Cameron’s Closet (1988)

Rating:

USA. 1988.

Crew

Director – Armand Mastroianni, Screenplay/Based on the Novel by Gary Brandner, Producer – Luigi Cingolani, Photography – Russell Carpenter, Music – Harry Manfredini, Visual Effects Supervisor – Ermanno Bia’monte, Special Effects Supervisor – Greg Landerer, Creatures – Carlo Rambaldi, Prosthetic Makeup Effects – Rose Librizzi & Alex Rambaldi, Production Design – Michael Bingham. Production Company – Smart Egg Pictures

Cast

Cotter Smith (Sergeant Sam Taliaferro), Mel Harris (Nora Haley), Scott Curtis (Cameron Lansing), Kim Lankford (Dory Lansing), Gary Hudson (Bob Froelich), Chuck McCann (Professor Ben Majors), Tab Hunter (Professor Owen Lansing)


Plot

Professor Owen Lansing is conducting a series of experiments aimed at stimulating psychic powers and is using his young son Cameron as test subject. He then realises that he has triggered something evil and tries to stop Cameron but is killed. Afterwards, Cameron is sent to stay with his mother. There however a demon appears in his closet and begins killing those who threaten or dislike Cameron. Investigating the killings, police detective Sam Taliaferro tries to stand up and banish the demonic forces.


Cameron’s Closet comes from Armand Mastroianni, a cousin of the better-known Italian star Marcello. Armand Mastroianni made his name as a minor genre director of no particular distinction with the likes of He Knows You’re Alone (1980), The Supernaturals (1986) and Distortions (1987) and sundry tv movies such as Virus (1995) and Invasion (1997). The film is written and adapted from a 1987 novel by Gary Brandner, a prolific hack horror writer whose main claim to fame has been authoring the novel The Howling (1977) and two subsequent sequels, which has the distinction of having inspired seven films, beginning with Joe Dante’s The Howling (1980), without actually having any of its material adapted to the screen.

Cameron’s Closet is a film striking only in its obviousness. It has been written to provide a series of novelty deaths every few minutes – the script has no real purpose other than to string these together. Some of these get fairly silly – the mutant elephant trunk that appears in the shower to bash someone’s head in; another’s character’s head melting down; one person having his eyes blown out and then being thrown out a window; Tab Hunter’s death where he manages to ‘accidentally’ fall on a machete he just happened to leave balanced between two ladders and decapitate himself (the machete having somehow turned from a horizontal to an upright position for this to happen). It is not very clear what is going on and the climactic showdown is dull. Various creatures pop up in the closet but these are seen only briefly and never well linked to the story.



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