The Refrigerator (1991) poster

The Refrigerator (1991)


USA. 1991.


Director/Screenplay – Nicholas Jacobs, Story – Philip Dolan, Nicholas Jacobs & Christopher Oldcorn, Producer – Christopher Oldcorn, Photography – Paul Gibson, Music – Chris Burke, Don Peterkofsky & Adam Roth, Special Effects – Mike Deprez, Production Design – Therese Deprez. Production Company – Avenue D Films Ltd..


Julia McNeal (Eileen Bateman), David Simonds (Steve Bateman), Angel Caban (Juan the Plumber), Phyllis Sanz (The Mysterious Tanya), Nena Segal (Eileen’s Mother), Alex Trisano (Hector), Peter Justinius (Mr Walters), Jamie Rojo (Paolo the Paolo’s Assistant)


Steve and Eileen Bateman, a newlywed couple from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, get the offer of an apartment going cheaply in New York City and move in. Eileen soon realises that there is something wrong with the refrigerator in the apartment. People are being sucked inside and devoured. Steve’s behaviour starts to change but he insists there is nothing wrong and refuses to get rid of the refrigerator. Eileen meets a strange psychic who tells her that the refrigerator is possessed and a portal to Hell.

The Refrigerator was a debut film for director/writer Nicholas Jacobs who shot the film over a four year period. Jacobs has worked in television but only directed one other film since with the Iraq War satire Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004).

The Refrigerator was a weird by-product of 1980s Makeup Effects driven horror. Or at least it sits among the wannabes who were attempting to jump aboard the fad and didn’t have decent budgets at their disposal – as was clearly the case with Nicholas Jacobs – and compensated by aiming for the wilfully ridiculous in so doing creating the Gonzo horror film. Similarly the Possession Film of this period started getting weird, offering up everything from a possessed laundry press in The Mangler (1995) and a possessed tongue in Killer Tongue (1996), among others.

Nicholas Jacobs’ tone is not always what you expect of a horror film – mocked up 1950s households, visions of the inside of the refrigerator with miniature people speaking up to David Simonds – where you get the impression the film is aiming for a more comic, satiric tone. The horror element takes some way into the film to kick in. However, when it does, around about the halfway point, Jacobs hits an entertainingly ridiculous stride with images of the refrigerator moving around the apartment to attack people and victims being dragged inside.

The downside is that there is not enough of the killer fridge and more emphasis on the strange characters around the edge of the film. Certainly, among these, Angel Caban’ building manager proves a scene-stealer. The novelty deaths you expect to see are only sporadic. Even then the film is sparing on the makeup effects and we only see these right at the end as tentacles appear to cover the apartment and a climax with the dustbin, fans and blender being dragged in to attack – even so, the sequence is over and done with far too quickly.

Clip from the film here

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