Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and God Hates Geeks.
Fear and Loathing in South Africa
In the genre-defying Fried Barry, Barry is a heroin junkie that consistently roams the streets and slinks through the slums of South Africa looking for his next score. He has a female significant other at home as well as a young boy who may or may not be his son, but drugs are his priority. Barry is an abusive lowlife that avoids responsibility whose life only seems to benefit from him being abducted by aliens.
An alien visits Earth as a tourist by taking residence within Barry’s body. The alien somehow manages to undergo more drugs, have more sex, dish out more violence, and fix Barry’s at-home life within a couple of days. The alien witnesses more excitement in a matter of hours than most humans experience in their lifetime.
Fried Barry is a film that combines elements from the sci-fi, horror, and comedy genres while incorporating a ton of the bizarre resulting in a film that is totally unpredictable. It’s gross and nauseating at times, but also impossible to look away from because it’s so unusual.
The film begins with a heroin trip where Barry shares needles with a guy he meets at a bar. This guy has this incredible rant about Mickey Mouse, why he wears gloves, and why he has a dog. He settles on Mickey having human qualities that are somehow highlighted by the gloves. He believes that Walt Disney watched a lot of vaudeville with characters that were in black face and wore white gloves that were transitioned over to Disney’s central animated character. The use of heroin at the beginning is worth noting since it makes it seem as if the entire film is just a bad trip.
The film is kind of smarmy and grungy before the abduction, but it jumps into full on weirdness once Barry enters the UFO. In between multiple strings of laser light injections that seem to penetrate every one of Barry’s orifices and his floating sneakers that somehow got kicked off during liftoff, a probe-like injection is infused into Barry through his urethra.
Once Alien-Barry returns to Earth, he goes to a club where he ingests a handful of ecstasy. He goes to another bar where the bartender tells him in more vulgar fashion that he’ll never get laid. Alien-Barry then goes into the men’s restroom where he’s mesmerized by a man getting fellatio by another man. He then has protected sex with a random woman from the bar who tells him he needs to make more noise during sex. Alien-Barry settles on shouting, “Woo,” often and repeatedly in between the woman’s moaning and groaning.
Later, Alien-Barry meets a prostitute that he has unsafe sex with. His ejaculate is black and causes the woman to go into an accelerated pregnancy where she goes into childbirth and has said baby all within a matter of minutes. Alien-Barry is then thrown out by her pimp. Alien-Barry spends a lot of time roaming South Africa aimlessly under the influence while flying and having a healing factor that Wolverine would be jealous of.
Alien-Barry is beaten up by a trio of men before being abducted by a hobo kidnapper that steals children. The two wrestle each other while holding a chainsaw. Alien-Barry gets the blame for child abductions and is arrested before being transferred to an insane asylum since he has limited dialogue and acts strangely. He then escapes the institution after one of its patients guides him to the exit using a security guard’s baton as a semi-automatic rifle.
Fried Barry is the type of film that could be explained from start to finish and it still wouldn’t accurately portray how insane it truly is. The film is extremely bright with exceptional colors overflowing from every sequence; it’s visually similar to Guns Akimbo without being quite so obnoxious.
Gary Green, who plays Barry, is also an untapped goldmine of lunacy. Green has worked with writer and director Ryan Kruger for many of Kruger’s projects, but has never been the lead actor before. Green was mostly an extra or did stunt work previously. But his quirky mannerisms sell his performance so fantastically well. His unique appearance and rubbery inhuman facial expressions really give the impression that he is an imposter in a human shell.
Fried Barry caters to a specific audience. It’s nasty and dirty and is fueled by an impressive amount of sex partners counterbalanced by surreal and disorienting drug binders. It also gets shockingly violent and unbelievably graphic at times. It’s the type of film that would be perfect as a midnight screening. It’s bonkers cinema that doesn’t make a ton of sense, but is enjoyable for its psychotic and erratic nature. It’s totally worth looking into if you’re a fan of ludicrously wild films or if you’re on the hunt for something totally different.
© 2020 Chris Sawin