Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Bodies Are Freaky

I have been extremely lucky in my life as an entertainment personality-type person to have already had the chance to podcast with Chris Landon twice before (most recently about the movie Carrie).

Not only is Chris the writer-director of Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, and his new upcoming feature Freaky, co-written with Michael Kennedy, but he’s also one of the most genuinely nice guys working in the industry today.

He did nothing to dim that impression when we sat down for this interview where we chat about Freaky, how a pitch rehearsal turned into a full-on partnership, the importance of giving a queer character time to shine, how to turn your home into the perfect Freaky viewing environment, and (definitely most importantly) what we’re watching during quarantine.

One thing that we hit on in our discussion is the queer element of Freaky, which is certainly foregrounded: one of the lead characters is a queer teen. But that isn’t the only way Freaky, which was written by two gay men, is a queer film. At the center of Freaky is the idea of the body swap, a concept that most would look on as fodder for comedy and wacky impressions. And yes, of course it provides that. But for queer audiences in particular, this can resonate more deeply. There’s nobody in the world who hasn’t wished their body looked different at some point in their life. But the very notion of being queer means rebelling against the strict parameters that society has set for the type of body you live in, from how you look and who you love, all the way on down to little things like what movies you’ll like or what color clothes you should wear.

Having an identity that doesn’t match the body you were born in obviously comes with the territory for trans and nonbinary folks, but even cisgender queer people (“cisgender” means that your gender identity matches your birth sex) feel societal pressure about their behavior not matching the meat puppet they’re piloting around. There are few cis gay men who haven’t at least once wish they could have been born with a vagina so that they could publicly hold hands with a guy they’re dating without fear of blowback. Or cis lesbians who feel it would have been a damn sight more convenient to have been born with a penis so they wouldn’t be ostracized for the mere act of loving.

These concepts might seem too highbrow for a simple slasher comedy, but I assure you they’re not. The body, and all the expectations placed on it, form the backbone of Freaky. Vince Vaughn might not be delivering a Socratic seminar about queer theory in this movie, but the idea that this film is born from would be treated much differently if it were written by a pair of straight, cisgender people.

But enough from me! Let’s hear from the man in his own words as we dissect everything that went into making this wild movie a reality!

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