It wasn’t until the film became available to watch on cable — which is where many ’90s kids discovered it in the first place — that the film’s popularity began to coalesce. Megan Ward explained its appeal to Bullz-Eye.com, saying, “The thing is, it’s not for the uninitiated, it’s definitely the kind of material you’ve got to be down for, you gotta be really into it, because jokes go over most people’s heads — they don’t get it. But if you’re into these off-the-beaten-path, sort of obscure humor [types of films], it’s a gem. A total find.”
Do Tom Stern and Alex Winter have any regrets about the way that “Freaked” entered the world? Maybe some. Stern acknowledges that it was a tough experience for him to go through while it was happening, the disappointment of having poured so much energy into something that was essentially being abandoned led him to struggle with feelings of depression. Winter regrets the fact that they didn’t get to finish the production the way they would have wanted to. As he mentioned to Junk Food Dinner, “The hardest part about it was not being able to make a soundtrack, because we had Iggy Pop, because we had Motorhead, because we had the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That was a bummer.” Looking back, it’s certainly a “what might have been” moment for the two of them as directors: Had the film gotten a traditional theatrical release, it likely would have put them on the map, leading to bigger opportunities in Hollywood.
But at the same time, there’s a lot to be grateful for — the fact that the film got made at all, for example. “Looking back on it, we were just damn lucky that we were through the bulk of post when that happened. Because all I care about is that we made the damn movie … If the chairman had left six months earlier we wouldn’t have finished the movie,” Winter said. In a way, the journey of “Freaked” to cult status is entirely fitting with its bizarre, subversive nature. Maybe this was never meant to be a major studio release, but a strange little indie film that audiences had to discover. “The transition back in the day was sort of watching it go from something that started as a very small grassroots thing to blowing up into this big Hollywood thing, to it basically going back to being what we originally had in mind,” he told Nerdist. The path may not have been as smooth as they had originally envisioned, but it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate long-term success story for such a film.