You probably only know him from Bill n’ Ted’s, but Alex Winter (and his longtime filmmaking partner, Tom Stern) is also responsible for one of the 90’s funniest movies: Freaked, an Airplane!-like comedy with the most ridiculous plot ever: a crazed circus owner (Randy Quaid) captures beloved former child star Ricky Coogin (Winters) and his friends, performs mad science experiments on them, and adds them to his growing menagerie of sideshow oddities, including (but not limited to) Mr. T as a bearded lady, Bobcat Goldthwait as a Sock Puppet Head, and, in an uncredited role, Winter’s pal Keanu Reeves as Dog Boy.

The plot is idiotic, but… duh… that’s the point. It’s all the brilliant gags and set-ups Winters and Stern come up with that makes this thing such a fun ride, from the one liners (“Twelve milkmen is theoretically possible. Thirteen… is silly”) to some clever editing gags involving exploding airplane stock footage. Brooke Shields has a cameo just so they can say Brooke Shields is in the movie, but you can’t blame them. The whole thing is just silly and fun.

The tragedy of Freaked is, like so many other unknown gems, it was a victim of Hollywood studio head turnover. First, the new studio head had its budget cut, then it was put on a shelf, and finally, it was released on a whopping 2 movie screens before ending up on home video. Back in the days of the video store, however, word of mouth slowly turned Freaked into a cult hit, and over the years I’ve met many a fan who holds warm, fuzzy feelings towards this little indie effort. Join us.

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