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John’s Horror Corner: Ice Cream Man (1995), Clint Howard in a B-movie starring role!

August 28, 2018

MY CALL:  There are much better bad movies out there. But if you want to see Clint Howard in a starring role, this is your big chance.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Ice Cream ManFor much better bad movie fare of the era, I’d recommend Dr. Giggles (1992), Jack Frost (1997), Mosquito (1994) and Santa’s Slay (2005).

Disclaimer: I have been trying to get my hands on this movie for years—really, YEARS. Every time I checked Amazon it was for sale used (via third party vendors) for more than I wanted to pay (i.e., over $20 new). Finally, at Tampa Bay Screams convention (August 2018) I got the Blu-ray. I was so excited. I hadn’t seen this since the early 90s on the Sci-Fi Channel (back before it was called SyFy), and it was the edited version. Surely all the best stuff was cut out, right? Well, it turns out the “best stuff” was mostly its cast, which included David Warner (In the Mouth of Madness, The Company of Wolves) and Sandahl Bergman (Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, She, Hell Comes to Frogtown). Sigh.

Director Paul Norman (aka adult film director Norman Apstein) has basically done a bunch of porn… and this movie. So, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by its quality, but I am actually quite shocked by its complete lack of gratuitous nudity.

Gregory (Clint Howard; Ticks, Evilspeak, Leprechaun 2, Lords of Salem) the ice cream man is just not right in the head and he pays his landlord/caretaker (Olivia Hussey; Black Christmas, Stephen King’s IT, Psycho IV) in ice cream. But that barely skims his idiosyncrasies. Our homicidal ice cream man’s antics include bladed push-pops, throwing a dog in a meat grinder, eye balls are served as cone toppings and ice cream drums are filled with bloody body parts. And therein lies the bulk of the fun of this flick.

Those who seem ungrateful of their ice cream tend to find themselves among its ingredients. It’s very hokey and probably doesn’t look as cool as you’d prefer. I expected better. But, if I’m being honest, I didn’t exactly hate it. LOL

To call the writing and acting “bad” would be an outstanding compliment to this movie, as such aspects were largely intolerable. The first 50 minutes are highly uneventful and as the plot limped forward I found myself begging for something to happen. Yeah, as someone who enjoys their fair share of bad movies, it’s admittedly entertaining watching Clint Howard stagger through his lines and awkward role. But in terms of effects and gore, the payoff simply isn’t there for most viewers. Even the insane asylum scene was pretty weak. Sigh.

The one scene that stuck in my memory since the 90s was the only scene really worth seeing again. Yes, the poster image of Clint Howard holding a man’s severed head in a giant waffle cone presenting it to the head’s mistress. Likewise, the “severed head puppet show” scene was a pleasant laugh.

All said, this is a rough watch and should only be recommended to those who thrive during the worst of bad movie fare.

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