Directed by Tom Holland
Distributed by Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
It’s been over a decade since the man responsible for such classics as Thinner, Child’s Play, The Class of 1984, and Fright Night, director Tom Holland, dabbled in our genre. He has been sorely missed. One would think that the Masters of Horror series would be the perfect opportunity for him to jump back in and get his feet wet with grue-a-plenty. Well, that kind of happened.
Based upon a story by John Farris and adapted for the screen by David J. Schow, “We All Scream for Ice Cream” tells the tale of Buster the clown (a nearly unrecognizable William Forsythe). Buster wasn’t the sharpest tool in the old shed. He was just your ordinary old-time kindhearted ice cream salesman who took great joy in pleasing kids of all ages with his frozen sugary fix. Everything was fine in Cherry Time land until a neighborhood bully, along with some other stupid kids, decides to play a prank on poor Buster that ultimately results in the clown’s death.
As you can imagine, this ruins the participants’ lives, and as a result these kids grew up pretty damned stressed. Especially Layne (who shows up later played by Lee “I haven’t had a decent role since I shit on the face of a Nazi in Oz” Tergesen. Layne was the proverbial trigger-man in this ordeal and was so bothered by Buster’s death he chose to move away, leaving his childhood friends and their dirty deed behind.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and Layne finds himself moving back into town. Everyone is glad to see him, too, until they all start dropping dead. One by one Layne’s old friends start disappearing as if they’ve melted away right off the face of the Earth. It’s not long before Buster’s evil revenge taking spectre is revealed to be behind the killings. The worst part? Buster is using everyone’s own kids against them! Ah, divine retribution!
So what went wrong? I think the problem here is Tom Holland. Don’t get me wrong; Tom’s an incredible filmmaker who has given us plenty to scream about over the years. It’s just that his long absence from the biz has resulted in a bit of ring rust if you will. There are sequences in “We All Scream for Ice Cream” that reveal the fire that Holland is still quite capable of, but overall this foray into horror falls on the flat side. No biggie though. Tom still has a lot left in the old pressure cooker, and I’m sure I speak for fans everywhere when I say we cannot wait to see things start boiling again.
Once again Anchor Bay has delivered a great package for its landmark series. The first thing worthy of mention is this season’s artwork. When you look at the covers for Masters of Horror: Season 1, you’ll notice a big difference. Whoever Anchor Bay has doing these, they need to sign him to a lifetime contract. The cover art for “We All Scream” is nothing short of brilliant. Much more so than the feature itself.
We find the usual supplemental suspects alive and kicking in this package. First up a fourteen-minute featurette titled Sweet Revenge: The Making-of We All Scream for Ice Cream. This is just what you’ve come to expect from the Masters of Horror DVD’s — a concise look at the journey it took to make this project happen with the cast and crew serving as your guides. Even though the finished product didn’t turn out to be stellar, it’s great to see Tom and company hard at work making movies again! From there we get a look at the films F/X called Meltdown: The Scoop on the Visual F/X and Make-up. Who doesn’t love KNB? These guys need their own reality TV show. I could sit and watch them make magic forever. Incidentally, should anyone follow up on my aforementioned reality show idea, I had better get credit!
Finally we have the commentary with Tom Holland and writer David J. Schow. Watching this flick with the commentary on was more fun than checking out the film itself. Holland and Schow have an amazing amount of chemistry and a clear affection for the subject matter. Methinks we haven’t seen the last of this duo!
Rounding everything up are your standard photo gallery, trailers, and, for you DVD-Rom users, the script.
During the commentary for the film Tom Holland says, “I wish I had the time to make it more terrifying.” We do too. And I’m sure very soon you’ll get your chance to make it up to us! While not the greatest entry in the series, “We All Scream for Ice Cream” does keep the ball rolling in the right direction. A must for collectors, but John Q. Public may wanna just rent it before buying.
2 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5
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