reserved for Romance … so yeah, getting a bit sparse. This cycle … might be bad.
You know what? I’m going to leave it there. Deadly Friend isn’t very inspiring.