Ice Cream Man is a 1995 American direct-to-video black comedy slasher film produced and directed by Norman Apstein and written by Sven Davison and David Dobkin. The film stars Clint Howard as the title character, Olivia Hussey, Jan-Michael Vincent, David Warner and David Naughton. The film’s plot follows a deranged man (named “Gregory Tudor”) who was recently released from a psychiatric institution and opens up an ice cream factory where he begins using human flesh in his recipes. The film has developed a cult following among viewers. Joe Bob Briggs hosted the film on TNT when it was shown on MonsterVision. Howard himself made an appearance, discussing the film with Briggs. The film had an estimated $2 million budget and was released on DVD in 2004.
During the 1960’s in a Los Angeles suburb, young Gregory Tudor witnesses his local ice cream man, known as “The Ice Cream King”, murdered in a drive-by shooting. In the present, Gregory has taken over the “King’s” business, calling himself “The Ice Cream Prince”, and using the man’s truck and parlor. Unbeknownst to the public, Gregory uses the dilapidated parlor as a sort of laboratory, where he produces his concoctions, filled with insects and dismembered human pieces.
One night, Gregory kills a dog belonging to Nurse Wharton, his landlord and an orderly who treated him for his childhood trauma. The same night, Roger, a neighborhood boy, goes missing. Having witnessed Gregory’s creepy personality, the other children suspect him of kidnapping Roger, but the police and Wharton do not. Three kids, Johnny, Heather, and Tuna, agree to search for Roger. Soon after, another boy known as Small Paul disappears.
Initially unable to prove that Gregory is dangerous, the kids have a difficult time getting the police to pursue their claims. Meanwhile, Gregory has recurring flashbacks to his abusive treatment at the Wishing Well Sanatorium. As the kids dig deeper, they discover that Gregory kidnapped Roger and Small Paul, and imprisons them in a cage at the parlor. However, Small Paul shows a macabre interest in the experiments, so Gregory takes him under his wing.
Two detectives investigate the Wishing Well, which is unregulated and free-for-all; the unstable patients roam freely and cause chaos, while the doctors and administrators are insane. Escaping, the police now believe the children, and prepare to search for Roger and Small Paul. Gregory kidnaps Tuna, and Heather enlists the help of Tuna’s older brother Jacob to investigate, but Gregory kills Jacob and Jacob’s girlfriend. Small Paul baits Gregory by holding a photo of the Ice Cream King over his face, and leads him into the main mixer, where Gregory is dismembered.
Roger and Tuna are reunited with their friends, who reveal that Small Paul has been sent to therapy. The final scene shows Small Paul alone in a darkened room, silently churning an ice cream bucket, his face twisted into an evil leer, just like Gregory’s.