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FREAK OUT

No budget British comedy-horror from 2005.  It’s utterly ludicrous, trashy and obnoxious--and also pretty damn funny! 

The Package 
     This 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.
 

The Story 
     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 supermarket.
     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!

The Direction 
     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.
 

Vital Statistics  

FREAK OUT
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
 


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