Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla


Australia | 2013 | Directed by Stuart Simpson

Logline: A lonely ice-cream van driver, obsessed with a local soap starlet, starts a video diary as he builds up the courage to ask her out.

Warren Thompson (Glenn Maynard) is a case study time bomb of rage. He lives alone. By day he is the driver and operator of an ice-cream van seeling just enough cones to get by, parked on the edges on of an industrial zone where a pimp hangs out under a train bridge. By night he eats cold baked beans on bread for dinner and masturbates to videotaped episodes of his favourite daytime soap, Round the Block, featuring his obsession Katey George (Kyrie Capri).


Warren keeps everything in check with his mundane routines, whilst harbouring his pipedream of meeting and dating the pretty star from televisionland. And before you can say “knickerbockerglory” Warren’s dreams seem to be coming true! Katey George is filming just around the corner and she comes to his van for an ice cream cone!

From a story by Addison Heath, Stuart Simpson has made an engaging, very funny, black comedy (oh, yes, it's dark alright), shot on the smell of an oily rag, with a clutch of extreme moments to keep the mainstream at bay, about one man’s descent into the self-destructive pit of loathing. Warren’s fragile world is about to come crashing down, thanks to the sharp ugly reality that pushes at the thin fabric of his sheltered existence.


All Warren wants is to offer those three magical flavours and be loved.

Be loved by Katey George.

Warren fantasizes he’s the vengeful Man With No Name, or better still, a studly surfer whom Katey can’t resist. But like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) Warren has a distorted view of the world, and that perspective will soon be shattered. Hell hath no fury like a melted ice cream van driver.


Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla is a superbly realised character study of loneliness and abuse, similar in tone to Tony (2009) and Bad Boy Bubby (1993). In almost every scene, Glenn Maynard gives a terrific performance as the wallflower in a uniform, capturing the joy, sadness, and rage of a simple man at the end of his tether. Simpson, previous feature was the rockabilly creature feature El Monstro Del Mar! (2010), and it’s great to see he’s matured as a storyteller, yet straddles the limitations of a low budget without obvious compromise.

Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla screens as part of 15th Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Friday 19th September, 9pm.