Deadly Friend (partially found original cut of sci-fi horror film; 1986)
Deadly Friend is a science-fiction horror film produced by Warner Bros. in 1986. It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin (Jacob's Ladder, The Time Traveler's Wife) and directed by Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wishmaster). The films stars Matthew Labyorteaux (The Love Boat, Little House on the Prairie) as Paul Conway, Kristy Swanson (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Samantha Pringle, and Anne Ramsey (Alf, Throw Momma From the Train) as Elvira Parker. Already only loosely based on the novel Friend by Diana Henstell, the film faced troublesome production and was only mildly received. Deadly Friend received three award nominations from the Young Artists Awards.
Paul Conway is a typical science geek who just moved into a new town. However, unlike most geeks, he has built himself a robot friend named BB. His neighbors show an interest in the robot and soon he makes friends with the paperboy Tom and the cute girl-next-door Samantha. His other neighbor Elvira, a crotchety old woman with a shotgun, does not take kindly to BB and threatens him. The local stock bully Carl also grows a distaste for BB after he crushes his genitals in response to throwing his nerdy creator into the garbage. It does not take long after a game of ding-dong-ditch that BB comes to his end at the end of the barrel of Elvira's shotgun and Samantha is pushed down the stairs by her abusive father. After learning that her life-support plug will be pulled, Paul fuses BB's microchip with her brain, reviving her. As a machine, Samantha begins to take deadly revenge on those that brought misery to her and Paul.
Deadly Friend was originally more tame than the final product. Wes Craven wanted to tell a more subtle story, focusing more on the romance between Paul and Sam. However, when the then-finished film was shown to a test audience, many who were familiar with Craven's other works such as A Nightmare on Elm Street claimed that they were disappointed in the lack of gore and violence. Warner Bros. demanded that several scenes in the film be re-shot to suit audience demands of what they thought a Wes Craven film should contain. Many scenes were re-done or heavily modified to be darker and bloodier, including the infamous basketball death scene of which the film is most often remembered for today. Upon its public release, many critics found Deadly Friend to be unoriginal, comparing the concept to films such as E.T. and Short Circuit, and the death scenes themselves to be heavily ripped-off from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Despite Craven's resistance to the new scenes, many critics accused him of these unoriginal ideas. Because of this, Wes Craven has shown little love for the film.
Because of a lack of interest in the film from both Craven and his audience, it is difficult to know how many and which scenes were added or changed in Deadly Friend. The film has yet to receive any kind of Special Edition release with any kind of bonus feature. Instead, a small group of passionate fans has attempted to document as many changes to the film as can be found.
A small group of fans of Deadly Friend has been requesting for the director's cut of the film, the version aired for the original test audience, to be released on home media. Two petitions have been started requesting that Warner Bros. either release the original director's cut of the film or allow a company such as Shout! Factory to do so. The first can be found on change.org, the second can be found on The Petition Site. A YouTube video containing several photos and screencaps of the missing scenes was produced by user Jack Craven here.