I discovered this title browsing through one of the early 2000s editions of the Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever book (the book actually had a list of "killer appliances" movies). Of course, I was just as curious as anyone at first hearing of a title such as this, so naturally, the hunt began. Eventually, I found the title on eBay for $20, which in those days, was considered top price for a video cassette (it now goes for several hundreds of dollars).
The packaging was classic 80s horror promotion: a woman in a bra being assaulted by a refrigerator with a speech bubble above her head that reads, "Oh no! I just hate cold cuts!" This immediately set up my expectations: campy low-budget schlock. But upon first viewing, I was perplexed. It didn't feel like an actually movie, but rather some goofy home movie shot at some frat house (despite being shot on Super 8, it still had that SOV feel). The "movie" was basically a bunch of partying college kids "tormenting" a refrigerator with a hammer. The refrigerator, having been pissed off, exacts vengeance my killing off several of the students. No real acting, no script and minimal special effects. This was barely a movie and to make matters worse, it only lasted 17 or so minutes. Was I just bamboozled? Was I tricked by Donna Michelle Productions into purchasing some kid's student project?
But wait, it didn't end there! Shortly after the chalkboard credits of Attack of the Killer Refrigerator ended, another film began. Although Attack of the Killer Refrigerator got the headline on the cassette cover, the true gem of this cassette was this second feature - The Hook of Woodland Heights. At around 50 minutes, it was an ambitious shot on video slasher film that was actually quite fun. This one followed a basic slasher premise - a lunatic escapes from a mental asylum, shoves a fork into his stump and kills some kids. But the surprises weren't over just yet. Following this second feature I was shocked to discover yet a third feature. This time, a featurette on the making of the Hook of Woodland Heights. This was quite a treat, especially during a time where "bonus features" on video cassettes were mostly unheard of, especially for a title such as this. This featurette was shot at a college in a "news report" type format. There's behinds the scenes footage, interviews with the filmmakers, and even footage from the after party. As small and unknown as this film is, you really get the sense that the entire town these guys lived in backed the project. It was quite a labor of love for the entire community.
A few years ago, I interviewed the filmmakers, Michael Savino and Mark Veau. Procrastination and resources being focused on rebuilding this website has so far prevented me from transcribing and publishing the interview (its coming, I promise!). However, here are some facts I remember from the interview:
- There was an independently released VHS from the filmmakers prior to the Donna Michelle Productions release
- Donna Michelle Productions manufactured 3000 copies
- There's an official DVD release, produced by the filmmakers themselves (I used to see ads for it on Myspace back in the day, no joke!)
- There's a sequel concept in the works
Below is my very first YouTube review shot years ago (can't you tell from the poor productions value?).