Monsters in the Closet
One of the great and unique things about the horror genre is how many different ways it can be broken down into subgenres, and each can be so vastly different from each other. A lot of the mainstream Hollywood horror feels like it's always trying to be super serious and set a dark tone in an attempt to scare audiences, but lost to the mainstream is the love of ridiculous, over-the-top and sometimes raunchy horror. Everyone obviously knows the name Troma, but there's a handful of writers out there still dedicated to delivering these absurd yet hysterical gore filled good times - and that's where The Snygg Brothers come in! Spencer and Zack Snygg (who previously worked under the name John Bacchus) are not new to both filmmaking nor this very niche style of horror, and their new release MONSTERS IN THE CLOSET just hit streaming services here in the US on January 4th, so obviously we had to rent ourselves a copy of the flick and check out the madness for ourselves! Let me preface this review by saying that this style of film is absolutely not everyone's thing: the lower end, independent absurdity that goes into these movies are very clear, and the film its self does not try and hide what it is by any means. But if you can put aside the brainwashed need for clean cut, cookie cutter Hollywood style horror... then you are in for a fucking treat with the Snygg Brothers new flick - cause it's got four wild stories that are sure to give you the heebee jeebees if you don't choke from laughing! If you can make it out of them alive- that is!
Monsters in the Closet is an anthology set of short stories written and directed by the brothers, and the film acknowledges that each short story is just that - a story. The main storyline to the film is that when horror author Raymond Grant (Tom Cikoski) dies, his daughter Jasmin (Jasmin Flores) returns to his horror filled home to investigate his mysterious death and instead is met with a video from her father telling her that everything he owned is now hers, including his collections and his book and movie rights to the stories he's written. It is then that Raymond shares with Jasmin his latest purchase: a book on black magic from the 17th century that will teach him how to cast magical spells through short stories. In other words, whatever horrors Raymond conjures up in his stories, they come to life when read aloud! So of course, the four stories he has prepared are told and the terror comes to life in the real world!! Can Jasmin survive the horrors that were birthed from the mind of her father?! The four short films - "Please Kill Me Again," "Home Improvement," “The One-Percenters,” and "Frankenstein's Wife" - get progressively more outlandish, gory, and absurd as they go on, and if you enjoy any silly horror flicks from Troma or films like Rubber or Thankskilling, then Monsters in the Closet will definitely satisfy your appetite for this unique style of movie!
"Please Kill Me Again" definitely feels like the weakest of the four shorts; not saying it's at all a bad thing, it's just that the three stories that follow definitely smoke this one overall. However, in terms of creativity, this one actually has to be acknowledged - and it would definitely be appreciated by a wider audience, I think, than the other three. "Please Kill Me Again" tells the story of a woman who wakes up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, only to find out that she's been turned! The audio that runs alongside the footage places audiences inside of the characters head as she slowly begins to kinda learn and understand that she's becoming one of the undead! The overall product is great, but the thing that really did it for me with this one was all of the small details that were included in the storyline. From the woman eating an apple and puking up green guts to thinking rational thoughts yet when she speaks its all zombie mumbo-jumbo, to her trying to help people in her head but accidently killing them in the process. The writing process for this one had to be fun as they had to put themselves into the mind of a freshly turned zombie and some of the stuff they came up with is fucking fantastic. Not to mention that the zombies look pretty killer too. I thought it was definitely an excellent story to kick-off the anthology and the creativity that went into it totally shows.
"Home Improvement" seriously left me fucking speechless; this one will definitely get you to smile, if not laugh your ass off. A couple buys a new home but they used up all of their money to buy the house, and have none left over to fix the problems the house has. So the couple do what everyone seems to do these days: go to YouTube and D-I-Y the home repairs themselves - what could possibly go wrong, right?! Well, as the days become weeks and the weeks become months, the couple - who infuriatingly refer to each other as schmoopy the whole time - start getting in each others way and on each others nerves as they attempt to fix up the house, and the repairs are just not going well. D-I-Y becomes D-I-DIE as the couple grows to hate each other as the work on the house seems endless, and the mutual feelings of misery become physical as the couple takes turns delivering blow after blow of violence - this one is definitely the one dedicated to the gore lovers out there!! The killer special effects make this one to love.
"The One-Percenters" is a fun little story that just has all sorts of crazy going on. A wealthy "one-percenter," overprotective father won't allow his daughter to go away on a camping trip with her "friends" (and I say "friends" because when they're together, it seems like none of them even know each others fucking names) for the weekend, because he doesn't think she belongs hanging around with people he sees as lower than them. He tries to persuade her to stay with a shopping spree but she's dead set on going, so after some begging she finally gets the go-ahead. Fast forward to the trip, and she's miserable and comes to complain to her boyfriend when he's in the middle of showing an engagement ring to a friend and telling her that he's going to propose after just three months of dating. One thing leads to another, and the one-percenter babe accidently shoots and kills her boyfriend, and in her head it makes sense to kill off everybody else on the trip to ensure that her future at Princeton isn't destroyed. I mean, she can't go back to daddy - after he insisted she not go - and tell him she accidently shot and killed her boyfriend, right?! This one is definitely a good time and has a very fitting ending to it.
And finally... "Frankenstein's Wife" has to be the highlight of the entire film for me. Even though it may seem biased since I'm a huge Frankenstein geek, I swear, this short story blows the other three out of the water. From it's silliness to it's depravity and humor, this short story has to be one of the most insane yet hysterical things I've seen in a minute. Dr. Frankenstein and his wife are residing in a castle in New Jersey when he accidently kills her on her birthday. Being a mad scientist, he is able to reanimate her and bring her back from the dead... until she dies again. So he brings her back, shouting in his best Frankenstein impression: "She's alive!!" That is.. until she dies again. Dr. Frankenstein keeps reanimating his wife - whom he loves so dearly that he simply cannot let her pass away forever - and with every revival, she physically becomes less and less human, to the point where she becomes eyeballs and a brain in a jar (which he fucks, by the way). It's so absurd and mental that it's fucking funny as hell, and even though an entire day has passed since I saw the film, it's still got me cracking up at how just flat out bizarre it is. This one's for the real weirdos out there who like their horror weird as fuck - "Frankenstein's Wife" will surely send chills down your spine!!
Honestly, the only thing about this movie that I found a little disappointing was the wraparound for Monsters in the Closet; the attempt was definitely there, but it kinda failed to really deliver. Remember, all of these stories, when read aloud, were supposed to use black magic to have the horrors of the story come to life. They kinda do, I guess, but it feels like it just fails to hit the mark and really deliver a strong, solid main storyline to tie all of the short films together. It definitely felt like it was a bit of a stretch, but I'll be honest the scenes where you get to see the horror author Raymond Grant tell shitty jokes was actually the best part of the wraparound, cause a lot of it was actually funny and weird. But overall, Monsters in the Closet is a fun horror anthology that would be a good film to smoke and chill out to, and just kinda absorb all its weirdness with your friends while you pig out on some snacks. I wouldn't say it's one I think I'll be revisiting anytime soon, to be honest, but there's no doubt it's entertaining in the moment, and I wouldn't be against seeing a part two to this and seeing a series come of it. The Snygg Brothers definitely got a talent for this niche and I think a Monsters series would be sick. Check it out!