Monster in the Closet (1986)

monster in the closet poster 1986 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 3/10

Sometimes clever riff on old horror tropes

Intentionally cheesy and over the top sometimes just looks cheesy and over the top

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Monster in the Closet

Studio:  Bergquist-Levy Productions/Closet Productions

Genre(s):   Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s):   May 15, 1986 (Cannes)/January 30, 1987 (US)

MPAA Rating:   PG

monster in the closet claude akins vs creature

Claude Akins….Monster Slayer! (or not)

Something is lurking in the closets of a California town, and it wants out!  Fledgling reporter Richard Clark (Donald Grant) is sent on a throwaway assignment to discover what is causing the killings.  When he meets Professor Diane Bennett (Denise DuBarry) and her son “Professor” (Paul Walker), he learns that she thinks it is an unknown creature and her scientist associate Dr. Pennyworth (Henry Gibson) believes humanity can learn from it.  The danger from the monster is growing, and the monster must be stopped!

Written and directed by Bob Dahlin, Monster in the Closet is a low-budget horror comedy.  The movie was distributed by Troma Entertainment and gained a cult following over the years.

I can remember watching Monster in My Closet not long after its release and not understanding its tone.  The movie is basically a comedy with horror aspects (aka a monster) and borrowing from 1950s horror tropes.  While it is cheap and goofy, it does have its moments if you recognize the basis of the movie.

monster in the closet fergie killed

I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a bad night

The movie is a parody.  It has all the old monster movie concepts with a big lurking creature, a military expert who wants to destroy the monster (without studying it), a smart kid, a scientist who thinks the monster is misunderstood, a reporter with gumption, and a romance.  It is over the top and the solution to stopping the monster is ridiculous (with his damsel in distress victim of Richard).  If the movie is taken in that context, it can be amusing.

The movie is loaded with character actors.  Donald Grant and Denise DuBarry intentionally paper thin as the leads.  Other actors include Claude Akins, Howard Duff, Henry Gibson, Paul Dooley, John Carradine (in one of his final roles), Donald Moffat, and Frank Ashmore.  The movie also includes an early big role for Paul Walker and the film premiere of Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie) as one of the monster’s victims.

monster in the closet ending donald grant creature

‘Tis Beauty that killed the Beast!

The movie is cheap looking.  This was somewhat intentional (the budget was low and the filmmakers knew it).  Instead of trying to make a good looking movie at a low budget, they decided to make a cheap looking movie and have fun doing it.  There are some great parodies (like a repeated Psycho scene involving Paul Dooley) and a dropping of the classic King Kong line “It was beauty that killed the beast” with the Richard character being the beauty (instead of Denise DuBarry) and the scene being must less visually powerful as King Kong.

Monster in the Closet is throwaway fun.  It isn’t a good movie, but it revels in it.  It is hard to say it is “so-bad-it-is-good” since it intentionally was made bad, but it does classify and is pretty typical of a Troma release.  If you want goofy monsters, horror, and laughs, you might enjoy Monster in the Closet…or you might think it is everything bad about cheesy horror.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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