Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Deadly Friend (1986)

Guilty by design, she's nothing more than fiction. She dreams in digital. - Orgy (Fiction)

Deadly Friend should have an alternate title called "Love Thy Neighbor".  I say this with complete and brutal sincerity due to the connection between Paul Conway (Matthew Laborateux), who is an adolescent Frankenrobot, and Samantha (Kristy Swanson), his abused Damsel in Distress next door neighbor.

We already know Deadly Friend is a horror movie without a doubt.  But this horror movie has a tragic-romantic spine.  It sort of makes you wonder what kind of crazy and convoluted love exists when a teenage Frankenrobot resurrects his lovely Damsel in Distress next door neighbor via computer chip that is inserted into her brain to stimulate brain activity. Samantha is a tragic character at best, living with an abusive alcoholic father, who pushes her to her death.  Paul obviously after losing BeeBee, cannot cope with losing the love of his life, so he decides to abuse his gift of genius by doing something highly illegal; kidnapping Sam's body from the morgue so he can resurrect her. And it works! Sam comes back to life.  But she's not quite the same. She is no longer the sweet lovely Damsel in Distress.  She comes back as the Damsel of Destruction!

We can feel sorry for Paul.  We can feel sorry for Sam.  But we can envy their connection.  Because the issue extends beyond Sam coming back as a robot, seeking retribution against those who have crossed her; her alcoholic dad, Elvira Parker.  (Basketball will probably never be looked at the same again), and Carl, the neighborhood bully.  The emotional and psychological attribute coincides with a Romeo and Juliet of the Horror Genre.  One cannot live without the other.  All in all, there is a love that every viewer probably senses and envies because for one individual alone to surpass the depths of his own sanity, proves an unconditional and undying love.  A love that most of us either wish we could experience or haven't been tested that far to really know how true love really is and how it can turn a sane person insane.   In Paul Conway's case, a teenage geek prodigy with a bright and promising future ahead of him, was compromised due to a lack of serious judgment we all know as true love. 

So what does true love have to do with Horror?  Well the answer is quite simple.  Deadly Friend is a prime example of what love can do to an ordinary young human being and how that love can end up progressing into something that is, well deadlyDeadly Friend takes you into the horrors of true love.  For Paul Conway, it was a love that started with entrapment, progressed into insanity, and ended with murder. Example:

Paul moves into town

Meets Samantha
Takes a fond liking to her
Kisses her
Sam's dad pushes her to her death shortly after
Paul resurrects her the day after he shares his first kiss with her
She goes on a killing rampage
She gets shot by the cops and dies in Paul's arms
Paul tries to resurrect her one last time, and her demonic robot that had apparently possessed her, kills Paul.

What makes it sad and frightening is that Paul was always an ordinary kid.  He might have come from a broken home, but, was always too ambitious for his own good.  How did he end up going down his path?  Why, we must ask.  Paul could not have accepted Sam buried six feet under, so he accepted her as a monster. Even though, as a human, she was dead, he just needed her by his side physically.  His love for her consumed all reason and sanity.  But maybe that is just what love comes down to. 

Love knows no reason. Love has no limits. Love is powerful. Love kills. 

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