horror/comedy

Shaun vs. Ice Cream Man (1995)

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Directed by Paul Norman

Starring Clint Howard, David Warner and Lee Majors II

A young boy who witnessed the gangland murder of the local ice cream man grows up to be the new ice cream man, however after years of probably the worst psychological therapy you can imagine, the man is deranged and kills his victims and makes them part of his tasty treats.

Review

After witnessing the brutal shooting of an ice cream man, young Gregory is put into a sanatarium for several years, as seen through flashbacks, in order to recover from the shock.  However the sanatarium is also run by nut jobs that warp his fragile little mind so he grows up to be a little maladjusted.  He returns to his old town to become the new ice cream man but his flavours are a bit different, as evidenced by the cockroaches, rats and body parts he mixes into the ice cream.

A group of young kids, collectively known as the Rocketeers, catch on to his game but of course find it difficult to get anyone else to believe them.  Gregory begins to taunt them and stalk them after one of the kids witnesses him dragging a young boy into his truck.  The police are too stupid to figure anything out so it’s up to the kids to save the day.

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Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am…

There’s no doubt the film was attempting to be a horror/comedy, but it’s pretty bad at doing both.    It’s not a scary film but any attempt at horror is met with unintentional comedy.  It’s practically a parody with all the goofy shit going on.  Any scene involving the sanatarium shows how crazy the people operating the place are, how does this place even stay open?  We see the ice cream that Gregory offers, it’s all goopy and full of bugs and body parts.  One of the cops munches on an eyeball and thinks it’s great!  This whole town is full of morons aside from the kids.

I will say that Clint Howard is appropriate for the role of Gregory, he’s certainly got that “deranged serial killer” look to him but that comes naturally to the poor guy.  He plays the role of an unfortunate loner and there is a bit of sadness to the character because of how he was wrongfully manipulated but then he goes to murder people with ice cream scoops and delivers decapitated heads on giant ice cream cones so that little bit of sympathy goes right out the window pretty fast.  The rest of the cast is pretty terrible, fitting in well with the movie, though it’s quite strange to see David Warner (who’s no stranger to being in some bad horror films) in this film doing practically nothing of note.

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Mmm waffle cone!

The film has a strange habit of either holding back on showing the gore and going all out.  There is some blood splatter here and there though some of the kills are in slo-mo and nothing is really shown aside from some after-the-fact blood.  There are several scenes with chopped up body parts and quite a few decapitated heads that are used as humorous props. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and figure that no one who even looks at the cover figures that “Ice Cream Man” would be a great film but even the unintentional comedy aspect of the film is awful, it’s not that funny.  The film shares a small cult status for being as awful as it is but I didn’t even find the unintentional humour that entertaining.  Avoid this guy’s ice cream, it’s a crummy treat.

TL;DR

Story:  3 – Someone gets out of a mental institution and goes crazy killing people.  Very original.

Blood: 3 – Probably the most disappointing aspect of the movie, there’s a few goofy moments with decapitated heads but surprisingly light on the blood.

Nudity: 1 – The neighbourhood harlot invites the ugliest ice cream man she can find over to her place but only shows off a little bit of cleavage.

Overall: 2 – I tempered my expectations knowing this was going to be bad, though the idea behind it sounds like a camp classic, it doesn’t deliver the goods.

Trivia

-Clint Howard has been acting since he was a child, much like his brother Ron.  Some of his earlier roles were the voice of Roo in the early Winnie the Pooh short films and as Balok in the original Star Trek series.

-This is director Paul Norman’s only mainstream film, the rest of his career has been in porn films.

-“Ice Cream Man” was partially sponsored by Converse sneakers and the film contains several scenes focusing on foot wear.

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