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Freaked (1993)

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Plot Summary:
"A company that produces a toxic chemical tries to improve its image via a popular spokesperson, Ricky Coogan. Ricky travels to South America to get a first-hand look at the chemical's effects and finds himself at a mutant freak farm. Elijah, who runs the farm, is only too happy to have new subjects on which to try his freak machine. The very chemical that Ricky is supposed to promote is the one responsible for creating the great variety of freaks."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 17 August 2004 My Rating: out of 5


Nothing works better in my book than comedy and horror. For the most part horror films are often played tongue-in-cheek and have subtle and sometime unintentional comedic undertones. So the problem that often occurs with a 'supposed to be scary' movie is that it becomes laughable even if it's not deliberate. And especially in this day and age cinema goers are becoming so desensitized to guts and gore that being frightened is almost absurd. So when your horror movies are funny you're open to a wider audience and you're not taking it too seriously. Nothing can go wrong. If your core horror fanatics hate it then anyone else looking for cheap laughs and mindless fun will lap it up.

Who better to be part of a oddball spoof adventure involving sideshow freaks, corny gags and a pair of Jamaican speaking eye-balls? Enter Mr Alex Winter. Actor, writer and director Winter, best known as half of the unforgettable cult comedy duo Bill and Ted, knows all about off-the-wall comedy. And Freaked is abundant with it.

Winter plays Ricky Coogan, a much loved actor who is suspiciously chosen, well bribed, into becoming a spokesperson for a toxic chemical company. On a drive across country to promote the new chemical Ricky, his best friend Ernie (played by Blossom's Michael Stoyanov) and Julie (Megan Ward) an activist against the chemical decide to stop off briefly at the local freak show. Where they discover that the very chemical that Ricky is supposed to promote is the one responsible for creating the great variety of freaks there. And unfortunately for Rick and company they've just become part of the show.

There is a blitz of visual and verbal gags during the movie, some better than others. It's purely played for laughs and for most part gets them. It's a wee bit tacky and cheap on occasions but its over-the-top fun, which is great, it's not taking itself too seriously and there are signs of brilliance in places.

Co-director Tom Stern (who incidentally co-wrote the 1997 comedy/horror sequel An American Werewolf in Paris), along with Alex Winter have done a decent job here. There are a few notable appearances in the movie, including Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey co-star William Sadler. The cast also includes appearances by Bobcat Goldthwait, Morgan Fairchild and Mr. T. And not to mention freak show owner Elijah C. Skuggs played by the legend that is Randy Quaid.

If you enjoy mindless fun, sickly toilet humour, vomit gags, comedy freaks, violence, irreverent absurdity and Keanu Reeves as a dog boy then what have you got to lose?!

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