From Out of the Darkness – Monster in the Closet (1986)

Troma is famous for trying to blend horror and comedy into what is usually ends up being a ridiculous film and Monster in the Closet is no exception. Sadly, it is neither funny nor scary, but it is somewhat charming as the monster is not overly frightening, though not so cuddly either. Said creature does do a lot of killing and it attacks from the closets of the various individuals it targets, being far more creepy than it is horrific, but when the film ramps up and director/writer Bob Dahlin picks up the pace a little, it only gets more interesting as the creature seems indestructible with nothing being able to stop it.

More than anything, the movie is not so much remembered for being the cinematic masterpiece that it tried to be, but for those who starred in it like a young Paul Walker, character actor Paul Dooley, Donald Moffat, Claude Akins and even John Carradine. The film actually surprised time and again with each familiar face that made an appearance and a couple of them, Dooley for one, would create a couple of chuckles when doing so. As for the main players like Donald Grant and Denise DuBarry, they were serviceable in their roles and carried the picture along, not hurting it any, but neither making it as good as it might have been. As previously alluded to, the horror was non-existent and even when the monster was attacking the various characters, they never really sold it enough to make it seem like a creature straight from the stuff of nightmares was attacking them.

As for the special effects, that being the costume used, it looked great and while perhaps not as flexible as it could have been, the creature was at least fairly original or at least enough that it would set itself apart from others of its ilk. The only other problem with the creature was that once fully revealed for all to see, it lost some of its mystique and simply looked like a big rubber suit. If the makers of this film had left said monster primarily in the shadows, attacking from the closet or wherever, it more than likely would have worked better and made the film scary for it. Such as it was though, comedy was supposed to play a factor in it all and creating a horrific creature rather than what they did would not have worked as well, considering the direction they were headed.

Though it may not have been very funny and it was definitely not frightening in any way, shape or form, Dahlin did his best and Monster in the Closet ended up being somewhat entertaining thanks to all the carnage, though the humour for all that it was, almost worked against it. Not a bad movie, but not great.

2.5 out of 5

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