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Monster in a Box (1992)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  June 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 604 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 10 critic

This is the story of Spalding Gray and his attempt to write a novel. It is a first person account about writing and living, and dealing with success while trying to be successful.



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Credited cast:


This is the story of Spalding Gray and his attempt to write a novel. It is a first person account about writing and living, and dealing with success while trying to be successful. Written by Robbie Smith <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He Survived "Swimming to Cambodia." Now The Adventure Continues.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material | See all certifications »





Release Date:

June 1992 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$311,245 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Broadway production opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on January 21, 1991 and ran for 16 performances. See more »


References Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't read unless you know the final story of Spalding Gray
13 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I really enjoy watching Spalding Gray's monologue films. The dry wit and humor, the self-deprecating approach to his insecurities and even those things that he felt pretty strongly about.

I was watching his "Monster in a Box" (1992) film this morning (July 13, 2007) and, again, enjoying his recollections about his professional and personal life since he made the previous hit, "Swimming to Cambodia," (1987).

And then it hit me...

Spalding Gray is dead. I'm watching a film record of a man who supposedly committed suicide by jumping off the Staten Island Ferry into the East River sometime in January, 2004.

His body wasn't found for nearly two months (March 9, 2004) and, by that time, the only thing that they believed they could recognize of Spalding Gray were the pants still clinging to the body.

I will miss Spalding Gray very much and I am appreciative of the knowledge that he will still visit me every now and then when I turn on the television and happily discover one of his old films is being broadcast. But here's the point of this comment here in IMDb: Watching "Monster in a Box" reveals a high degree of potential insight into what is to become of Spalding Gray seventeen years into the future. All you have to do is listen... and think, "This man will commit suicide seventeen years from when he spoke these words." Think about this, what he said in Monster in a Box"... He is talking about the Christmas holiday season approaching. The only way he knew it was coming was because he had heard something about it on the radio. And for some reason or another (I didn't catch this part) he wanted to participate in a suicide telephone helpline, where he might help people who had become despondent and suicidal during the holidays.

In order to join the suicide hotline "team," Spalding had to undergo a written test and then be interviewed by team leaders who were to determine his suitability to the task of stopping others from killing themselves.

He "failed" the interview. One member of the interview team told him that it would be a good idea if he (Spalding) sought psychological counseling. This confession got a good laugh from the audience... but I knew something they didn't - and I thought about it: Perhaps helping others to stop from killing themselves might have been the best form of counseling Spalding Gray could ever have had. I'm not sure.

Despite the fact that Spalding Gray had been habitually despondent ever since an auto accident in Ireland in 2001 had left him suffering from severe nerve damage, he had always struck me as being a tortured soul on the edge of self-destruction. His mother had committed suicide (he comments in the film about his own mother's severe despondency and how, on one occasion near the end, she had asked his advice on how she could best end her own life). It makes you wonder if suicide could somehow be genetic.

Anyway, I thought that I would share this thought with you and - along with me - watch "Monster in a Box" again sometime in the future, and pay particular attention to the hidden asides and innuendoes of a suicide yet to come. If you note something of interest, maybe you'll share it with me... You can comment on it in the IMDb blog or chat room or whatever they call it at the bottom of the IMDb "Monster in a Box" web page. I'll start a "thread" in there called "Staten Island Ferry." Come and add your comment.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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