FREEKZ; HIDEOUS MUTANT FREEKZ; VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE
What surprises about the finished film is the cocksure freshness of Tom Stern and Alex Winters attitude and the amazing degree of directorial self-assurance they display. The two take a vulgar joy in their cynicism. The film welcomely walks all over any potential seriousness of its messages. Despite familiar anti-corporate and corporate pollution themes, they take the piss out of environmental protesters and mercilessly slam the mock New Age sensitivity of its characters. The film also allows a number of Hollywood names to send themselves up including Alex Winters Bill and Ted co-star Keanu Reeves unrecognisable under makeup as a dog boy, Brooke Shields as a tv host and particularly mid-80s icon Mr T parodying his strong and silent machismo as a mutant whose transformation from a truck driver into a bearded lady has allowed him to get in touch with his sensitive side.
The appeal of Freaked comes in the hilariously offbeat weirdness of its humour the toad guard who can catch rabbits and later small passing planes with his tongue; the suspense scene with Alan Zuckermans geeky nerd creeping through a conference room and freezing when he drops something, the camera pulling back to reveal he is standing frozen in the middle of the room, in everybodys view but completely unnoticed; an hilarious scene where several people, including Alan Zuckerman and a good deal of junk are sucked out of an open plane door, which a stewardess then walks over to and calmly closes. The makeup effects which combine the efforts of three separate effects companies offer an amazing parade of oddities, including large worms with human features, dog boys, a (literal) cowboy and ambulatory Rastafarian eyeballs. Performances rise to a high standard, with Randy Quaid, who plays the mad scientist role as a sort of demented snake oil salesman, stealing most of the film with a joyously OTT dementia where he seems to be having the most fun he has had in a film in some time.
Subsequent to Freaked, Alex Winter has made various other acting appearances. He has directed one other theatrical film, the claustrophobic psycho-thriller Fever (1999), several Ben 10 tv movies and two documentaries about various aspects of internet culture with Downloaded (2013) and Deep Web (2015). Tom Stern works as a gag writer and occasional director on various comedy series. His one other contribution to genre cinema was co-writing the screenplay for An American Werewolf in Paris (1997).
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