Director: Tom Holland | 57 minutes | horror | Actors: Brent Sheppard, Maxwell Neck, Tim Henry, Lee Tergesen, Laura Drummond, Colin Cunningham, Ingrid Tesch, Quinn Lord, Lyle St. Goddard, William Forsythe, Kevan Kase, Spencer Achtymichuk, Cainan Wiebe, Brett Kelly, Diego Martinez-Tau
Thematically, this episode of the “Masters of Horror” series follows roughly the same pattern as films like “It” or “Child’s Play”, a film that was not coincidentally also directed by Tom Holland. In “Child’s Play” it was a so-called Good Guy doll who became possessed by the ghost of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, in this film, just like in “It”, a clown is the source of evil.
At first, the ice-cream-selling clown Buster is a roguish childhood friend, but after a botched prank from a group of kids kills him, he returns years later to take revenge on the now grown men responsible for his untimely death. The way Buster retaliates against his killers is very much like an alternate form of voodoo, albeit that the ice cream clown uses ice creams that represent his victims instead of cloth dolls.
Unfortunately, “We All Scream for Ice Cream” did not turn out to be a great movie. For example, the film is too much of a repetition of moves. Virtually all of the clown’s victims die in almost exactly the same way. This makes it all too predictable and you as a viewer lose a bit of attention. The scene, no doubt terrifying, in which Buster’s ice cream truck in the nighttime – surrounded by mysterious patches of fog – makes the neighborhood unsafe, is also reused so often that the threatening effect of this segment is ultimately largely nullified. The accompanying song that Buster sings every time becomes even annoying in the long run and gets on your nerves.
The striking thematic and story-technical similarities that this film has with Stephen King’s masterpiece “It” also ensure that the film (probably) unintentionally nevertheless gives a somewhat plagiarized impression from time to time. Yet it is not all doom and gloom. At times, Tom Holland shows a glimpse of his qualities that have guaranteed genre gems like “Child’s Play” and “Fright Night”. The film also contains a few (for the fans) nice scenes, including a piece that is strongly reminiscent of a scene from Paul Verhoeven’s “RoboCop” in which one of the criminals gets a good dose of chemical waste. Yet this is not enough overall to disguise the weaknesses of this print. “We All Scream for Ice Cream” is too predictable and rarely really scary. Only people who suffer from an obsessive phobia of clowns will be seriously taken out of their element by this horror movie.