THE SILENCE OF THE HAMS
(Il Silenzio dei Prosciutti)
The gags come fast and furious. Director Ezio Greggio serves them up so relentlessly that it never matters when some fall flat, the others just keep coming. As with the style perpetuated by Airplane, the film conducts numerous visual gags at the asylum, a guard opens an eyehole in a wooden door but then the camera pulls back to reveal the guard is carrying a small board with an eyehole in it around on a stick; as Charlene Tilton flees with the money, she hears voices debating in her head but then the camera pulls back to show the voices come from people yelling at her through loud hailers in a truck driving alongside; a clocks hands are seen spinning in a classic cinematic time-lapse device and these have to be nailed down. For some reason, Greggio has it in for the Clinton presidency we meet Bush and Clinton lookalikes jogging whereupon Bush comments: I see the Presidential escort is out. But where is the President, I only see her husband, and later, Whys he puffing so hard? You know he doesnt inhale.
The film conducts a good many jokes on its source targets. Martin Balsam appears playing exactly the same role he did in Psycho. There is a parody of his famous stabbing and falling down the stairs here he is stabbed with knives, carrots, vibrators and umbrellas and, as the camera follows him down the stairs, he takes off and starts flying through the sky in back projection. There is naturally a parody of the Psycho shower sequence the jittery string music comes from an orchestra sitting outside the shower and when Greggio fails to stab Charlene Tilton, he employs an Uzi and a rocket launcher. Dom de Luise does an amusing parody of Hannibal Lecter If I ate fava beans, Id be free, he says, Id blow that back wall right out. Billy Zane watches as de Luise walks up around the walls and roofs of his cell and comments: He doesnt even obey the laws of physics. There are all sorts of gags a parody of Sharon Stones crotch-flashing scene in Basic Instinct (1992) this time the flashee has hairy mans legs. John Astin turns up doing a turn on his role from tvs The Addams Family (1964-6), replete even with his own Thing. The climax of the film has everybody removing masks to reveal they are somebody else Dallas was never like this, comments Charlene Tilton. In the highly amusing epilogue, director Ezio Greggio takes a shower, only to be stabbed by the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock. Although The Silence of the Hams received a thorough trashing when it came out, it is amiably silly fun.
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