Directed by Armand Mastroianni
Produced by Luigi Cingolani
Written by Gary Brandner
Director of Photograpy Russell Carpenter
Music by Harry Manfredini
Cast: Mel Harris, Cotter Smith, Scott Curtis, Chuck McCann, Kim Lankford & Tab Hunter
1989/88 mins/Color/Dolby Stereo
1.33:1/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment DVD
I wish that CAMERON'S CLOSET were about films which James Cameron has made, but then decided to not release. Heck, I would've have been happy if it were about his actual closet. But, alas, it's not.
Scott Curtis stars as the title character in CAMERON'S CLOSET (to clarify, he plays Cameron and not a closet), a 10-year old boy who we are told has telekinetic abilities. As the movie opens, Cameron's father (Tab Hunter) is clearly disturbed by the fact that Cameron is playing in his closet and is summarily decapitated for his troubles. (Not by Cameron, but by some unseen force.) Cameron then goes to live with his mother (Kim Lankford), who likes to drink and dance in the living room, and her boyfriend (Gary Hudson), who likes to harass Cameron. When Bob is found dead, police detective Sergeant Taliaferro (Cotter Smith) is called in to investigate and psychologist Dr. Nora Haley (Mel Harris) is asked to speak with Cameron. Taliaferro has been suffering from disturbing nightmares and soon begins to dream about Cameron (but not in a sick way). After meeting with Cameron Dr. Haley begins to suspect that the child is psychic. As Haley and Taliaferro begin to investigate Cameron's past, bizarre things begin to happen, such as a homicidal ceiling fan. The detective and the shrink soon realize that this young boy is in great danger, as a papier mache monster lies in wait in Cameron's closet.
When a movie is attempting to make you afraid of a closet, you know it's got to be good.
"Hey, PSYCHO made people afraid of the shower. What part of the house can we make people fear?" CAMERON'S CLOSET comes to us from director Armand Mastroianni, the American-born cousin of Italian film star Marcello Mastroianni, and novelist Gary Brandner (THE HOWLING), who also wrote the screenplay for the film. Mastroianni had already made the bad, but watchable HE KNOWS YOU,RE ALONE (which featured Tom Hanks' big-screen debut) and THE SUPERNATURALS. Brandner was a successful horror novelist who had many books under his belt. So, one would think that they would know what they were doing with CAMERON'S CLOSET, but that's clearly not the case, as this may be one of the few films in history where the character who knows what's going on finally gets a chance to explain everything...and they don't.
That's probably because they really didn't know what was going on. I'm not familiar with the CAMERON'S CLOSET novel, but the film is very light on story. We get a lot of shots of Cameron's face, a lot of shots of a seagull, and a lot of shots of Cameron's closet. The characters all stand around worrying about Cameron, but it's not until the end that anyone bothers to check on him. But, of course, since everyone suspects that Cameron's closet is dangerous, they keep going there. Most of the film comes off as very cheesy and corny, almost seeming like a mildly occult family film, but then there are at least four very violent and gory scenes, in which certain characters die for no real reason. The violent scenes are made even more creepy when the young boy is present. The monster from Carlo Rambaldi, who helped build the monster for ALIEN, is basically a head which isn't the least bit menacing. The copyright date on the DVD box is 1987 and the film was released in 1989, but I would bet that it was shot much earlier than that, as the whole affair has a very early 80s look and feel (and I'm not just talking about Cameron's “Eye of the Tiger” poster). The acting is OK, and it's nice to see the other guy from "Far Out Space Nuts", the one who wasn't Gilligan, getting some work. Save for the ceiling fan scene (which is clearly ripping off POLTERGEIST), there aren't even any moments in the movie which are good for laughs. CAMERON'S CLOSET is a bargain-basement baddie which needs to used solely for storage, not entertainment.
CAMERON'S CLOSET opens up to DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. The film is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. I don't know the film's original aspect ratio, but I didn't notice any extreme panning and scanning, so I'd be willing to bet that this was originally an open matte job. This theory is further supported by the scene in which there is some naked male violence, and there is a brief glimpse of below-the-waist nudity, which I'm sure they didn't intend for us to see. The image is sharp, but not very clear, as it is grainy and rather soft. The colors are good for the most part, but the image lacks detail at times and the artifacting runs rampant. The DVD features a Dolby 2.0 stereo audio track which offers clear dialogue and music. The supernatural sound effects sound fine coming through the front channels, but this doesn't make the movie any better. There are no extra features on this DVD.
There is no points allowed to this DVD since there is no extras.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©