Am I last kid on the block to watch JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER? I had been reading about it for some time, finally bought a copy and then just sat on it for months (literally- it somehow found its way under the couch)! Well, just in case there are any other stragglers out there even more lost in the eighties than I tend to be, here is a spiffy post all about how I finally watched it and how I think if you have not yet, you should.
JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER is about a guy named Timmy O’Tool, no, just kidding, it’s about a guy named Jack Brooks and yeah, by the end of the flick he does indeed turn out to be a monster slayer! The movie has been compared to THE EVIL DEAD films and PETER JACKSON’S DEAD ALIVE, but try not to think about that because that will just leave you needlessly disappointed when you should be enjoying yourself. Personally, I was reminded of the criminally overlooked straight to DVD gem SOULKEEPER from 2001. (SOULKEEPER has the worst cover art in the history of the DVD, but it’s a really entertaining supernatural romp with a DEBRA GIBSON cameo that should be seen by all! My hero in life BRAD DOURIF even shows up!) J.B. may also owe a tip of the trucker hat to an ass kicking gal named BUFFY which is just fine by obsessive Sunnydale dweller me.
When we first meet Jack he has some severe anger management issues which stem from a real life kindertrauma he endured. As a child Jack witnessed the slaughter of his family during a camping trip at the hands of a hideous creature. Therapy is useless and it is only when Jack owns up to his anger and channels it into the destruction of similar monsters that he finds his true calling. The first half of the film might lose some impatient viewers with its cartoon character development, but once Jack achieves self actualization it is wall-to-wall action garnished with joy inducing splatter and a highly appreciated zero CGI ratio. Somewhere in the future I am waiting in line to purchase its sequel and I’m very, very excited.
Here is where I give big props to horror legend ROBERT ENGLUND. Seeing his name on the DVD cover I wrongfully guessed that ENGLUND was going to show up, be ROBERT ENGLUND, grab a paycheck and then split. He’s actually amazing in this movie and showcases some serious chops in the physical comedy department. Who knew? I’ve always been impressed with ENGLUND’s ability to emote so much personality from behind a wall of makeup, but now I’m picturing an alternative universe where he might have been the second coming of JERRY LEWIS. Way to show me what an assuming closed minded twerp I am Mr. ENGLUND, I like it when actors do that!
TREVOR MATTHEWS does a fine job in the title role and is a breeze to hang out with for the course of the film. He’s no BRUCE CAMPBELL but neither are you. Kudos also go to RACHEL SKARSTEN, if for nothing else than forcing me to contemplate the concept of latent heterosexuality. I’m going to throw this baby onto the ever growing pile of movies in my head that support the fact that if you want to see a good horror movie these days you’re better off cranking up the T.V. and staying home. Turns out there’s plenty of great stuff going on this decade, just maybe not at your local theater.