HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Monster in the Closet It's coming out!
Year: 1987
Director: Bob Dahlin
Stars: Donald Grant, Denise DuBarry, Claude Akins, Howard Duff, Henry Gibson, Donald Moffat, Paul Dooley, John Carradine, Jesse White, Frank Ashmore, Paul Walker, Stella Stevens, Kevin Peter Hall, Fergie, Richard Montgomery
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A portentous Rod Serling-style narrator recounts a string of bizarre murders occurring throughout Chestnut Hills, California. An old blind man, his dog, a stroppy little girl and a married couple are all slain by an unseen menace that emerges inexplicably from their closets. Only to vanish just as mysteriously from whence it came. Clark Kent look-alike rookie news reporter Richard Clark (Donald Grant) is tricked by a smarmy rival into covering the attacks which many believe to be a hoax. Local sheriff Sam Ketchum (Claude Akins) suspects a serial killer is at large but, along with the rest of the town, is quickly confronted by a huge, hideous slobbering monster (played by Kevin Peter Hall, the most reliable man-in-a-monster suit of the Eighties). In the midst of the monster's now-nationwide rampage, Richard befriends child genius 'Professor' Bennett (a young Paul Walker) and his health-conscious single mother, brilliant scientist Diane (Denise DuBarry). Intrigued by the unfathomable, seemingly unstoppable creature, Diane, her mentor Dr. Pennyworth (Henry Gibson) and uncle, Catholic priest Father Finnegan (Howard Duff) try to find a way to communicate with it before humanity is doomed.

One of the very, very few Troma productions actually worth anything, Monster in the Closet is a horror-comedy gem from the Eighties. A delightful pastiche of Fifties monster movies in the style of Mel Brooks. Today the film is largely remembered for featuring early roles for Paul Walker, future star of the Fast and Furious franchise, and Stacey Ferguson a.k.a. Fergie, singer with The Black-Eyed Peas. The future Fergalicious one plays the little girl devoured in the opening montage of monster attacks. Mercifully off-screen because unlike Troma's Rabid Grannies (1988), Monster in the Closet grasps the difference between a good bad-taste gag and a bad bad-taste gag. Alongside the young stars-to-be are a fun cameos from affable genre veterans Claude Akins, John Carradine (on screen for just a fleeting moment but really committing to his comedy blind guy bit), Stella Stevens (in a nude shower scene as part of a witty Psycho (1960) send-up with a solid punchline), Paul Dooley and the ever-watchable Henry Gibson as an Einstein look-alike scientist. You also have Donald Moffat relishing an all too rare humourous turn as ranting General Turnbull.

In his only credit as writer-director Bob Dahlin, who after making this film resumed his long career as a first assistant director, crafts a witty script with likable characters, clever dialogue and quirky, genuinely laughs. While Dahlin does bludgeon the occasional gag to death (i.e. Pennyworth repeating the same anecdote about dissecting a frog; title cards that flash the precise date, time and location of each scene) the film maintains a consistent level of ingenuity. With gags both broadly satirical (e.g. Father Finnegan's hilarious graveside sermon; Richard nonchalantly munching candy bars while he and the scientists stalk the monster; Pennyworth using a xylophone to communicate with the beast in a jab at Steven Spielberg's touchy-feely brand of science fiction) and surprisingly subtle (Diane repeatedly breaking her arguments down to bullet points; the newsroom styled as a parody of All the President's Men (1976) including mention of a reporter named Hoffman).

The aspect of the film's humour that proves especially potent is its send-up and subversion of Fifties monster movie tropes. While the Eighties were indeed an era when baby boomers crafted many a loving homage to the science fiction of their youth, Monster in the Closet both captures the tone of the genre, working in ingenious allusions to Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Them! (1954), The War of the Worlds (1953), Robot Monster (1953), King Kong (technically 1933, but re-released in the Fifties) and The Twilight Zone, and cleverly subverts its clichés. Here it is the leading lady portraying the scientist who comes up with an ingenious last-minute solution to the monster menace while the male lead is the one who on removing his glasses dazzles everyone with their unexpected attractiveness. A joke that pays off with a hilarious twist in the third act capped by a perfect quote from King Kong. Dahlin's camera work is also fluid and inventive and the film maintains a brisk pace throughout, edited by Raja Gosnell future director of Scooby-Doo (2002) and The Smurfs (2011). Well, nobody's perfect. The monster is well designed and lifelike, sporting an Alien-style extendable second mouth and memorably bizarre grunting and snarling noises. In fact the film even pulls off one genuine shock scene all the more effective for puncturing a sweet romantic moment. On top of that the performances are all great, particularly lead actors Grant and DuBerry. Even the blatant product placement for Nestlé Crunch candy bars is not too egregious, since they are delicious anyway.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 549 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: