MONSTER IN THE CLOSET
Monster in the Closet came out not long after Joe Dante made The Howling (1980) and amid the era of other genre parodies such as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978), Big Meat Eater (1982), Night of the Creeps (1986), Earth Girls Are Easy (1989) and Lobster Man from Mars (1989) where the tongue-in-cheek monster movie one that spoofed and made references to films of the past as well as featured cameos from actors from these films became almost a genre unto itself for a time.
Monster in the Closet may have been intended as a movie parody. On the other hand, less than the tongue-in-cheek tone we would recognise from the modern monster parody, it feels more like a film with an absurd premise that is otherwise taking itself seriously. What it does have is a number of scenes that quote other films. The monster is designed as another variant on the alien in Alien (1979), although never seems to do much that is terribly monstrous other than throw people around (this is one Troma film that is notably tame when it comes to their trademark over-the-top gore and creature effects. For that matter, the film never offers up an origin for the creature or any reason as to why it hides in closets, which is probably a wise thing). There is a sort of quote/parody of the Psycho (1960) shower scene. Elsewhere Henry Gibson insists on confronting the monster while tapping out on a xylophone the five musical notes used to communicate with the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The films most amusing parody is on King Kong (1933) where instead of abducting the girl, the monster instead prefers to abduct the hero (Donald Grant), thus justifying the title there is even a variant on the classic last line offered up at the end with It wasnt the closet. It was Beauty that killed the beast. This gave Monster in the Closet a certain LGBT community relevance at the time it came out, although nothing more is made of this beyond the reversing of King Kongs sexes.
The film has an impressive cast far more well-known names than you would usually find filling out the cast list of Troma films. Leads Donald Grant and Denise DuBarry have never gone on to any recognition but in supporting roles you have names like Henry Gibson, Claude Akins, Donald Moffat, Paul Dooley, Stella Stevens and Howard Duff, not to mention John Carradine, one of the most prolific B movie actors of all time, in one of his last roles. There are also names such as Frank Ashmore who gained a certain amount of attention in the tv series V (1984-6) and as the monster Kevin Peter Hall, the 72 actor who played both the Predator and Bigfoot in Harry and the Hendersons (1987). The most fascinating though are the names that were unknown at the time. The bespectacled kid who is nicknamed The Professor is none other than the late Paul Walker who would grow into an A-list star as the hero of The Fast and the Furious movies, among others. There is also Stacy Ferguson, better known as Fergie, the lead singer of The Black Eyed Peas, who plays the blonde pig-tailed girl who enters the closet and gets devoured in the first five minutes of the film.
Full film avaiable online here:-