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THE REFRIGERATOR

This is, quite simply, the CITIZEN KANE of killer fridge movies.  No, this cheapie will never be mistaken for HALLOWEEN or THE EXORCIST, but it is a fun, wildly imaginative treat for open-minded horror fans with a sense of humor. 

The Package 
     For those in search of primo evil fridge thrills, look no further than this 1991 comedic horror fest, which manages to wring nearly every variation you can think of from its admittedly ludicrous concept (in other words, I’d recommend it in place of 1990’s ATTACK OF THE KILLER REFRIGERATOR).  It’s an independent production shot for peanuts on the streets of Manhattan—so sparse was the budget that the filmmakers didn’t even bother to get their film rated (submitting a film to the MPAA for a rating costs around $10-$20 grand, FYI).  As is all too common with such cheapjack productions, it was released straight to video and promptly disappeared. 
     Here’s calling for a cult rediscovery.

The Story
     Steve and Eileen, a young couple, move to New York City and find a one-bedroom apartment renting for $200.00 a month (!?).  Something has to be wrong, and indeed, something is seriously amiss: the apartment’s refrigerator is the gateway to Hell!
     The weirdness starts when Steve suddenly awakens one morning from a dream in which his boss appears in the fridge behind a bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup.  From then on he becomes obsessed with making waffles.  Even stranger, items tend to mysteriously appear in the fridge that nobody purchased, such as a pint of Hagen Daaz (this film has the most creative use of product placement since MINORITY REPORT).
    
Things really get hairy, though, when a repairman enters the apartment and is literally devoured by the fridge.  The appliance also chomps Eileen’s nagging mother, and later excretes a torrent of blood and guts.
     It turns out a voodoo priestess of some sort lives down the hall, who, together with Eileen and the building’s super, takes on refrigerator in an outrageous climax featuring possessed appliances (egg beaters, blenders, etc.) on a rampage. 

The Direction 
     The opening scenes, with their dumb-assed slapstick and dull attempts at “character development,” are pretty sorry, but the film gets better as it goes along.  Writer-director Nicholas Jacobs is adept at mixing comedy and horror in the manner of Peter Jackson’s early films (such as BAD TASTE and BRAINDEAD).  Less successful are Jacobs’ attempts at bright, cartoony Tim Burtonesque visuals (accomplished though it undeniably is, BEETLEJUICE this film is not).  THE REFRIGERATOR works best, surprisingly, as straight-up horror mixed with comedy, and not the other way around.  Much of it is played for laughs, certainly, but the refrigerator is an authentically menacing, even eerie presence throughout, and the special effects are quite impressive considering the low budget.
 

Vital Statistics

THE REFRIGERATOR
Avenue D Films/Monarch Home Video

Director: Nicholas Jacobs
Producer: Christopher Oldcorn
Screenplay: Nicholas Jacobs
Cinematography: Paul Gibson
Editors: P.J. Pesce, Suzanne Pillsbury
Cast: Julia McNeal, David Simonds, Angel Caban, Michael Beltran, Jaime Rojo, Jon Groff, Larry Tate, Darrell Smith, Amanda Green, Alex Trisano, Nena Segal, Phyllis Sanz, Peter Justinus
 


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