Friday, July 6, 2007

Season 2 Episode 10

“We All Scream For Ice Cream”
Teleplay by David J. Schow; based on “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream” by John Farris; directed by Tom Holland

Layne Bannister (Lee Tergesen, from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and a handful of Desperate Housewives episodes) has just moved back to his old home town, in time to watch the members of his childhood gang, the “West End Bunch,” start dropping like flies (apparently getting turned into melting puddles of ice cream, as we see in the episode’s opening sequence).
Playing like an ultimately ineffective variation on Stephen King’s It, this one was a particular disappointment, given the heavy hitters behind it.

John Farris.
I may not have been able to read the original short story on which this episode is based, but I do think Farris’ All Heads Turn When The Hunt Goes By is an excellent horror novel that really should be read by any self-respecting horror hound. (I wasn’t too thrilled by his Son of the Endless Night, though.)

David J. Schow.
Not only did he write the screenplay for Alex Proyas’ The Crow, but Schow is another kick-a$$ horror writer as well. (Though he did write the scripts for Critters 3 and 4, so take that as you will. He also provided the story for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, where episode lead Tergesen appeared.)

And Tom Holland.
He may have been low-key recently, but he gave us Fright Night and Child’s Play, so he knows his horror films.

So we’ve got three proven names, and what do we get?
Another sub-par MoH hour that feels like an excruciating two.

To begin with, this feels too much like zombiefied Stephen King material: childhood friends as adults, with a secret from their youth that has returned to haunt them.
Not only have we seen this all before, but due to the story’s premise, we are treated to flashbacks, as we see the main characters in their youth, and the secret which plagues them all.
Nothing inherently wrong with that, granted, but when we are asked to endure patently bad performances by child actors (Samuel Patrick Chu, take note), then this constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. I kid you not, the flashbacks are agonizing.

And though as I pointed out above, I’m a firm believer in Schow, there are a bunch of lines of dialogue that may sound fine on paper, but rolling off the tongue, they just don’t make the grade. Or perhaps, the performances are again to blame. It gets difficult to tell in this one, particularly when you’re too busy rolling your eyes in incredulity.
All in all, this one gets chalked up as a loss, a particularly painful one, considering the talent behind it.

(We All Scream For Ice Cream DVD cover art courtesy of

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