Monsters have always belonged in two places in children folklore. Under the bed or in the closet. To try and count the number of films or television shows that have used this myth as a sort of plot device or simple reference would have you trying to find extra hands to count on.
What I’m about to discuss contains a good amount of spoilers for the film. In addition, nothing of what I say is fact or a claim of writer/director Bob Dahlin’s intent or personal beliefs, but only my sneaky suspicions of what could possibly be the strangest underlying theme I’ve ever come across in a B-movie.
While watching Monster in the Closet it becomes evident that the film is a huge spoof of many different genres. It takes aim at journalism-based films, war films, science fiction films and most obviously the horror/monster film. The film does so by utilizing the genres most archetype characters. Included here are the smug journalist, the scientist that is a bit off his rocker, the demanding and frustrated army general and the all-knowing preacher, among others.
The film’s main character is Richard Clark, a journalist at The Daily Globe in San Francisco who can’t get the right gig. In a plea to his editor-in-chief, he ends up with what he thinks to be a hot story, thanks to the fake graciousness of hotshot journalist Scoop. Clark is sent to a small town to cover weeks old murders that left the victims with small puncture holes.
While investigating the cases, Clark runs into a cast of characters. These include Professor Diane Bennett, her son ‘Professor’ Bennett, Sheriff Sam Ketchem, Father Finnegan and Dr. Pennyworth (a man who looks suspiciously similar to Einstein). Along with the help of each of these individuals, Clark uncovers the actual existence of the monster committing the terrible string of murders.
Now I know I’ve been withholding to you so far, leaving my incredibly spectacular theory out of the equation, but be patient, it’s coming. Periodically throughout the film, Clark takes his glasses off and Diane Bennett, an equally attractive face hidden under a pair of large glasses, stops whatever she is doing and falls into a deep trance. This happens so often in the film that I started to think that it was more than just Dahlin’s way of showing growing and playful lust between the two characters. I immediately shouted to my friend that Clark’s looks was going to be what stopped the monster. Amid all the gunfire, grenades and tanks provided by the army, could the removal of Clark’s glasses really be the key?
At first I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought that it could be a possible and certainly silly ending to a silly film. And then it happened. After all attempts to slow the monster fail, Clark’s glasses fall off his face and the monster, much like Diane, stops and stares. It proceeds to pick Clark up, carry him all the way back to San Francisco in search of a closet not yet destroyed by the citizens of all nearby towns and cities. The monster inevitably dies due to some sort of exhaustion, possibly weak because it can’t find a closet to regain its energy in.
Now here’s the kicker. I started to put two and two together. Remember the title of this film for one second. Monster in the Closet. Other than monsters, what are some other things that live in closets in America? Oh right, homosexuals that are too afraid to admit their lifestyle among the lifeless and idiotic bigots of the world. What are these homosexuals considered to be by some far too intense members of the Catholic churches? Monsters.
This isn’t even where it stops. The film takes place in San Francisco (and nearby locations) of all places. What can even further reaffirm my thoughts are some of the lines of dialogue spoken by Father Finnegan and Dr. Pennyworth. Father Finnegan constantly talks about these monsters as being strange creatures from strange worlds, a certainly suitable way for a bible preacher to think about a homosexual in a satirical film. Dr. Pennyworth constantly reaches out to the monster, wanting to help him, much like a man of science might.
Now, the deal breaker for me would be if the monster turned out to be a female. They never specify gender of the monster in the film, but all preconceived notions lead to you thinking that the monster is male. Nothing sexist here ladies, it’s just how films have always worked. Plus, the actor that played the monster was male, and that’s good enough information for me to make a judgment.
This destroy everything monster that has been living in a closet ever since its arrival on the planet showed no weakness or signs of slowing down until it met face to face with a handsome and stud of a man, sans dorky glasses. From there it turns loving and sensitive, attempting to bring Clark back to a closet.
Now I’m not saying I’m right and I’m not saying this is some sort of deep message that I found because I’m a clever or smart person. I’m just having a bit of fun here from my first received instinct from the results of the film. I’m also not saying Dahlin hates gay people or their whole entire culture. I might be looking a little too deep into the whole thing. For me, everything adds up too nicely for it to be a complete coincidence. If Dahlin wanted to send a subtle and satirical message about the rejection of homosexuality in America he succeeded with at least one person.
If you’ve read this entire post, I applaud you. If you still want to see the film, I implore that you do. It’s a fun film with bit roles from actors such as John Carradine (father to the late David Carradine). Fast and the Furious fans can also get a glimpse of a very young Paul Walker in one of his initial roles as ‘Professor’ Bennett, Diane’s son. Hell, even Fergie has a small part. In fact, I would love for you to all watch this film and let me know what you think of my theory. Bogus? True? Coincidence? Whatever it is, let me know.