18 June 2003 | Pasafist
#1 in Passafist's The Great Films
The following is the first in a series I shall call: PASSAFIST: The Great Films.
`.Repeat The Flying Gimp Has Been Destroyed, You May Return To Your Homes'
In 1994 I was plagued by the realization that I had not answered the age-old question: `How many feminist does it take to screw in a light bulb?' I figured if anyone could help me out maybe the god of cinema could help me. Unfortunately, all of Buster Keaton's films are silent. Then one afternoon in my television broadcasting class, I stumbled across the answer. I discovered Alex Winter and Tom Stern's FREAKED. The answer to my question and many more were now answered.
Alex Winter (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) plays Ricky Coogan, a Hollywood action comedy star, sent to Santa Flan (named for the Patron Saint of Creamy Deserts) South America to be the spokesperson for a `controversial new fertilizer called Zygrot-24.' He and His Buddy Ernie (Michael Stoyanov, TV's `Blossom') go there to check it out. There they meet Julie (The Under-appreciated Megan Ward, PCU) an environmental protestor whose come to Santa Flan to `Pelt Ricky Coogan with Cow [Dung].' The three of them meet up with Elijah C. Skuggs (Randy Quaid, in one of the best performances of his life), proprietor of `Freek Land.' And he turns them into freaks. Ricky, Ernie, and Julie join up with Skuggs' other Mutant creations, including a Bearded Lady (Mr. T, `Rocky III'), The Human Worm (Derek McGrath, Inherit the Wind), and Sockhead, the human Sock Puppet (Bobcat Goldthwait, Blow). Also, look and see if you can spot Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Reloaded), I won't even tell you who he is.
This is a great comedy. Sure the plot is paper thin, but like all great silly comedy's this one has real moxie (no, not the drink that tastes like tree bark). Jokes fly left and right and most if not all of them actually work. (Hey Rob Schnieder, watch this movie please!) I especially enjoyed the freaks Hollywood Squares, The origin of the freaky hammer, and finally another age-old question is answered, How many Milkmen can you have on one route? The answer is twelve, now thirteen that's just crazy.
Randy Quaid is incredible in this film. He embodies the villain with such force and style. He plays the character so straight; it's really great. Any lesser actor would have turned him into a cartoon. It's a shame his performance is so rarely seen. It's too bad the film got such lousy treatment from 20th Century Fox. (I say this and I mean it, so don't beat me up) His performance is Oscar caliber, I mean it, I'm convinced it one of the greatest comic performances of the 90's.
Alex Winter and Tom Stern (MTV's The Idiot Box) do a great job keeping the jokes coming. I also likes the small details, the quick jokes you don't even realize you looking at. For instances there is a tribute to Ray Harryhausen, in the appearcence of the Cyclops from THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, followed by Gumby and Pokey well doing something they shouldn't be doing. I didn't realize this until I watched for the third or fourth time. Great Stuff!
But not only that. The film has some really great visual and make-up effects. Screaming Mad George (who made me sick with his hideous make-up effect in Society) ups the ante with his freak make-up. They all look amazing, especially Ricky Himself and Cowboy. Gene Warren JR's (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) visual Effects team also does a bang up job. This film was made at the end of the golden age of real-life visual effects, I doubt computers would have improved this film at all.
FREAKED also has one of the best musical soundtracks I've ever heard. It's also a shame that the album was never released, original music by Henry Rollins, George Clinton, The Butthole Surfers, and Blind Idiot God, make for a really great soundtrack.
This film was caught in an upheaval when 20th Century Fox named a new president. Fortunately the studio allowed it to be finished, but then the studio forgot about it, barely getting a theatrical release, and then being dumped out onto video. What a shame, The film has never been released on DVD or Laserdisc either.
Did I mention that it also contains some of the best cameo's from early 90's, late 80's B-List Celebrity's Brooke Shield's (After Sex), Morgan Fairchild (Teddy Bears' Picnic), Calvert Deforest (Late Night with David Letterman), and David Bowe (UHF) all make an apperance.
If you're looking for a great night, Grab all your friends together, brew a big pot of CAFÉ BUSTILLO, and watch this movie. FREAKED is grade A+ Cult Classic fun.
Now my statement to 20th Century Fox: GIVE THIS MOVIE THE DVD RELEASE IT DESERVES. Thank You.