A colossal misfire of the parody genre, this takeoff on thriller movies spoofs a number of classic (PSYCHO, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) and contemporary (MISERY, BASIC INSTINCT, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) films. A cast of has-beens and wannabes--headed by an Italian star as yet unknown in the
US--fail to breathe life into the stale gags and tired trickery of this direct-to-video release.
For his first big assignment, FBI agent Joe Dee Fostar (Billy Zane) is put on the trail of the Psycho Serial Killer. His quest begins at the Unbelievably Bad Maniacs wing of the Hollywood Nuthouse, where he interviews Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza (Dom DeLuise) for clues as to the killer's identity.
In the meantime, Fostar's girlfriend, Jane (Charlene Tilton), steals $400,000 from her employer, Mr. Laurel (Rip Taylor), and holes up at the Cemetery Motel, where she is stabbed, shot, and drowned by Antonio Motel (Ezio Greggio), the bewigged proprietor. Detective Balsam (Martin Balsam)
investigates Jane's disappearance and becomes the next victim. Jane's sister Lily (Joanna Pacula) turns to Joe Dee for help in locating Jane. Joe Dee, more interested in finding the missing money, returns to Dr. Animal for advice. In exchange for his release and his own pizza parlor, Dr. Animal
points the FBI man in the direction of Antonio's Motel. Joe Dee and Lily are held in the basement by Antonio's mother (Shelley Winters), who admits to being the psycho killer. After a ranger (John Astin) and his wife (Nedra Volz) come upon the scene, the suspects, victims, and killers take turns
pulling off face masks to reveal their true identities. Jane and Inspector Balsam are still alive, Mr. Laurel reclaims the stolen cash, and Antonio's mother wonders who she has really killed.
The parody genre has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the past half-decade. Recent entries include HOT SHOTS! (parts one and DEUX), the NAKED GUN series, FATAL INSTINCT, and NATIONAL LAMPOON'S LOADED WEAPON. Despite a few innovative comic bits, THE SILENCE OF THE HAMS cannot keep company with
these other films, and essentially falls flat. With his American debut film, writer-director-star Greggio tried to hedge his bets by throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. There are pratfalls, sight gags, word puns, flatulence jokes, and celebrity impersonators. The TV series "The Addams
Family" is even knocked off--its finger-snapping theme song plays whenever Astin (whose character has a pet foot called "Smelly Thing") appears. Greggio, who somehow convinced a number of celebrities and noted filmmakers to appear in cameos, should have kept mum. (Violence, nudity, sexualsituations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: A colossal misfire of the parody genre, this takeoff on thriller movies spoofs a number of classic (PSYCHO, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) and contemporary (MISERY, BASIC INSTINCT, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) films. A cast of has-beens and wannabes--headed by an Ital… (more)
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