ALEX WINTER?S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES

The short blonde dude talks about ?Bill and Ted?s Bogus Journey? and ?Freekz,? which he plans to shoot maybe in Brazil, maybe in North Hollywood.

After collecting cohorts and vanquishing villains past and future and emerging most triumphantly in the present, Bill and Ted should be content to rest on their excellent laurels - n?est-ce-pas?

No way, dude!  Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the phone booth, our heroes return to give us a taste of the underworld and the afterlife.

So forget the history lesson and get set to meet those most otherworldly personages: God, Satan, the Easter Bunny, and that Twister playing dude of death - the Grim Reaper.

Most of the original cast return for this second film, Bill and Ted?s Bogus Journey, including Alex Winter, a laid-back Bill to Keanu Reeves? Ted.

Winter says the first film was fun to make, but he came back to do ?Bogus Journey? largely out of dissatisfaction.

"I just think there were elements of the characters that could have been explored more," he says.

"I honestly thought we could make a better movie."

According to Winter, the film has more to offer in the way of plot, as well as a funnier script from screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon.

In addition, some minor character changes make Bill and Ted more universally appealing, Winter adds.

"They are no longer in high school, so they?re slightly different guys," he says.  The two are now roommates in their own apartment.

"They still haven?t learned to play their instruments worth a damn, so things are looking pretty bleak," says Winter.  "These are two characters who are struggling desperately to make it in the world."

Our heroes bogus journey picks up where Bill and Ted?s Excellent Adventure began - in the future.

The year is 2691 A.D. in a learning center at Bill and Ted University, the teaching methods of Bill and Ted discovered with the help of Rufus, played in both films by comedian George Carlin, are being passed on to future generations of potentially excellent students.

Enter the villain, egregiously evil De Nomolos, played by Joss Ackland or Lethal Weapon II and Object of Beauty.

Determined to rid the world of all memory of those "buffoons" Bill and Ted, he employs the ultimate secret weapon - the heinous robot twins of Bill and Ted.

But the real Bill and Ted will stop him, if they can just get a life - literally!

In one of Winter?s favorite scenes, evil Bill and Ted convince good Bill and Ted they are them and that their women are somewhere in Death Valley.

"Then they drive them way out in the desert and push (the good guys) off a cliff," says Winter.

"What always cracks me up are Bill and Ted?s completely convoluted thought processes.  They always try to work things out scientifically," he adds.

Their journey to regain their lives forces them to confront Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, according to Winter.

But of course, our heroes maintain their legendary aplomb.

"That?s what makes the film funny . . . these guys are so laissez-faire and here they are confronting Satan, and it?s like, ?Hey, Dude!?" says Winter.

Among Bill and Ted?s other goals is to win their local Battle of the Bands competition.  Here, however, they face a most tremendous challenge, as the film features a special appearance by Faith No More lead guitarist Jim Martin.

How does it end?  Scope the screen in July and find out.


Beyond Bill and Ted

But there is much more to Alex Winter than bogus journeys and excellent adventures.

Case in point: Stern-Winter Productions.

While studying film at New York University in 1983, Winter teamed up with classmate Tom Stern, founded Stern-Winter Productions and began making films of his own.

Since then, the two have amassed a bodacious body of work, including the CBS Earth Day special, Hard Rock Caf? Presents: Save the Planet, and videos for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ice Cube.

One of Winter?s favorite projects is Entering Texas, a short film featuring the Butthole Surfers.  The plot is about a family that goes to a Texas barbecue and never leaves.

"It?s quite disturbing," says Winter.

Most recently, Winter and Stern wrote, produced, directed and starred in Idiot Box, a series of short skits that aired on MTV.

While Winter says he was pleased with the project, a lack of funds has put it in limbo.

Currently, Winter and his partner Stern are shopping around their latest project: "Freekz."

This full-length feature revolves around a brat pack actor who happens to be the spokesman for a sham chemical company that sells toxics to South America.

When the actor travels to the jungle to make a commercial for the bad guys, he gets sidetracked by a local freak show.

The major twist comes when the actor gets turned into a freak.

"It?s like ?Island of Dr. Moreau? meets Bugs Bunny," says Winter.  "It?s a wacked-out comedy with some really interesting characters."

Winter says he is doing a major rewrite on the project and, if he can find the right studio, hopes to start shooting in October.

Where?

"South America, maybe Brazil, maybe North Hollywood, depending on our budget."

Pitching the project is Winter?s most tremendous ordeal at the moment - something that requires 95 percent more time and effort than the actual making of the film.

"You can be speaking to these glazed zombies sometimes, and it can be a real challenge to penetrate that cranium.

"You?re amazed once you are really on the set with a camera rolling," says Winter.

And if the wrong producer catches your pitch?

"It would be like allowing your child to have his arm hacked off and letting a gross metallic one be sewn on," Winters graphically declaims.

"Freekz," as you might have gathered, is a labor of love, and this mucho ambitious filmmaker isn?t exactly predicting a blockbuster hit.

"I hope it will be a successful film," says Winter.  "But it?s not Pretty Woman.  We?re talking about a freak."