Movie of the Week: Cameron’s Closet


Owen Lansing is a research scientist, assisted by Professor Ben Majors.  Their main area of study is Owen’s ten-year-old son, Cameron.  Cameron has some very special abilities, including telekinesis, some form of mental projection and, also, bringing ancient, arcane demons from the netherworld into this reality.  No one said child rearing was easy.

Realizing that something has gone bonkers wrong and that they’ve dabbled with forces best left alone (not to mention that he used his adolescent son to do it), Owen decides enough is enough and is ready to stop the dark forces which seem to be coming from Cameron’s closet.  Sadly, these forces do not want to be stopped, they want out to terrorize the world.

Owen’s impromptu mission to curtail the evil ends with him falling and decapitating himself on his own machete.  The police rule it an accident (in their defense, there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise) and Cameron goes to live with his mom, Dory– his parents were divorced and his mom knows nothing of his unique abilities.

It doesn’t take long for Cameron to not like his new living conditions.  His mom he loves, but her actor boyfriend, Bob (you kinda want to say his name in a hateful Black Adder way), leaves something to be desired.  Bob is just a big bully who doesn’t like kids:  when he’s not obsessing over his car or perceived thespian attributes, he has it in for little Cameron.

As luck would have it, the demon living in Cameron’s closet doesn’t like ol’ Bob either.  After a nasty berating of the kid, Bob opens the closet door and has his eyes fried.  The big a-hole then is tossed through the air and out the window where he then lands on his car.  This death is not so easy to classify as an “accident”.  Sergeant Sam Taliaferro is given the case, along with psychiatrist Nora Haley who is to help with Cameron.  Haley is also Sam’s work appointed therapist as he’s been having nightmares and blackouts on the job.

Dr. Haley, by chance, witnesses Cameron’s powers.  From their sessions together, she also learns that Cameron has precognitive powers.  The more she and Sam dig into the case, the more dead bodies turn up, and Cameron himself is put in the path of danger.

I remember watching Cameron’s Closet several times when I was about eleven or twelve, and I always thought it was pretty cool– back then, anyway.  I watched it not so long ago for the first time in about, oh, thirty years and it wasn’t as awesome as preteen me considered it.  It’s still a nice little movie, though, if you’re looking for goofy entertainment.  

Cameron’s Closet came out in that pocket of years of the early/mid-80s to mid-90s when there were some good low-budget films released (mainly straight-to-video) with cool special effects, especially practical and make-up effects.  What the movie may have in unintentional humor, or just plain bad acting, what’s going on around the characters is worth the film it was recorded on. 

There’s a can-do, underdog quality to Cameron’s Closet, a certain panache in its epic vision of the netherworld.  Other movies may do it better, but they don’t have Sergeant Sam duking it out with a demon or the whirling death machine of a super-powered ceiling fan.

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