NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05:  Actress Allison Williams and a person portraying the movie character M3GAN are seen outside the "Today Show" on January 5, 2023 in New York City.  (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
Movies - TV
Before M3GAN, There Was Wes Craven's Deadly Friend
“M3GAN” has earned rave reviews for both its entertainment value and its narrative ambition, but it’s actually not the first movie that features a high-tech automaton that goes on a killing spree. Back in 1986, Wes Craven tried the same formula in the sci-fi horror “Deadly Friend,” but the critical and financial reception to his efforts was unfortunately not as kind.
“Deadly Friend” is about a teenage computer prodigy who implants a robot’s processor into a brain-dead teenage neighbor named Samantha Pringle with whom he has a crush. The experiment proves to be successful but unfortunately, as all horror movies go, his crush swiftly goes on a killing spree in his neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the attempt to make a romance between a teenager and their resurrected crush was torpedoed by Craven's own success. Craven had established himself as a go-to horror director following the huge success of "A Nightmare on Elm Street," but "Deadly Friend" fell short of the studio's expectations for more blood and scary dream sequences.
The difference between “M3GAN” and “ Deadly Friend” is that the former did what Craven was trying to do whilst simultaneously acknowledging the fundamental camp of its premise. “M3GAN” has the human melodrama that “Deadly Friend” was going for, but it also takes absolute glee in letting its artificially intelligent surrogate friend go on a murderous rampage.