Closet Monster

DIRECTOR: Stephen Dunn

Bay Area Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Stephen Dunn

Teenage lust, woozy visions, and a talking hamster voiced by Isabella Rossellini shape this queer coming-of-age tale that’s as strange, scary, and sublime as the real experience. Oscar (rising star Connor Jessup) is an arty teen with a turbulent home life and a smoldering crush on hardware store “bad boy” Wilder (Aliocha Schneider). An aspiring makeup effects artist, Oscar spends his days concocting wild photo shoots with best friend Gemma (Sofia Banzhaf) and his nights weathering the neglect of an aloof mother and volatile father. Haunted by a gay bashing he witnessed as a child, he begins having surreal nightmares—rendered with grisly Cronenberg-esque flair—that simmer to the surface of his mind and body, as his burgeoning queer desires do the same.

Winner of multiple awards on the festival circuit and directed by Stephen Dunn, whose sexually irreverent short Pop-Up Porno was a favorite among Frameline39 audiences, Closet Monster is an impressive first feature that verifies Dunn’s reputation as a risk-taking visionary (cinephiles take note!). Closet Monster is deliriously dark, but with a cheeky comic wit that emerges via Oscar’s closest confidant: “Buffy,” the wryly observant rodent voiced by Rossellini. Undoubtedly a reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show further conjured by Oscar’s fantastical make-up effects, Closet Monster raises the specter of queer childhood in the ’90s. But bolstered by its distinct depictions and a stunning soundtrack of contemporary indie electronica, from Austra to Light Asylum, Closet Monster is unmistakably now and oh-so-cool.

— Curran Nault

This film contains depictions of homophobic violence.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F106

Co-presented by:
Consulate General of Canada

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