1993, PG-13, 86 min. Directed by Tom Stern, Alex Winter. Starring Alex Winter, Randy Quaid, William Sadler, Megan Ward, Mr. T, Brooke Shields.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Jan. 28, 1994

Originally titled Hideous Mutant Freekz (!), this horror/comedy/environmental/love story tells the tale of young Hollywood pitchman Ricky Coogan (Winter), who, along with his pal Ernie (Sadler) and reluctant girlfriend Julie (Ward), finds himself at the mercy of a backwoods mad scientist, Elijah C. Skuggs (Quaid), who runs a freak show entirely created by himself (with the help of his freak machine and some noxious green goop that's definitely not approved by the FDA). Ernie and Julie end up fused together like Siamese twins, while obnoxious Ricky is turned into a half-man, half-nightmare Beastboy. Thrown together with the rest of the formerly normal freaks (Sockhead, Cow Boy, The Worm, et al.), they must concoct a plan to escape before the diabolical Skuggs goes through with his plan to turn the whole world into similar monstrosities. Strikingly dumb at times and surprisingly witty at others, Freaked is 80 minutes of cool music, eye-popping (heh, heh) effects, and generally sophomoric humor that never really transcends the limits of its makers. Stern and Winter have previously collaborated on MTV's The Idiot Box, as well as two shorts (Squeal of Death and Aisles of Doom), as well as having a hand in the Butthole Surfers video/film shot out at the old Coxville zoo. It's too bad their genuinely warped sense of humor can't sustain a film this long. With all the bad gags coming at you every three seconds, it's sometimes hard to make out the good ones (though various anti-celebrity cameos help: “Gibson J. Haynes” and Larry “Bud” Melman, among others). To be fair, there are some genuinely funny bits here, but the film's aim is so scattershot that it never really comes together like it should, and, as a result, it rarely rises above the level of Mel Brooks on a bad day.

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Freaked, Tom Stern, Alex Winter, Alex Winter, Randy Quaid, William Sadler, Megan Ward, Mr. T, Brooke Shields

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