Program 17 – Closet Monster
Canada / 2015 / 90 min. | Directed by: Stephen Dunn
Dark humor and body horror imagery seamlessly meld in this distinct directorial debut from 26-year-old Canadian wunderkind Stephen Dunn. Winner of the award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Closet Monster is a coming-of-age story unlike any you’ve seen before.
After growing up in a broken home with a sometimes charming, often drunk father, Oscar (Connor Jessup, Falling Skies and American Crime) is now a creative high school introvert, and wants nothing more than to escape his small town. That is until he takes a summer job at a hardware store and becomes drawn to a freewheeling charismatic co-worker, aptly named Wilder (Aliocha Schneider). Oscar’s attraction to Wilder spurs in him a sexual awakening complicated by violent psycho-sexual hallucinations that harken back to a viscous hate crime Oscar witnessed at a young age. Luckily for Oscar, he’s never without his trusty best friend, a talking hamster named Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini), whose wry observations bring a welcome sense of levity to Oscar’s journey of self-discovery.
Mixing brazen oddness with fun 90’s nostalgia and a quirky sense of humor, writer and director Dunn has created an accomplished and assured debut that promises great things to come from a bold new cinematic voice.
— Josh Prete
Jury Award: BEST FEATURE Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Jury Award: BEST FEATURE Melbourne Queer Film Festival Official Selection: Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival Winner: BEST CANADIAN FEATURE Toronto International Film Festival Winner: BEST CANADIAN FEATURE Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival Official Selection: Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival