‘Monster in the Closet’
Monster in the Closet (1987)
Directed by: Bob Dahlin
Donald Grant: Richard Clark
Denise Du Barry: Professor Diane Bennett
Claude Akins: Sheriff Sam Ketchum
Howard Duff: Father Finnegan
Henry Gibson: Dr. Pennyworth
Tagline: It’s Out! It’s Out! It’s Out!
By Jason Plissken
Past Memories: The last time I saw this movie, I was in 7th or 8th grade. Being somewhat of a geek, I always looked forward to watching monster movies on the weekends. There was a period of time during the late 80s that Channel 17(Philadelphia’s first-ever UHF station, WPHL) would show late night monster movies. (Ed. Note – This is where I, too, developed my love for monsters in rubber suits and such, since it aired many a Godzilla movie, as well as the series Ultraman and Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot).
I think the segment was called “Friday Night Frights” (hosted by Bill “Wee Willy” Webber). Saturday afternoons on Channel 48 often would play monster movie matinees during its Creature Double Feature as well. My favorite presentations were the seemingly endless stream of Godzilla movies with the model cities, toy tanks, and excrutiating dubbing.
I watched Monster in the Closet on a Saturday afternoon. I believe my first encounter was on HBO (back when they were none-too-discerning what they showed during the afternoon). The movie actually freaked me out pretty bad, and had a lasting impact on my psyche. I thought the monster suit was pretty creepy looking… at least creepy enough for a 12 year old. The death scenes also seemed pretty gruesome to me as well, from what I recall. Most of the titular monster’s victims were grabbed unsuspectingly and yanked or dragged into a child’s most feared corner of his or her bedroom. It was there they would meet an agonizing death, filled with screams of terror from the victims and elation from the beast. I can also recall its Alien-like mouth that protruded out of its primary gaping mouth when it was ready to attack.
One particular scene involved a seeing-eye dog being hung (by its guide-grip) on the inside of the closet door when the creature was through with it. The scene disturbed me then, and the thought actually still does today.The film, for whatever reason, stayed with me years afterward. I can remember that, for years afterwards, I always had to have my closet door closed before going to bed. By the time I was senior in high school, I was finally able to let go of this closet door phobia.
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