Inside we’ve posted our latest review from this season’s Masters of Horror (all reviews), which airs every Friday on Showtime. Inside you’ll find Tex Massacre’s review of “We Scream For Ice Cream”, which was directed by Tom Holland from David J. Schow’s adaptation of John Farris’ short-story. The film depicts a local ice cream man who, in this case, is turning sweet-toothed children against their parents.
We All Scream For Ice Cream (MoH 2.10)
Reviewed By: Tex Massacre
4/10 or 2 Skulls
Creepy kids, killer clowns and childhood chants—tonight’s episode of Masters of Horror seemed custom designed to send shivers down my spine. That’s right the troika of horror movie clichés that cause my blood to run cold are all on display in the latest entry from filmmaker Tom Holland.
Holland has been something of a recluse in the industry since his last outing—over 10 years ago. Certainly precious few were fans of the masters last film THINNER, but a decade seems a heavy price to pay from the man who brought the world FRIGHT NIGHT and CHILD’S PLAY along with a host of other solid screenplays.
Tonight’s entry is a good old fashioned revenge tale, the kind that Stephen King does so well. And we all know that Holland knows his King—having been involved in 3 adaptations. This episode too is born of the literary world—based on a recent short story by noted genre scribe John Farris (THE FURY). In it, Lee Tergesen (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING) plays Layne Bannixter a middle aged man who moves his family back to the town of his youth, only to find that a past he’d hoped was long since buried has come back to haunt him.
Decades before, a group of kids known as the West End Boys pulled a deadly prank that took the life of Buster (THE DEVIL’S REJECTS’ William Forsythe) a simple ice cream truck driver. Now the gang—fully grown—and with children of their own—is about to be paid a return visit from Buster. Only this time, instead of frozen treats, he’s passing out punishment.
As I mentioned before, few things set my nerves on edge more than the inhabitants of this tale. Still, after the past few years dearth of quality clown flicks, I was about to give up all hope that those red-nosed bastards could still give me the chills. But, even though WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM had its faults, the one thing it delivered on was the creepiness factor of William Forsythe.
Now, I suspect that like most of you out there, the idea of seeing Forsythe—whose made a career out of playing the big baddie in a barrage of films—as a clown, sits about as well as a super sized sundae with all the toppings. But the menacing character actor managed to not only pull off the ferocious nature of Buster as a vengeful killer, but the humanistic element of the poor ice cream man who befell the consequences of a teenage trick go bad.
One of the main concerns here is that Holland’s film feels dated, and not in the sense that it takes place partly in memory. It feels like the filmmaker—so long out of the game—has lost touch with modern filmmaking reality. While I enjoyed the fog effects and the oozing disintegration of Busters victims, I often felt like I was watching a project shot a dozen or more years ago. In the end, I fear that Holland’s film might have been too closely associated with THINNER or even Stephen King’s SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK—as it carried that same vibe with it throughout. It’s a shame because the premise—simple as it is—lends itself wholeheartedly to the genre.
While it’s not a great entry in the series, it holds its own with much of the rest of Season 2—which for lack of a better word has been underwhelming at best. I hope that Masters of Horror is not the last we see of Tom Holland. Who knows? Maybe what the world really needs from the man is FRIGHT NIGHT 3.