Oh, the Horror!: Making Ice Scream

ICE SCREAM is an independent short from the land of seminal horror directors Argento, Bava, and Fulci, written and directed by Italian friends Roberto De Feo and Vito Palumbo. In the space of just one year, ICE SCREAM has won more awards than any other Italian mini-feature in history: 15 prestigious international awards and 50 official nominations. And now it’s set to conquer America: ICE SCREAM recently became available on iTunes and DVD Stateside.

In the film, a guy named Micky walks into a store to buy a frozen treat for his girlfriend and bumps into two bullies, who kidnap, humiliate, and torture him. Once he escapes, revenge isn’t the only thing Micky has in mind. We chatted with Vito Palumbo as he prepares to adapt the film into a feature in the United States next year.

SAVAS ABADSIDIS: Who’s your favorite director?

VITO PALUMBO: Roberto and I love Quentin Tarantino and the way he presents violence in his movies. We love him to the point that ICE SCREAM is scattered with references to his movies. For example, the character of the inspector takes inspiration from one of the characters Tarantino is mostly fond of, the father-inspector in Kill Bill, Death Proof, which was born in From Dusk Till Dawn by Rodriguez. We dream of shooting a movie starring him. As to horror director, we think Wes Craven is a myth and James Wan is the future (Saw and Insidious are two masterpieces).

ABADSIDIS: What was the genesis of the story? Was it inspired by anything in particular?

PALUMBO: We started from a crime story that took place in our country. In Italy, in 2009, a murder shook public opinion. A 19-year-old boy fell on the ground while he was driving his scooter. While falling, he scratched the door of a car that was parked nearby. Unfortunately, the car belonged to a local thug, a 25-year-old young man with former criminal charges, who took revenge for the damage. With the help of a friend, he took the poor boy [to a place] nearby, they tied him to a tree, they stoned him, and then they burned him to death. We were shocked by this news. I used to tell the true story behind this movie to those who criticize ICE SCREAM for being too violent. People don’t want to admit this, but reality is worse than fiction.

ABADSIDIS: What was your first job?

PALUMBO: I taught acting and diction. Roberto works with his father as a clerk in a clothing store.

ABADSIDIS: Do you have any favorite children’s films or cartoons?

PALUMBO: The Goonies—the best! Stand By Me, The Simpsons, The Griffith, and many of Tim Burton’s films, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride.

ABADSIDIS: How has success changed your relationship?

PALUMBO: It’s important to be always be yourself. To make a movie is to work with emotions, and only in this way it is possible to look inside our souls. Fortunately, the success of an actor usually depends on this and keeps you real.

ABADSIDIS: What’s living as a filmmaker in Italy like?

PALUMBO: It’s very difficult to make films in Italy, because when you dream of becoming a director or an actor, people look at you like a fool dreamer and your job looks like a hobby, sometimes looks like caprice. But in Italy there are magic places without equal in the rest of the world.

ABADSIDIS: Making a film is like…

PALUMBO: Is like making love! The set is a magical place for someone who loves films. You hate when you end your film, and you miss it a second after the last shot.

ABADSIDIS: Your future plans?

PALUMBO: ICE SCREAM remake at this moment. Roberto and I believe in this project and we hope that the feature has the same success of the short film. We are crossing our fingers.