Okay, not every film is going to be on the AFI top one hundred lists. Some are just bad. While there are films that just turn out bad and unintentionally funny, there are cult classics like ‘Freaked’ that play up to the camp value with very funny results.
There is a rudimentary plot that serves only to set up the rapid-fire jokes and sight gags but overall this is funny flick.
As the film opens former child star Ricky Coogin (Alex Winter) is on a talk show (hosted by Brooke Shields as Skye Daley). He is in shadows, his hideously deformed face hidden from view. He tells his story of just how he came to such dire circumstances.
Trying to cash in on his waning fame Ricky makes a deal with super corporation EES (Everything Except Shoes), to help put a spin on their plan to dump their chemical, Zygrot 24 in South America.
Ricky sets off with his friend Ernie (Michael Stoyanov) to South America where they are greeted by a thong of protesters whose signs include an ‘I Like Ike’. Ricky is attracted to one activist, Julie (Megan Ward) who winds up traveling with the pair.
They come upon a Freak show owned by the very strange Elijah C. Skuggs (Randy Quaid) who offers them a private show. Instead of viewing the freaks Skuggs uses a contraption that seems right out or the Cat in the Hat to change them into freaks. Julie and Ernie are merged into a bizarre composite of the two, since they hate each other they become a one body two stooges. Ricky is mutated into a hideous thing with half his face that of a monster.
Once part of the freak show they learn the stories of how Skuggs created the group.
There is the militant Dog Boy (an un-credited Keanu Reeves in heavy makeup) who is a canine Che Guevara, out to liberate his freak brethren.
Mister T is the Bearded Lady, rough, strong and always ready to do a make over.
Bobcat Goldthwait is Sockhead, a man with the head of a sock puppet. Then there is Worm, a former professor turn into a giant worm.
Since he no longer has arms his greatest wish is to be able to wipe his own butt. Yes, that is the basic level of the jokes; there is no highbrow humor here. The jokes here are as fast paced as machine gun fire, one after another so quick you have to see this several time to even begin to catch them all.
While the humor is puerile, let's put it roughly at the six-grade level, it does hit home in that inner child within us all that still laughs at a good fart joke. You have to keep a sharp eye while watching this flick; the sight gags go by quickly, like the use of a dead mouse as the computer mouse for the freak creation machine.
When one character muses that the evil genius made good use of the space in his lair there is flashbacks with a Bob Villa look-a-like teaching Skuggs how to improve his quarters.
It is amazing that this film ever was completed; the cast should have been on the floor laughing throughout the production.
Alex Winter is best known as Bill in the two Bill and Ted flicks so he is no stranger to unconventional comedy. Here, part of the fun is although he knows this is a Grade B comedy he tries to play it straight to increase the laughs. His sense of comic timing is impeccable; if one joke fails the next is right there to take its place.
Michael Stoyanov will be familiar to fans of the old television series Blossom. He is not only a great straight man for Winter but joined at the hip with Megan Ward they provide good old fashion slap stick humor.
There is a running gag between Stoyanov and Ward. Although she repulses him he is always trying to cop a feel only to initiate a ‘Three Stooges’ like round of gouging and hitting. Randy Quaid is at his best when taking on quirky roles, the stranger the better.
Sure, he has done straight drama but he shines in a role like the one he has here where he can pull out all the stops and just let go. While Ward doesn’t have much screen time apart from Stoyanov she is a natural comedian. She plays the feminist eco-avenger with flair that is fun to watch.
The cast seemed to actually enjoy a film like this where anything and everything goes just as long as it may make the audience chuckle.
Alex Winters is not only the star of this flick but he co-wrote and co-directed it with his friend Tom Stern. Based on ideas from the short-lived sketch comedy show MTV featured in 1991, the duo lets loose with this and their best-known opus. The employ a myriad of animation, claymation and other wild special effects that will make your head spin.
From the opening credits, which to all appearances, where induced by some hallucinogen, there is little let up for the audience. The pair has a loose style in direction, trusting the natural abilities of the cast to carry the movie. It seems that point the cast more than direct it.
Anchor Bay is becoming one of the best studios for the release of little cult classics like Freaked. While many studios present frugal releases of the most popular films, Anchor Bay gives us a two disc special edition for Freaked.
The first disc contains the film and a commentary with Winters and Stern. It seems more like two guys looking back at their high school pranks then the usual commentary faire. They have a lot of the behind the scenes stories of just how this very strange flick came into existence.
After you have watched Freaked a couple of times go through it a couple more with the commentary track. The second disc has a DVD ROM version of the shooting script as well as conversation piece with writer Tim Burns.
There is some home movie like behind the scenes footage and several deleted scenes, part of the about 10 minutes cut from the original pre-release version.
Freaked is the perfect flick for a rainy Saturday, order a couple of pizzas, bring in a case of beer and invite your friends over for a good laugh.
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