Monday, May 24, 2010

Slasher Crap: Ice Cream Man

At face value, there's nothing really notable about this movie.  Made in 1995, this film is another slasher film with a quirky lead and almost nothing else of note.  However, there are a couple subtle things to note here.  First off, the movie was directed by Paul Norman, the pseudonym of Norman Apstein- a man whose career is 99.9% porn.  Seriously, this guy made this movie as a 'straight' film, but has 121 other credits that include stuff like Stick It In The Rear, Intercourse with a Vampire & the Edward Penishands trilogy (yes, there are at least three).  Secondly, the film was co-written by Sven Davison and David Dobkin.  The first has one writing credit to his name, while Dobkin has gone on to direct Shanghai Knights, Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus.  Yeah- he started here!  Lastly- and most importantly-, the film stars my aunt (Andrea Evans) as a slutty housewife.  The only actor in my family line is a soap opera actress who tried to break into mainstream cinema.  The result: a very minor role in A Low Down Dirty Shame and an uncredited role in a film called The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them.  Will my family live this movie down or will it raise us up?  Find out in my review of...
The film begins in the past with an ice cream man being gunned down in a drive-by shooting from the mob.  How do we know it's the past?  Because this part is in black-and-white, silly!  In the present day, the young man who witnessed the death has grown up to be Clint Howard- you poor bastard!  He has grown up to become an ice cream man himself, proving that no job has any sort of screening process.  As if we didn't know that he was the bad guy, his truck is full of bugs and body parts.  Yeah, apparently he's one of those independent ones who has no sort of boss or inspections.  We are introduced to a group of kids that are going to be our protagonists.  They're all pretty stock, including the small kid, the spunky girl and the fat kid.  Fun fact: their 'fat kid' is a normal-sized kid wearing what's clearly a pillow under his shirt.  The neighborhood is full of characters, including the girl's father, who's played by David Warner.  You never did get over everyone thinking they really killed you in The Omen, did you?  He plays a preacher, but ultimately adds nothing to the story.  In his first scene, we also see a janitor of some sort with a sharp stick.  He's killed off-screen by Howard and his stick is found later as proof.  Wow, you were pointless too.
Eventually, the titular villain captures one of the kids.  The 'fat' kid sees this happen and tells the police.  They go to Howard's abode and smash up his building full of ice cream supplies and equipment.  They leave when they find nothing...because they never check his truck.  Seriously, why don't they check his truck?  The kid had to have said 'he took the kid into his truck,' but they still don't look.  Oh yeah, the cops are played by Jan-Michael Vincent and Lee Majors II.  I know what you're wondering and 'yes, this is the biggest thing that Lee ever did.'  Well, aside from an obligatory role in all of the Six-Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman crossovers- big surprise.  In spite of not finding anything, they suspect Clint of something and have him followed at all times.  Hello, lawsuit against the city!  As it turns out, he's actually kept the kid alive and has him locked away in the building that the police already searched.  The kid comes down with Stockholm's Syndrome very quickly it seems & he never tries to escape.  The kids take matters into their own hands and try to find evidence of the murders.  They take pictures of the inside of his truck, but that plot point won't be important until later.  After being propositioned by the slutty housewife (my aunt) earlier, he kills her beau and kills her.  Oh well, at least you got to go out with a silly effects shot...
Things don't go well for anyone involved, but especially for the town's random inhabitants.  The brother of the 'fat' kid confronts him about using his film for the pictures, since they have shots of him and his girlfriend having sex.  The point of this: to toss in some nudity.  Well, at least it wasn't my aunt!  The older brother is a wannabe cop and goes with the kid to catch the killer.  As it turns out, his 'I've got the gun- the badge will come later' plan fails and he gets killed alongside his lady.  The kids run around in fear as the villain uses the decapitated heads of the tailing policemen from earlier as puppets.  We get more chasing and stalking until the captured kid finally comes to his senses and aids his friends.  On the police side of the story, they find out about Howard's time in an asylum and visit it, only to discover that the patients are actually more sane than the doctors!  They casually-escape a riot and rush to the villain's lair.  Despite both of them being twice Clint's size, they accomplish nothing.  In the end, the captured kid rips off Friday the 13th: Part Four, knocks Howard into an ice cream mixer and the day is saved.  In the Epilogue, however, we learn that the kid is now insane, giving us a sequel bait ending that never got followed up on.
This is a very bad movie.  Don't get me wrong- it's pretty harmless and stupid.  The story is incredibly-stock and the only creativity has gone into some of the effects shots.  Most of the kills are either dull or are done off-screen.  Hell, my aunt only gets to do her best Jamie Lee Curtis scream before her throat is cut (I guess) in an off-screen shot.  All we get is the 'blood hitting the killer's face' scene to signify death- lame.  If you're going to kill one of my relatives, at least do it right!  The movie's pacing is a bit off, because it chose to do all of the 'flashbacks to Howard's treatment' scenes at random points in the movie.  You can't throw that in during the credits or anything?  The effect of this is to constantly stop what little plot the movie has going to make these bizarre scenes have room.  Do we need all of them?  No.  Just a hint to any future filmmakers that hire Clint Howard- one look at his face tells me that he's probably crazy.  If you feel the need to give me several scenes explaining why he's like that- just stop.  If you like shitty movies, this has a ton of those cliched conventions to laugh at.  It also has a cadre of actors that should/used to be able to do better, which is just icing on the cake.  For strong-willed fans of stupid cinema, this is a good viewing.
Next up, can you be a horror comedy without telling a single joke?  Tomorrow's crap film tries to answer that question.  Stay tuned...


  1. I have never brought myself to watch this one, the cover just turns me off immediately since I can only assume it will be the lamest of lame.

  2. The best part though: there's actually a separate film called 'Mr. Ice Cream Man,' which I don't think is related. I may have to review that in the future alongside 'We All Scream For Ice Cream.'