Craven badly lucked out with Deadly Friend. The film is adapted from an obscure 1985 teen horror novel and mounted as a combination of Frankenstein and the same years cute robot film Short Circuit (1986). The premise is lame and neither Wes Craven nor scriptwriter Bruce Joel Rubin go any lengths towards making it seem plausible. The raising of Kristy Swanson from the dead by use of a computer chip in the brain is an issue that stands out solely by distinction of its avoidance of any credible explanation. One may equally wonder why, when the camera takes the undead Kristy Swansons point-of-view, looking out through a perfectly normal pair of eyes, the shot is broken up into the same point-to-point scanning image used for the robot. Or how she suddenly obtains superhuman strength?
One of the recurrent themes of Wes Cravens films is a fascination with dreams. However, this has never seemed more frivolous than here. There is one dream scene, which has gone onto legend in the annals of bad filmmaking, where Anne Ramseys head is splattered with a basketball. It is the one novelty point that Deadly Friend has and stands out in its terribleness. There is also a very silly twist ending that takes leave of the films tenuous grasp on logic and rhyme altogether. Part of the problem with Deadly Friend was that the production company forced both Wes Craven and Bruce Joel Rubin to add extra splatter scenes to the film they were wanting to make. All of the splatter scenes from Kristy Swanson stabbing her father with a vase, to Matthew Laborteaux dreaming her fathers burnt head is creeping up under his sheets are amazingly silly. One can excuse some of Deadly Friend for such reasons, but it is still one of Wes Cravens worst films.
Wes Cravens other genre films are: the brutality and revenge films The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977); the suburban witch film Summer of Fear/Stranger in the House (1978); Deadly Blessing (1981) about murders around a religious cult; the comic-book adaptation Swamp Thing (1982); Invitation to Hell (tv movie, 1984); A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984); Chiller (tv movie, 1985); The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1985); The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), a strikingly beautiful film about Haitian voodoo; Shocker (1989) a campily incoherent film about an undead executed killer; Night Visions (tv movie, 1990); The People Under the Stairs (1991); Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1994); the Eddie Murphy vampire comedy Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); the slasher deconstruction trilogy of Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997) and Scream 3 (2000); the werewolf film Cursed (2005); the dispossessed soul slasher film My Soul to Take (2010); and Scre4m/Scream 4 (2011). Wes Craven has also written the scripts for A Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors (1987), Pulse (2006) and The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), and produced Mind Ripper (1995), Wishmaster (1997), Carnival of Souls (1998), Dont Look Down (1998), Dracula 2000 (2000), Feast (2006), The Breed (2006), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), The Last House on the Left (2009), The Girl in the Photographs (2015) and the tv series Scream: The Series (2015 ). He also created the tv series The People Next Door (1989) and Nightmare Cafe (1992).
Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin had previously written Brainstorm (1983) and went onto write other films such as Ghost (1990), Jacobs Ladder (1990) and Deep Impact (1998), as well as directing My Life (1993). Many of Bruce Joel Rubins films seem to focus around themes of life after death in one form or another. Rubins other genre works include Stuart Little 2 (2002), The Last Mimzy (2007) and The Time Travelers Wife (2009).