Release dateMarch 11, 1994 CastEzio Greggio (Antonio Motel), Dom DeLuise (Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza), Billy Zane (Jo Dee Foster), Joanna Pacuła (Lily Wine), Charlene Tilton (Jane Wine), Martin Balsam (Det. Martin Balsam) Similar moviesFair Game, The Final Girls, Total Recall, Salt, Now You See Me, 21 Jump Street
TaglineSlark, raving comedy.
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The Silence of the Hams (Italian: Il Silenzio dei Prosciutti) is a 1994 Italian-American satirical comedy film written, directed by, and starring Italian comedian Ezio Greggio. It is a parody of many popular thriller and horror films, notably The Silence of the Lambs and Psycho. Alongside Greggio, the film features an ensemble cast featuring Dom DeLuise, Billy Zane, Joanna Pacuła, Charlene Tilton, and Martin Balsam.
The comedy, like many of its contemporaries (including The Naked Gun), is largely driven by word-play, sight gags, running jokes, and multiple references to popular culture of the time, like Michael Jackson's Thriller, and tongue-in-cheek references to the then-current state of American politics (such as a fight scene between Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton). As a curiosity, there is a Mel Brooks cameo in this film, who made a number of well regarded parodies (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs).
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The film follows rookie detective Jo Dee Fostar (Billy Zane), on his first case. The case involves a serial killer, wanted for over 120 murders. In order to find the killer, he must enlist the help of convicted murderer Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza (Dom Deluise). However, during the investigation, his girlfriend, Jane Wine (Charlene Tilton), is asked by her boss to take a large sum of money to the bank. Instead of doing this, she leaves town with the money. While hiding, she decides to rest at the Cemetery Motel, which is later revealed to be a cemetery named Motel after its owner, Antonio Motel. Jo must then enlist the help of Det. Balsam (Martin Balsam) and Dr. Pizza to not only find the murderer, but his missing girlfriend. All of this takes the cast on many adventures at the Cemetery Motel. In the final confrontation, most characters are revealed to be somebody else in disguise.
Ezio Greggio as Antonio Motel
Dom DeLuise as Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza
Billy Zane as Jo Dee Fostar
Joanna Pacuła as Lily Wine
Charlene Tilton as Jane Wine
Martin Balsam as Det. Martin Balsam
Stuart Pankin as Insp. Pete Putrid
John Astin as The Ranger
Tony Cox as Jail Guard
Mel Brooks as Checkout Guest (uncredited)
Phyllis Diller as Old Secretary
Shelley Winters as Mrs. Motel (The Mother)
Bubba Smith as Olaf
Larry Storch as Sergeant
Rip Taylor as Mr. Laurel
John Carpenter as Trench Coat Man
Eddie Deezen as Cameraman
Pat Rick as Bill Clinton
The Silence of the Hams was widely panned by critics and has a 0% "rotten" rating on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews.
Time Out London called it a "wholly redundant exercise", while Empire criticised it for "a script staggeringly bereft of humour or invention, and a clumsy, amateurish direction that seems largely concerned with focusing on Charlene Tilton's breasts".