#214 -- Monster in the Closet (1986)
Director: Bob Dahlin
Everything you're thinking right now is probably correct. Monster in the Closet is a film from Troma studios that pokes at the monster movies of old. It was meant to be silly, but at the same time, it doesn't seem like it was trying to be silly. They created something ridiculous, but they pulled it off with seriousness. Don't be confused, though. It's not about the boogeyman. This thing was 100% monster.
Possibly from another planet, the monster preyed on innocent people while hiding in their closets. Why it chose closets, no one could be sure. They figured that a closet was its safe place; a place where it could rest and rejuvenate itself. But if anyone should wander into the closet where it was hiding, you best believe that person didn't come back out. It wasn't really clear what it was doing to begin with. All we got was a high pitched sound, and then everything from the closet being tossed about. There's nothing to see, really. It takes a good while for us to actually get a look at the monster too.
A reporter, Richard Clark, was put on the case of the Closet Creature killings. He went to a town called Chestnut Hills to investigate. While he was there, he met with a college biology professor who supposedly believed that the creature was actually a giant snake (because two puncture wounds were found in each victim). Along with Professor Bennett, Richard met Father Finnegan, a priest who apparently was Dr. Bennett's uncle. Also there was Dr. Pennyworth, a man who worked with Dr. Bennett; and "Professor," Dr. Bennett's son. They all had their theories on how to destroy the monster, but they learned the truth a little bit too late.
Richard Clark was sort of like a superman. He wore giant, ugly glasses all the time. But when those glasses were removed for whatever reason, Dr. Bennett went into some sort of trance. She couldn't look at anything except him. What I thought was foreshadowing a budding relationship actually played a big role in the ending of the movie. Because when The Monster saw Richard without his glasses, it had the same effect. He took Richard prisoner, but it didn't intend to hurt him. Maybe it was looking for a mate? Maybe it had fallen in love with him because of his charming good looks? I'm not sure, but its compassion toward Richard ended up being its downfall. As one of the characters (I can't remember which) said, "'Twas beauty killed the beast."
The solution was quite simple and predictable, but it worked in its own way. No man nor machine could destroy the monster. No amount of fire power could take it down. Guns, tanks, whatever--the army was at a loss, and all they could do was evacuate everyone. What could be done to destroy a creature that lives in closets? Well, that seems pretty obvious to me.
The movie was silly, of course. But it had a little ray of seriousness about it. It is a Troma movie, though, so how serious could it honestly be? Not very. The monster itself was really strange-looking. It was a gigantic hunchback, with a gaping mouth rimmed with teeth. But those teeth aren't what caused the puncture wounds found on the victims. There was another creature living inside of the monster, a little worm-looking thing. It would slither out of the monster's gaping hole of a mouth to kill its victims. It doesn't make much sense, but that's what I like about these movies. They're always creative and different, and you can't honestly say you've ever seen anything like them. These movies do what many other movies attempt to do: to be so stupid they're good, instead of just plain stupid. Monster in the Closet is a good example. I've never seen a movie like this before, and I probably never will again.
This one has a couple of familiar faces in it. Dr. Pennyworth was played by Henry Gibson (who has been in so many things, but the most memorable for me is Luck of the Irish). The geeky little boy, "Professor," was played by a very young Paul Walker (yes, the same one from the Fast and the Furious movies), and John Carradine had a short role as a blind man searching a closet for his seeing-eye dog.
Troma is an acquired taste, I've come to figure out. I've never actually met another person who likes them the way that I do. I still have hope, though, that I will find a kindred soul who enjoys cheesy movies that poke fun at themselves.