Cameron's Closet (1988)

MARCH 22, 2009


You know how on The Simpsons the first five minutes are just sort of setting up the real plot in a really random way? Cameron’s Closet is kind of like that. It starts off with a kid that has telekinetic powers and is seemingly starting to rebel against the scientist types who are studying him (it actually feels like the movie starts halfway through its own narrative), but after a while it’s really about some monster and a cop with psychiatric problems. The telekinesis eventually seems forgotten entirely.

Of course, that wouldn’t be too much of a problem had the monster/cop section of the movie been interesting, or even coherent. I eventually hadn’t the slightest clue as to what the fuck was going on, only that there was a monster in the kid’s closet and this little artifact thing was the key to stopping it. A cop that got turned into a zombie factors in somehow. It’s bad enough when your killer kid movie (he more or less kills his dad in the first few minutes, making a machete turn and chop the guy’s head off in one of my all time favorite movie decap deaths) isn’t really a killer kid movie at all, it’s even worse when the one they give you instead is dull and largely kill free.

Speaking of the kills - how fucked up is this kid’s mom going to be? Except for the cop’s partner, the only deaths in the movie are of the most important men in her life: her ex (father of her child), her boyfriend, and her brother. I assume her dad is already dead or else he probably would have gotten offed too. Plus, the entire movie is about some mythical monster trying to kill her son, and does so by... killing other people? Including one that pretty much wanted to kill him anyway (the boyfriend guy) for scratching up his car with a rubber ball? For most of the movie, it seems that the monster is on the kid’s side, if anything.

Speaking of the brother - the monster makes itself look like his sister in order to seduce him before killing him (again, the monster seems to be making things more difficult for himself than they should be). However, the brother is into it, gleefully macking on what he thinks is his sister. And yet, even with light incest, I still don’t recommend the movie.

I dunno why, but this annoyed the shit out of me too: Cameron has his name spelled out in sheets of paper (one letter per page) on the wall of his room in a zigzag shape. But they aren’t spaced evenly, which drove me insane. So of course, director Armand Mastroianni (He Knows Your Alone - sadly this movie did NOT feature the first appearance of a future legendary actor) finds a way to show the damn thing like twenty times over the course of the movie. As if I needed another excuse to punch the movie in the face.

The worst thing about it, however, is that the monster was designed by Carlo Rambaldi (Alien and ET), which is ordinarily a good thing. However, he seemingly worked for ten, fifteen minutes tops on this one - it never moves or does anything cool. I don’t even think the entire body was ever shown in a shot.

Couple crew members worth noting though - the DP was Russell Carpenter, who went on to shoot Titanic ten years later. And Lawrence Bender, better known as the producer of Pulp Fiction, worked as a key grip. Other than Mel Harris (thirtysomething*) I didn’t recognize any of the actors, though IMDb says Bill Lustig is in there somewhere eating an ice cream, a scene I no longer recall.

I watched this on Fearnet, and it was of no better (or worse) quality than the DVD: full frame, poorly transferred from a subpar print (or just a VHS), you know the drill. I’m not saying it deserves such a half-assed release, but it’s good to know that bad movies get short-changed just like the good ones (i.e. The Abyss - still not given an anamorphic DVD release anywhere in the world).

What say you?

*"I need clearance to land on runway thirty... thirtysomething!"
"Thirtysomething has been canceled!"

And now, Horror Movie A Day and Happy Hour Comics would like to present the 8th in an ongoing series of HMAD-inspired comic strips. I hope you enjoy!! (Click to enlarge)


  1. I rented this piece of schlock shortly after it came out on tape. My brother asked me why I would rent such a bad movie if I new it was going to be bad from the get go. I told him so that we could point and laugh. This movie was so bad that it drove everyone who watched it to drink. While they went bar hopping, I finished off watching it. One of the most miserable film watching experiences ever.

  2. I know this couple in real life who have a son named Cameron. They put the letters of his name on the wall above his crib and it does not match up. It's painful to look at.

    These people are not horror fans, so I highly doubt it was an homage to Cameron's Closet.


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