From the director who gave us Sperm Bitches, Intercourse with the Vampire, Sexmares, Bad Girls 5: Maximum Babes and the Edward Penishands trilogy, here comes his magnum opus Ice Cream Man – a goofy comedy horror, this time aimed for the mainstream surface audiences with a budget to buy an old ice cream truck, gallons of ice cream and fake sun flowers.
Ice Cream Man starts off with a quick opening in black and white in a Californian suburb during the 1960s. It gets straight to the point where the local ice cream man (with the letters Ice Cream King on his truck) gets randomly shot in a pure gangsta-style drive-by shooting. Among the witnesses is the boy Gregory Tudor who grows up to be an Ice Cream man himself – a deranged, retarded, homicidal Ice Cream Killer Man which uses body parts as flavors to his ice creams.
After the scene with the Ice Cream King’s murder, we jump to present day where Greg Tudor (Clint Howard) roams around in his blue ice cream truck, acting like a demented freakshow that should be as far away from children as possible. He likes to taunt the kids, as he speaks with an affected growling, raspy and cheesy voice while serving them cockroach-infested ice creams. Yummy! That ice cream guy is pretty freaky, one of the kids says. No, you don’t say. At least, they like his ice creams. But still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to eat ice cream while watching Ice Cream Man, just trust me on that one.
Tudor randomly kills Binky, a dog (off screen) which he puts in the grinder to use as a flavour to his ice cream. One of the kids, that blonde one with the round glasses which looks like Maculay Culkin from The Pagemaster, gets kidnapped one night and shoved into his ice cream truck and locked in a cage in his parlor where he later grooms him to be his successor. When Tudor spots one of the other kids that witnessed the act, he yells with his raspy voice:
You little turds are gonna have to learn, you can’t run from the ice cream man! … I know where you live … you tell anybody, I’m gonna get your mom and dad!
Boy o’boy…This is a weird little oddball of a movie. Already ten minutes in, the tone is all over the place while you ask what the fuck this is supposed to be. On its first glance it looks like if the whole thing was meant to be a short episode of Goosebumps, but midways they instead decided to stretch it out to a feature, throw in some gore, fill in a series of nonsensical scenes with bad actors and not much further plans than just see what happens. And don’t forget the fake sunflowers.
The film is regarded as a black comedy, and a comedy it is for damn sure, no question about that. What’s intentional and not, however, is not easy to tell, but that’s what makes it even more funny. There’s enough of bad acting, weird dialogues to laugh of, and watching this with the right mood it’s overall some fun, dumb, light-hearted entertainment that could have been suitable for the whole family if it wasn’t for the gore. But I can’t deny that the star himself, Clint Howard (the younger brother of Ron Howard), is the main reason to give this slightly obscure film a watch. Calling him eccentric is an understatement, the guy is the purest definition of bizarre which both acts and looks like a live-action figure straight out from Looney Tunes. Howard has been in over 200 films which he has had the lead role in only … two: Ice Cream Man and Evilspeak, another horror flick from 1981. And since Clint Howard was recognized as the ice cream man on the streets by fans throughout the years, a sequel had to happen. A kickstarter campaign was set up by Howard and director Apstein in 2014 to crowd fund the sequel Ice Cream Man 2: Sundae Bloody Sundae with a goal to collect 300.000 dollars from fans. Only 4 grand was donated from 70 backers. Ouch, how embarrassing. This was also the only mainstream film Apstein made before he went back to the porn industry.
But at least, the fans can still enjoy Ice Cream Man on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome and on several streaming sites, including Full Moon Features where we watched it.
Director: Norman Apstein
Writers: David Dobkin, Sven Davison
Country & year: USA, 1995
Actors: Clint Howard, Justin Isfeld, Anndi McAfee, JoJo Adams, Mikey LeBeau, Sandahl Bergman, Andrea Evans, Steve Garvey, Olivia Hussey, Doug Llewelyn, Lee Majors II, David Naughton,