Hook of Woodland Heights, The (1988)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

Nice people making a nice video about a psychopath that kills a child (and a chihuahua) with a barbecue utensil fashioned as a limb. NICE.

A few years following the satisfying Attack Of The Killer Refrigerator, co-director-writers Michael Savino and Mark Veau set about making a “real” movie. They still used video. They still cast their friends. And they still used overlapping soundtracks. But this time, they managed to bump things up to 40 minutes, and added an AC/DC-meets-Spinal Tap theme song titled “Hooked On You.” What’s that mean to us? The Hook Of Woodland Heights is another regional SOV hit from our friends in Massachusetts. If I were a PR man, I would say “GET HOOKED!” or “HOOK IT UP!”

A skinny man with early-80s Metallica hair and skull-face make-up escapes from a sanitarium. He proceeds to massacre a neighborhood with his D.I.Y. hook. Violence is exceptionally creative. Someone is killed with a hospital clipboard. The killer’s incessant wrath spares no one in the neighborhood — adults, teens, children, animals, and even trees are susceptible to death by hook. And it all culminates with that old fashioned crowd- pleaser, The Hook To The Crotch.

Sleaze for sleaze’s sake at the expense of all else in SOV is nothing new. Cannibal Campout serves as good example. A guy eats a fetus in that movie. But Hook doesn’t focus on sex or drugs or assault. It almost feels wholesome. That’s what sets it apart. The movie’s bloodshed can never be taken seriously. That’s due to both the monetary limitations of the production and The Hook channeling Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk when he kills. Plus, there’s no crass agenda to turn us off. Just a lot of open space in a beautiful New England suburb where people chug 2-liters of soda, play tag in cemeteries, and upholster their cars with baseball cards.

After the movie ends, the tape keeps going. Someone with a thick Boston accent says, “Stay tuned for further artistic insanity . . . Behind The Scenes Of Hook!” What follows is 15 minutes of exactly what you’ve been wishing for: footage from Lick Studios (that’s where The Heartbeats recorded “Hooked On You”), the movie’s world premiere at “The Club” and interviews with almost everyone involved.

How could you not want to watch this?

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