10 Most Unconventional Uses For Kitchen Appliances in Movies

Top 10 Appliances in Films
Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza in ‘Life After Beth’ (Photo Courtesy of A24)

Kitchen appliances always come with an instruction manual that explains how the item works and the potential dangers of not using it properly. Here are 10 films (Final Destination films are excluded) that put kitchen appliances to unconventional uses that would most definitely invalidate the warranties. Do not try any of this at home. (Some spoilers below.)

1. Time and Tide (2000) – Refrigerator

In this Hong Kong action film Nicolas Tse gets trapped in an apartment where a gas leak threatens to blow the whole place up. So he simply clears out the fridge and locks himself in to survive the blast. Nicely done and of course well presented by director Tsui Hark. But remember all those warnings you got as a kid NOT to lock yourself in a fridge because you would not be able to get out? Well I guess you can assume the blast blew the door open.

Top 10 Appliances in Films

2. The Raid (2011) – Refrigerator

Director Gareth Evans adds a twist to the refrigerator gag in his Indonesian action film. The cops trapped inside an apartment building controlled by drug dealers get cornered in a kitchen and escape by turning the fridge into a bomb. They load it with a large natural gas tank, turn the door of fridge toward the hallway, and BOOM! Momentary relief from the onslaught of henchmen… momentary.

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Refrigerator

Okay, this film gets a lot of flack for being awful and yes it is the worst Indiana Jones film ever. But… it does have a creative if wholly unbelievable use for a refrigerator. Near the beginning of the film, Indy finds himself in the fake model home at an atomic test site just as the bomb is about to be set off. So Indy climbs into a fridge and survives not just the nuclear detonation but also being thrown hundreds of feet in the air. The test site town is leveled but Indy pops out of the fridge just fine. I think someone suggested it was a lead-lined fridge. Hmm? Really? But the film is responsible for this entry in the Urban Dictionary: “Nuke the fridge is a colloquialism used to refer to the moment in a film series that is so incredible that it lessens the excitement of subsequent scenes that rely on more understated action or suspense, and it becomes apparent that a certain installment is not as good as a previous installments, due to ridiculous or low quality storylines, events or characters.” Invalidated the warranty I’d say.

4. Dead Alive (aka Braindead, 1992) – Blender

Peter Jackson, who was so clever and inventive in his early years before he had the money for limitless CGI, displayed ingenuity in this zombie apocalypse film in many ways. A lawnmower proves to be the weapon of mass destruction to save the hero and his girl from the zombie horde. But on a smaller scale, a single zombie baby is whipped to death in a blender. Perhaps a new twist on the zombie cocktail. A blender also proved useful in destroying the vicious toys of Small Soldiers.

Top 10 Appliances in Films

5. Gremlins (1984) – Mixer and Microwave

It seems your kitchen appliance can come in quite handy as a defense weapon whenever facing bombs or small vicious enemies. In Gremlins there is a whole scene in a kitchen employing a mixer (I think it’s a mixer or perhaps an odd blender), TV dinner table, knife, and microwave. A housewife has to be able to improvise when faced with unexpected guests and Frances Lee McCain does wonders in her kitchen. She whips one nasty gremlin to death and explodes another in the microwave. Go mom!

6. Torn Curtain (1966) – Oven

Leave it to Alfred Hitchcock to create a deliciously tense murder scene in which two people are trying to gas a third in the kitchen oven. Paul Newman and Carolyn Conwell face off against East German security officer Wolfgang Kieling in a small farm kitchen. The scene brilliantly shows how hard it can sometimes be to kill one person. Newman disarms the man and struggles with him. Conwell decides against using a noisy gun with the man’s partner just outside, so she tries a kitchen knife but it breaks off without inflicting a fatal wound. She also hits him with a shovel before finally deciding to drag him to the gas oven and shoving his head in. Maybe not the most elegant means of disposing of someone but in Hitchcock’s hands this scene was killer.

7. Life After Beth (2014) – Oven

In this zom-rom-break up-com Dane DeHaan’s girlfriend Aubrey Plaza dies… and then comes back from the dead. At first she just seems confused but soon she starts to crave human flesh. She also develops some superhero strength. To keep her from eating everyone, her mom impales her to the kitchen stove. This works for a bit but doesn’t stop her from taking a little hike with her beloved. The image of Plaza with the oven strapped to her back as she hikes up a hill is priceless.

Top 10 Appliances in Films

8. Rolling Thunder (1977) – Garbage Disposal

In this story and script by Paul Schrader there’s no jokiness as a man’s kitchen appliance proves to be a device of torture. William Devane is a Vietnam vet and former POW who is attacked in his home by four thugs. They want the 2555 silver dollars that were given to him as a homecoming gift from the town (one silver dollar for each day of his captivity). But when the thugs beat him, he has flashbacks to his torture in Hanoi and he refuses to break. They then shove his hand down the garbage disposal and grind it to pulp. His wife and son return home and tell the thugs where to find the money then all three are shot and left for dead. Devane survives, gets a hook for a hand, and heads off with fellow vet Tommy Lee Jones to get revenge. Solid and underappreciated revenge thriller, and nasty use of a kitchen appliance that everyone probably has a little fear of each time something drops in and you have to reach in to get it out.

9. Last House on the Left (2009) – Microwave

Revenge figures prominently in this remake of Wes Craven’s grindhouse cult classic. In this case the father of a young girl who is raped and left for dead by a group of thugs sets out to get even. When the father has a chance for revenge on the lead thug, he does so by paralyzing him from the neck down and placing his head in an active microwave.

10. The Refrigerator (1991)

And finally this ultra low budget film proves that a refrigerator is not always a beneficial thing. This one seems possessed as it exerts mind control over people and kills a few too. There’s also an even lower budget and more painful to watch short called Attack of the Killer Refrigerator that has a flesh hungry fridge.

Bonus Pick: Hardware Wars (short, 1978)

This short film went outside the realm of kitchen appliances, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, to spoof Star Wars and space operas. There are flying toasters, hand mixers, and irons battling in space as well as a waffle space station. Lots of fun with home appliances and maybe an inspiration to you to look around the house and see what you can put to cinematic use.