A rookie FBI agent, Jo Dee Foster (Billy Zane), has been assigned to work on the case of the Psycho Killer, a killer who has killed over 120 people. But to find out more about the Psycho Killer, Jo is forced to meet Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza (Dom DeLuise), a famous doctor turned cannibal who ate pizzas with human body parts. Meanwhile, Jo's girlfriend, Jane Wine (Charlene Tilton), has just stolen $400,000 in cash from her money-hungry boss, Mr. Laurel (Rip Taylor), so she and Jo can be happy, but gets lost in a really horrible storm, caused mostly by a special effects crew behind her car, and stops at the Cemetery Motel, where the owner, Antonio Motel (Ezio Greggio), is dominated by his insane mother ('Shelly Winters'). Written by
I can't think of another movie in which an actor replayed his most famous role...for laughs. Millions of people over several decades saw Martin Balsam as the Detective who Gets Killed on the Stairs in "Psycho" (1960). And here he was, 34 years later, playing his every scene from the original as a gag.
Unlike "Psycho" shower murder victim Janet Leigh, Balsam always refused to give interviews on his scenes in "Psycho," feeling it was given too much notice over his other films (he won the 1965 Oscar for "A Thousand Clowns.") I guess he was finally willing to revisit the detective -- for pay. Maybe it was revenge for Balsam to play the role in so bad a movie this time.
Yeah, "Silence of the Hams" is terrible, but as a film artifact, I find Balsam's appearance amazing. His physical appearance, too. He's a fair sight more elderly and frail in "Silence of the Hams" than he was in "Psycho," but he takes his staircase fall ("Again??!!") yet again with grace and humor. Intriguing: this was made by its star, Italian comedian Ezio Greggio, and Martin Balsam died in Italy about a year later. Balsam had appeared in many other Italian-made films. Was this film made in Italy?
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