What Is the Meaning of Closet Monster Title?

Image Credit: Strand Releasing

‘Closet Monster’ is a 2015 drama film that revolves around the struggles of a closeted gay teenager, Oscar Madly. Directed by debutant director Stephen Dunn, the movie deals with the complex theme of internalized homophobia through the use of David Cronenberg-like body horror elements. The story sees Oscar coping with his parent’s divorce and witnessing a traumatic incident. How these events manifest as psychological issues within Oscar’s subconsciousness and how he overcomes these issues form the film’s basic premise.

Given the film’s emotionally moving narrative and visually unconventional approach to sensitive themes, the film’s title appears to be an odd choice. Therefore, viewers must be looking for answers about the meaning behind the title. If you wish to know the meaning of the ‘Closet Monster’ title, here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

What Is the Closet Monster Meaning?

‘Closet Monster’ deals with the complex issue of internalized homophobia and is loosely inspired by the life experiences of writer-director Stephen Dunn. The film centers on Oscar Madly, a young boy who witnesses a gay teenager being violently attacked with an iron rod. The incident leaves Oscar traumatized, and when he seeks an explanation from his father, he receives a casually homophobic response.

Throughout the film, Oscar struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and is confused about his feelings for the charismatic Wilder, a teenager he works with at a hardware store. Oscar’s father, Peter, makes several consistent homophobic remarks, and his failure to see his son’s struggles create an environment of oppression for Oscar. Thus, Oscar develops convoluted feelings about his sexuality and the LGBTQ+ community in general.

The term “closeted” is typically used to describe a person of the LGBTQ+ community who is publically inclined toward heteronormativity. In the film, Oscar is a closeted gay teenager. His struggles with his sexuality are rooted in the environment of his home. His father is regressive and does not accept his son is gay. This leads to constant arguments between the father and son, making Peter an oppressive presence in Oscar’s life. Thus, Peter is a metaphorical monster for Oscar. The allegory is made all the more ironic since Peter introduced Oscar to monster stories as a child. Oscar finds a sense of reprieve in these stories and often dresses up as a monster which can be seen as a parallel to his internalized homophobia.

In a pivotal scene, Oscar pushes his father into a closet before leaving for a party. The scene represents Oscar’s first confrontation with the oppression his father causes. Thus, the metaphorical monster ends up in the closet, making the title resonate with the narrative. Oscar’s complicated feelings about his sexuality result in a pattern of self-hate. Therefore, it can be said that the closeted teenager sees himself as a monster due to the homophobic treatment he receives. Ultimately, ‘Closet Monster’ has an interpretive meaning that alludes to the internal and external homophobia experienced by the story’s protagonist.

Read More: Where was Closet Monster Filmed?