No budget British comedy-horror from 2005. It’s
utterly ludicrous, trashy and obnoxious--and also pretty damn funny!
self-proclaimed “Ultimate Experience in Grueling Immaturity” turned up on the
heels of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, another British-made splatter comedy. One of FREAK
OUT’S creators likens it to SOUTH PARK and SHAUN OF THE DEAD to THE SIMPSONS,
which seems an apt comparison. While it didn’t attain the success of SHAUN,
FREAK OUT was a minor cult hit.
It was financed, so the filmmakers claim, by money from a UK funding source
that initially turned them down. No problem: for their second funding request
writer/producers Dan Palmer and Christian James put together a video featuring
handicapped children--and, needless to add, got their funds.
Horror nerd Doody thinks he’s found his very own slasher icon when an
escaped mental patient turns up in his shower. Together with his loser buddy
Onkey, Doody endeavors to groom “Loony” into a Freddie Krueger-worthy
psycho--and as a bonus make loony do his household chores! Things get off to a
rocky start when Loony accidentally beats up Onkey and spills hot grease on his
crotch, leaving him with “Kentucky Fried Testicles.” Doody also has trouble
coming up with a suitable four-syllable moniker (all the iconic psychos have
four-syllable names) for Loony, eventually settling on...Larry Hagman! Which is
appropriate, as the real Larry Hagman is set to make an appearance at the local
But Loony takes to his role of homicidal maniac with a bit too much
enthusiasm. After killing some innocent people in a park he goes nuts and
massacres the supermarket’s entire clientele. He tops this off by offing all
Doody and Onkey’s friends at a party. At this point D&O decide they’ve had
enough. They rid themselves of Loony--or at least try to--by driving him to a
remote location and letting him off.
But they fail to take into account the local police force, which has taken
note of all the corpses that keep turning up. Doody is suspected of the
killings, and handcuffed and dragged to the police station--where, unbeknownst
to everyone, Loony awaits, ready for a final splatter showdown!
I wouldn’t call this a “good” movie by any stretch of the imagination, but
it is a funny one--in parts, at least. Like many comedies it proceeds in fits
and starts, with moments of inspired hilarity alternating with stretches of
unfunny nothingness. Of those inspired moments, an early TERMINATOR doll gag is
especially clever. So is Loony’s spatula fu of the final scenes and Doody’s
response to the command “Don’t even fart!”
In fact, if you can get past the trashy-looking cinematography, frequently
impenetrable English accents and clumsy gore setpieces, you’ll find the film is
fairly well made. The ever-mobile camerawork is pointed and forceful, and the
editing admirably kinetic. No, those seeking quality cinema won’t find much to
savor here, but FREAK OUT is good for some dumb laughs.
Beyond Therapy Entertainment
Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Christian James
Producers/Screenwriters: Dan Palmer, Christian James
Cast: James Heathcote, Dan Palmer, Nicola Connell, Yazz Fetto, Desmond Cullum-Jones,
James King, Tony Rogers