This movie is made for DVD. A cult classic to be sure.
Visually, I expected more from this movie.
Freak Out is the funny story of Merv Doody. He is your typical lover of horror movies, the kind of guy who is a delayed adolescent, and has made his bedroom a shrine to the films he loves. Then one day, a mental patient shows up on his doorstep and he and his buddy Onkey decide that they will turn him into the homicidal maniac of their dreams. Sadly, this fun experiment turns gruesome when the maniac turns on them, and these two misfits are forced to save the day.
This film is filled with all manner of offensiveness. It has nudity, gore, bad language, "arse piranhas," and everything else one might imagine a movie like this would. It's as if from the beginning Freak Out wanted to be nothing more than a cult classic, and usually when films go down that road they end up not succeeding for one reason or another. Christian James and his team make this film work because they never try and make it be anything other than what it is. They are under no illusions and that is why Freak Out can be a jaw dropping experience.
This track features Dan Palmer, James Heathcoate, Christian James, Nicola Connell and Chili Gold. It is moderated by movie critic James King. There is a separate track that features Christian James, Dan Palmer, and Yazz Fetto. I decided to listen to the one where there weren't as many voices, simply because I prefer those to ones where everyone is talking at once. While I don't know that the pared down version was any more serious, it was interesting hearing these guys recount things about the movie that took them so long to make. From coming up with the ideas, for why certain scenes came out how they did, to what was going on on a particular day of shooting, it was nice getting the feel of the real low budget film world again.
A featurette that examines the trials and tribulations of making Freak Out. It looks at what it took to get this movie completed, the highs and lows that come with being a little film company going up against giants, and ultimately it seems like things ended in triumph for the creators of this film. While I am sort of numb to these things on bigger budgeted films, I find that I really like them on the lesser known titles.
Zaniac Music Video
Not really too sure how I should describe this only that it features a "sketch" of the characters from this film. It is sort of riff on the themes that this movie incorporates, and it really does a fine job of bringing all of this across within one encapsulated sketch. I can't say that I thought it was the greatest thing I ever watched, or that I even got the entire joke, but I do give the people credit for putting this on here.
5 Minute Film School
I love Robert Rodriguez but if anybody is ripe for some kind of mockery it's him. I mean, without even trying Rodriguez is supercool, so I honestly think that this segment is an example of the idea that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Basically, Rodriguez does something like this on all of this DVDs, yet the Freak Out guys take great pleasure in lampooning it. My hope is that with this DVD getting a solid release, Rodriguez, if he really is the "fanboy" he says he is, will hopefully find this disc in his player at some point.
Honey, I Blew Up the Looney
The Video Store Short Film
There are 17 deleted scenes on this second disc. Normally, I feel that these things can be somewhat redundant, but I don't think that that was the case on this disc. As this movie is an independent film of the highest order, I feel that with all this extra footage it is very possible that the movie could have gone in several different directions. While Christian James ultimately settled on one course with this film, if one were to rewatch it they would surely see in what other places the story could have gone.
Widescreen - 1.85:1 enhanced for 16x9 TVs. This movie looks like it was shot on an 8mm video camera from 1997. It isn't that I have a problem with that, I just expected this film to look better than it does. The DVD packaging and everything else is presented really professionally, but the film itself seems like it was thrown in the street before it was telecined. It isn't as if you can't see what was on screen, but I remember when I watched this movie with my friend, he started laughing when he realized it was a two disc set and thusly declared, "Why is it on two discs?"
Dolby Digital 5.1 - Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound of this movie was fine. I didn't notice anything that took me out of the horror world that it was going for. In fact, one of the really cool things is how they have employed the soundtrack to give it even more of a scary vibe. Freak Out is the kind of movie that's hard to come out against because it isn't like it's aspiring to be anything great in the first place. It's just a solid good time.
Merv and Onkey are featured on this front cover which has the Jason Vorhees like killer in between them. The back shows the killer, it gives a description of the movie, it also offers up all the Special Features on the two discs, and it even has some minor technical specs. Both of these discs are housed inside one amaray case with a set of directions inside on "How to Make A Movie Like Freak Out." Once again, Anchor Bay shows that packaging is everything.
What surprised me the most about this film is that Anchor Bay has brought it out like it's a George Romero film, however the look and directorial style of this movie isn't on that level. I am not trying to slag this film or demean Christian James' accomplishment. He has made a movie that pushes the envelope in more ways than one, and the fact that Freak Out got released in a two disc set should give hope to low budget filmmakers like myself the world over. Aside from the look of this film, which is really pretty minor in my opinion, I think it's great that a movie that would have heretofore gone unknown is going to get the kind of release and treatment usually reserved for bigger films.
While not a typical horror movie, Freak Out might just be the first splatterfest to also engage the world of Monty Python.
Freak Out was released October 15, 2004.