review for Freaked on AllMovie

Freaked (1993)
by Jason Buchanan review

A colorful, kinetic, and crazed concoction of surreal imagery and absurdist humor, Alex Winter and Tom Stern's demented masterpiece gleefully resigns itself to chaos from the opening credits, never looking back to take pause and lunging forward into oblivion with reckless abandon. Originally intended as a motion picture vehicle for equally absurd rockers the Butthole Surfers (singer Gibby Haynes can be spotted during the tent riot), and later attempted to be neutered by the studios (action figures were actually produced and sold), Freaked somehow managed to survive studio mangling to become one of the most outrageous - though least known - comedies of the 1990s. Unfortunately for Stern and Winter, confused distributors simply had no idea how to market the film and simply released it on a city to city basis for the moviegoing public to ignore. Thankfully the film found new life on video and cable, eventually gaining a loyal following thanks to devoted fans who just couldn't get enough of Stern and Winter's chaotic brand of humor as displayed in their short-lived MTV series, The Idiot Box. Randy Quaid is at his campy best as sleazy freak-maker Eliza C. Skuggs, Mr. T is unforgettable as the bearded lady, and Winter himself is in top form as the cocky, smarmily snide former child star turned biohazardous product-endorsing Ricky Coogan. With the jokes coming as fast as they do, some expectedly fall flat, while others, more often than not, score a direct hit. A loud and noise-infested soundtrack (courtesy of the Buttholes and Henry Rollins among others) is the perfect compliment to this laugh-laden nightmare of a comedy, constantly bursting with energy at all the right turns. Although it's a shame that the film was largely ignored during initial release, it's nice to see it finding a second life on the small screen. Keep a sharp eye out for a heavily made-up cameo by Winter's Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure cohort Keanu Reeves as Ortiz, the Dog Boy.