When you hear the words “80s horror,” what comes to mind? I am guessing you can only infiltrate low-quality material with poor visuals, resulting in a tedious and mundane viewing experience.
This television series, which aired from 1984 to 1988, can prove you incorrect. Science fiction, drama, and fantasy with a horror tinge are among the genres explored in this series. This series established the standard for horror short films and paved the way for shows like ‘Black Mirror,’ which are still popular today.
‘Tales from the Darkside,’ compiled by George A. Romeo and Stephen King, is what we are talking about. For all horror lovers, both of these people have become household names. Each episode is a short film that can be seen on its own. Today, we will take a look at one of the series’ episodes, ‘Inside the Closet.’
Every Kid’s Worst Nightmare Realised – Inside the Closet (1984)
This nearly 22-minute episode opens with a shot of Dr. Fenner opening the door to a young female student who wants to be his tenant. He warns warned her that he is a veterinarian and Dean at a college and a very strict landlord. This young girl Gail Aynsley agrees to all his terms and conditions and moves in.
Dr. Fenner tells Gail that the room she is residing in used to once be her late daughter’s. He informs her that one particular closet door in her room remains locked as he has misplaced the key for the same. Little did she know, that this seemingly harmless locked small door in her room be the sole cause of havoc and her misery.
On her first night in the room, Gail hears noises coming from inside the closet. She presumes it’s a rat. The viewers however are shown the doorknob of the closet rotates from the inside. The next day when Gail informs Dr. Fenner of the said rat, he simply scoffs at her telling her there are no alive rats in his home.
The following night, Gail discovers that the key for the door also opens the closet. She quickly places a rat trap inside the open closet door. That night, she hears a sharp snapping of the trap and presumes the rat to be trapped. She gingerly walks towards the closet but is unable to open it with the same key. Once, Gail is back to her bed, the camera angle shifts to a first perspective shot of a small creature, which we cannot see, scurrying from inside the closet to under Gail’s bed. This is precisely how to movie depicts children’s two worst fears – something in the closet and something under their bed.
Gail goes back to her bed and we just see bloodshot big red eyes under the bed. Gail goes back to Dr. Fenner to tell him the mouse has been trapped. He dismisses her yet again saying the closet cannot be opened. When Gail tries to use the same key again to show him, the closet remains locked.
Finally, Gail decides to lay awake at night and keeps a torch next to her. She hears the closet door click open. She quickly gets up to check inside the closet. She comes face to face with an extremely hideous but small creature. It has big bulging bloodshot eyes with huge nails. It resembled a freakish hairless white monkey due to its movements. Gail screams and attempts to run when she is grabbed by this creature who climbs onto her shoulders. It attacks her and she falls with a thud to the ground. The creature then drags her across the floor and into the closet.
In the last scene of this episode is Dr. Fenner on a call with Gail’s parents telling them he does not know her whereabouts. He then shrieks out in pain when the same creature grabs him by his foot. However, Dr. Fenner speaks to the creature lovingly calling it his ‘pretty little girl’. He picks it up and takes it upstairs to tuck her into bed.
Why Should You Watch ‘Inside the Closet’?
‘Inside the Closet’ is a very engaging watch. This is commendable considering the fact that this episode was filmed on a small budget and that took over thirty years ago. The fear of having creatures reside in the shadows of your home which is the place people presume to be the safest transcends all generations.
The character of Dr. Fenner is also one that is likable in his own way despite his dismissive and annoying attitude. The trope of the naïve college student is also explored via Gail where her suspicions are right from the start. The fact that the ending does not explain who the creature is and simply shows us a strangely tender relationship of a father and daughter between Dr. Fenner and the creature leaves the viewer pondering.