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Monster In The Closet (1986)

DVD Cover (Troma Entertainment)
Genres:
Creature Film, Horror, Horror Comedy, Parody / Spoof
Director:
Bob Dahlin Bob Dahlin
Starring:
Donald Grant Donald Grant
Denise DuBarry Denise DuBarry
Claude Akins Claude Akins
Howard Duff Howard Duff
Henry Gibson Henry Gibson

4.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 13, 2011
I was in the mood for a little bit of monster movie mayhem, and as I was browsing through my Netflix queue, Monster in the Closet practically screamed "pick me!" when I hovered over it. I wasn't sure if it would be the thing to sate my desire for this kind of film, but hey, Stephen King managed to make the childhood fear of a boogeyman in the closet into a terrifying short story, so I thought that it could have worked. That thought went out the window about two minutes into the running time, but that isn't to say that it's a bad movie.

The story kicks off with a series of bizarre murders in a small California town, and by bizarre, I mean that they were all linked to closets. What ever could it possibly be? The local newspaper sends over one of their grunts to cover the story, figuring that it's nothing more than a small-time serial killer, but said grunt - excuse me, Richard "Dick" Clark (Donald Grant) - wants to move up in the business and figures that this could be his big chance. He eventually teams up with Professor Diane Bennett (Denise DuBarry), her son Professor (Paul Walker of Fast and the Furious fame), and two-time Nobel prize winner Dr. Pennyworth (Henry Gibson) to get to the bottom of the story. They eventually discover that the deaths come courtesy of a monster who uses closets as a source of power (I bet you didn't see THAT coming), and the military is soon called in to put an end to it. Unfortunately, conventional weapons have no effect on the beast, and it continues to run rampant in the town. Watch for appearances by John Carradine in a hilarious cameo, Stella Stevens in a shower scene, and a seven-year-old Fergie.

If it wasn't blatantly obvious from that synopsis, Monster in the Closet is a goofy monster movie that is just as much comedy as it is horror. It is a spoof of fifties monster movies, and if you're interested in that type of movie, you'll find a lot to love here. We're given a badass monster in a great costume, we're given an original (and very silly) storyline, and yes, there are plenty of explosions. There's also a lot of laughs, and shockingly enough, it's all done in a PG movie. Indeed, save for one quick shower scene with a minimal amount of boobs, this is a movie that the kids could enjoy just as much as the adults. The DVD cover may say Troma, but they had no involvement in making the movie, so don't go in expecting the usual Troma formula - there's absolutely no blood, no fart or dick jokes, and only about ten seconds of boobs.

What makes the film work is how goofy and campy it is: the filmmakers knew they weren't making a classic movie, and as such, they went out and had fun making it. It never takes itself seriously, the actors seemed to be having a blast in their roles, and the entire affair is a classic example of "turn off your brain and enjoy the movie." You'll never feel an ounce of fear or tension, but you'll love the look of the monster costume. You may not find a lot of gut-busting laughs, but I guarantee that you'll at least crack a grin more than a couple of times. You may not put it on your list of favorite movies, but you'll damned sure have a good time while it's playing.

Monster in the Closet is a fun movie. It gives us a great monster, it gives us an engaging storyline that is paced out wonderfully, there's lots of laughs, and although I wouldn't accuse any of the actors of turning in amazing performances, you can't complain about anyone either. Is it a perfect movie? Of course not... but if you just want to watch a bad b-movie and have a blast while doing so, give this one a shot. 8/10.
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