Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Masters of Horror - We All Scream for Ice Cream (2007)

Remember the sweet days of summer as a kid? Endless days with no school, spent running through the neighborhood sprinklers, getting into trouble with your group of friends and harassing the nice ice cream man? Ya, those were the days…until they come back to haunt you.

Layne, his wife and his young son and daughter have just moved back to his old hometown. Everything is sweet suburban bliss until his childhood friends start disappearing/dying in suspicious and strange ways. They are seemingly melting, leaving behind only their clothes and a big gooey mess. Children in town are behaving oddly as well, including Layne’s own son and daughter. They wander around at night, waiting for the ice cream man to show up. It seems that when Layne and his buddies were kids, they caused the death of the local ice cream man. Now he’s back…for sweet revenge.

Now, I could go on and on about the disappointing Masters of Horror series, but we’ve been down that road one too many times. Sure, the Masters of Horror haven’t really lived up to their namesakes, but there have been a few episodes that were fairly impressive (sidenote: my personal favorites have been Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, Coscarelli’s Incident On and Off a Mountain Road and Argento’s Pelts.). Sadly, Tom Holland’s (Fright Night, Child’s Play) We All Scream for Ice Cream just ain’t one of ‘em.

Let me tell ya, if I was still a kid, I wouldn’t come anywhere near a man selling ice cream dressed in a clown suit. Clowns just freak me out and no matter what sweet serenade his ice cream truck played, he would not be able to lure me out from behind the safety of my mom’s apron. The premise of the clown ice cream man was a freakishly frightful idea in my mind, and I really hoped the creepiness factor would be bumped up.

Unfortunately, the clown looks more like a rejected member of the Insane Clown Posse that a scary spook.

Adding to the definitively un-scary atmosphere is the inclusion of voodoo as a means to an end for the all-grown-up gang that accidentally killed the clown. Voodoo can definitely be frightening, mind you, but not when it’s dispatched via a tasty cold treat in the shape of a man.

The acting is subpar, even for a Masters of Horror episode. The only real standout was William Forsythe as the clown. The character might not come off as scary (he’s more of a sympathetic character in my mind), but Forsythe completely envelopes himself in the role. He does such a fine job that he was unrecognizable to me until I saw his name in the credits. The rest of the cast, though, is mediocre to downright awful to watch.

There is little gore in this episode, though one backwoods bathtub scene stands out. The rest of the gore scenes show people rapidly melting into a rainbow-sherbet of slop. Nothing too impressive and the finale is just “meh.”

Tom Holland may have made some great films back in the day, like Child’s Play and Fright Night, but this Masters of Horror episode just goes to show why he hasn’t had a directing gig in quite some time. We All Scream for Ice Cream is a tired, boring entry into the series that you’ll forget about two seconds after watching.

It just goes to show that revenge isn’t always a dish best served cold…

Available from Amazon!

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