Director: Bob Dahlin
Cast: Donald Grant, Denise DuBarry, Claude Akins
Production Company: Bergquist-Levy Productions
Runtime: 90 minutes
Looking for a movie with tons of action, a fantastic creature, loads of laughs, and an all-star cast too? Well, Monster in the Closet (1986) may just be the movie for you! It’s a fun-filled homage to science fiction films from another era, and a Troma Entertainment classic in its own right.
In the movie, a series of unexplained murders takes place in the town of Chestnut Hills. Luckily, high-spirited reporter Richard Clark (Donald Grant) is on the story. It is soon revealed that a monster is behind the gruesome deaths, and that almost nothing can stop it.
Clark is a mild-mannered reporter who mesmerizes Professor Diane Bennett (Denise DuBarry) every time he removes his glasses. There are a few tongue-in-cheek references like this one that suggest he’s a real-life Superman. He just needs a cape…
The basic plot is oddly reminiscent of the one from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966). Both films feature would-be reporters that get no respect, loud-mouthed rival journalists, and spooky mysteries that need to be solved. The comedic atmosphere is also similar in both films.
A lot of great actors apppear in cameo roles in this film. You’ll see John Carradine from Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966), Claude Akins from Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), Henry Gibson from The Blues Brothers (1980), Jesse White from The Reluctant Astronaut (1967) and even Stella Stevens from The Poseidon Adventure (1972).
The monster is unveiled fairly early on in the film, and looks fantastic. There’s a big military operation that’s pretty spectacular, especially considering it’s not part of the film’s finale. The creature is blasted by everything from flame throwers to armoured tanks in a scene that went beyond my expectations.
One of the underlying themes of the film is that of science versus theology. Father Finnegan (Howard Duff) considers the beast to be one of God’s creatures, while Dr. Pennyworth (Henry Gibson) feels it must be an alien being. This ongoing debate is another nod to monster movies from the atomic era.
Everything about this movie successfully captures the essence of a classic sci-fi film. In that way, it’s a lot like Tobe Hooper’s Invaders from Mars (1986). Some moments are clearly satirical, while others are played straight, but the film always comes across as a loving tribute.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…