I just wrote a review of Swamp Shark, which features a performance by Wade Boggs. Oddly, Ice Cream Man also features a performance by a baseball player – this time by Steve Garvey.
Ice Cream Man is an odd little film, starring Clint Howard as Gregory Tudor, a very creepy and demented ice cream man. The film opens with a scene from Gregory’s childhood, when a professional hit is carried out on the neighborhood ice cream man. Young Gregory witnesses this murder and is clearly traumatized, asking, “Who’s going to bring the ice cream, Mommy?” An important question for any child.
Then we settle into the present, with Gregory all grown up and having answered his own question by becoming an ice cream man himself. He acts very creepy, demanding that children say “Please” when ordering ice cream, and keeping mice, bugs and eyeballs in the ice cream. But hey, he’s not the only creepy adult. There’s a guy in the park picking up trash who seems a bit unsavory, as four children eat their ice cream and talk about the pied piper. The children’s parents are a little odd too. In fact, basically all the adults in this film are a bit odd.
One thing that makes this one definitely worth watching is the cast. It’s kind of amazing (and a bit sad). David Warner (from Time Bandits, the 1968 version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and lots of other great films) plays Reverend Langley, a father to one of the children. David Naughton (from An American Werewolf In London and Hot Dog…The Movie) plays Martin Cassera, the father to one of the other children. Olivia Hussey (who played Juliet in Zeffirelli’s 1968 version of Romeo And Juliet) plays Nurse Wharton. E.E. Bell (whom Irish music fans in Los Angeles know as the front man of The Whooligans) plays Happy Doctor.
It’s a weird horror movie, because in a way it’s really a children’s film. We mostly follow the children, who think that the ice cream man killed one of their friends. None of the adults believe them, of course. So they have to do the detective work themselves. They follow him to the cemetery, where Gregory has brought treats for the old ice cream man killed in the opening scene.
There are some great lines. Gregory says to a detective: “I chop up policemen and use them as fertilizer. They make great fertilizer.” Later a detective asks the children, “Do you guys want to end up on a milk carton?” And the ice cream man’s police puppet show for the kids near the end is absolutely wonderful.
This is by no means a great film. But it is certainly an enjoyable one.