Monday, January 19, 2015

Ice Cream Man - 1995

This movie, now this is something else.  This is a true classic of the "cult" variety.  It even stars long time cult actor Clint Howard.

What is the difference between good cult and bad cult?  Well, I think some parts of it lie with intention.  I think a movie like Ice Cream Man, may have been trying to be an actual horror movie.  It works because it's not over the top with comedy and stupidity, it's a low budget horror movie but it has a good plot, a decent enough adventure to it, and some interesting plot points.

As a young boy, Clint Howard's character witnessed his childhood friend the ice cream man get killed by some gangsters.  He was covered in the ice cream man's blood and due to this his parents sent him to a clinic to care for him.  Slowly over the course of the movie it is revealed that while he was there he was the subject to bizarre terrible experiments at the hands of an evil doctor.

It's interesting because it makes you feel some sympathy for the killer.  Clearly this character, the young boy who would grow up to become the killer ice cream man, was mentally damaged by these experiments and by the various drugs given to him.  Not to mention never getting over the trauma of seeing the man who was killed in front of him.

So a group of kids, all of which are acted decently enough for once, witness the ice cream man kidnapping one of their friends.  This friend, a short statured kid, gains the sympathy of the ice cream man, who keeps him alive and teaches him about making ice cream.

At the same time, the police are investigating the disappearance of a kid who the ice cream man killed, and are tipped off to investigate the ice cream man.  When their search turns up nothing, it's up to the group of kid friends to stop the ice cream man.

There are some cool shots in this movie.  The scenes of the body parts in the ice cream truck, the scenes of the ice cream man in all his demented glory, and the scenes of the kids, in their very Goonie-esque ways, planning to get the ice cream man, are easy highlights.

This feels like one of those 80's classic films that you might have grown up with.  It feels older than it is, but in a very innocent and not "bad" sort of way.

I don't know really what else to say about it.  It's good, it's some solid entertainment, there's a rational feeling to it, and it even manages a small twist in what you're expecting the end to be.  There are some pretty bad moments where it feels like it should have been edited out, or where they were trying for comedy or that "cult" level of attraction, but it mostly feels like a innocent, but stupid, horror movie.

I recommend it, definitely a good drinking movie.  Maybe a drink for every scene in which something disgusting happens with the ice cream.


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