Freaked (1993) – By Duane L. Martin

Freaked is one of those "one of a kind" movies. It basically looks and feels like one of Wierd Al Yankovic’s nightmares, only oddly enough, Weird Al had nothing at all to do with the film. The film was actually written by Alex Winter, Tim Burns and Tom Stern, and directed by Alex Winter and Tom Stern. Alex Winter, better known as Bill S. Preston Esquire from the Bill & Ted movies, never saw his career take off like his co-star Keanu Reeves’ career did, and when you watch this film, you’ll realize what a shame it is that it didn’t.

Alex Winter stars as Ricky Coogan, a well known actor who’s just made a five million dollar endorsement deal with the EES (Everything Except Shoes) Corporation to be the face of their fertilizer product in South America. A product that has been banned in the US for it’s toxic effects. So off to South America he goes along with his buddy Ernie (Michael Stoyanov) and an uninvited little kid named Stuey (Alex Zuckerman) who keeps following him around wanting his autograph. When they get to South America however, they find a group of protesters there protesting not only the fertilizer, but Ricky personally for endorsing it. One of the protesters catches Ricky’s eye and through a bit of deceit and a bad disguise, he manages to get her to travel with Ernie and himself. She finds out along the way that it’s him, but by then they’re on the road and it’s too late to do anything about it.

Enter the freak show. They come upon this freak show out in the middle of nowhere, and the girl Julie (played by the incredibly cute Megan Ward) practically has an orgasm over it and wants to stop to check it out. She’s absolutely enthralled by freak shows, and thinks they’re basically an art form celebrating those in our society who are different than everyone else.

Now enter the freak show’s proprieter, Elijah C. Skuggs (Randy Quaid). He’s not only the proprieter of the freak show, but thanks to the toxic fertilizer, he’s been able to create a machine that makes a green sludge that can turn ordinary people into freaks. And such was the fate of our three travelers. The rest of the movie involved them and the rest of the freaks trying to put a stop to Elijah’s evil plans, and there’s not much point in getting into it because the basic plot is pretty simple. Stop the evil corporate jerks who are supplying Elijah with the fertilizer, stop Elija from making more freaks, etc…

What really makes this film unique is its look. It’s got a really cheesy and special look to it and the set design is just incredible. Whoever built these sets did an absolutely phenominal job, as they all look absolutely gorgeous and totally fit the whole freakshow image. Between the sets and the make-up and costumes, it literally looks like something out of a drug induced nightmare. Fortunately, it’s a nightmare you won’t want to wake up from. Cheese is the order of the day in this film, and you most definitely get a double helping of it.

The cast of bizarre characters was also a huge part of why this film was so cool. There’s a whole lot of extremely talented people playing extremely bizarre characters in this film, and it’s really they who bring the film to life. One major shocker you’ll get to see is Mr. T as the bearded lady. There’s also such freaks as Toad (Jaime Cardriche), who’s this huge guy covered with warts who can snatch up a rabbit at 15 years with his tongue and eat it. Then there’s Sockhead (Bobcat Goldthwait), who actually has another hand where his head should be, so he wears a sock puppet over it. Worm (Derek McGrath) is a scientist who was studying worms when he showed up at the freak show, so Elijah turned him into one. Then we have The Eternal Flame (Lee Arenberg) who has a constant stream of flaming farts coming out of his butt. There are other freaks as well, but you get the idea. As if all that wasn’t bizarre enough, there’s also two Rasta eyeballs that Elija uses as enforcers called Rastafar-Eye. They walk around with uzi’s killing any freak who tries to escape.

This movie is so utterly strange that it has to be seen to be believed. What’s great about this Anchor Bay release is, you get to see everything. It’s a two disc set. Disc one has the movie and a lot of special features including commentary, deleted scenes, the screenplay, an interview and more. Disc 2 has a full length rehearsal version of the film, behind the scenes featurettes, a couple of short films by Alex Winter & Tom Stern, and more. It’s really a fully loaded package and Anchor Bay did an awesome job with their threatment of this release.

The disc is available at all the regular DVD outlets, but if you’d like to check out the Anchor Bay homepage for this film, you can take a freaky peek at it by clicking here.