Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer provides a welcome break from horror’s gorno trend—that’s gore-porn for the uninitiated—of the last few years. This Canadian made chiller has more to do with the bloody fun of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead and Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator than the recent movies which used saws or thrill seeking torture tourists as major plot points.
When we first meet Jack Brooks he is a small child enjoying a camping trip with his parents and sister. As Bobby Darin’s Beyond the Sea plays on the radio the family dances and enjoys the great outdoors… until a monster attacks and brutally kills everyone but Jack.
Flash forward to Jack’s (Trevor Matthews in what can best be described as the Bruce Campbell role) early twenties. He’s a plumber with a bad relationship, repressed memories and an anger management problem that makes Adam Sandler look well adjusted. His life changes forever when he tries to fix his college professor’s (Robert Englund) old, rusted pipes and accidentally unleashes a demonic power.
The kindly old professor is the first victim of the Jack’s discovery when he becomes possessed by the evil force and transforms into Professor-zilla. While battling with his former professor’s monstrous makeover Jack comes to grips with his troubled past and puts down his wrench and roto-rooter to pursue his true calling—monster slayer.
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer has cult hit written all over it. Breathing the same fetid air as genre classics Dead Alive and Demons, it has all the earmarks of a midnight movie in the making—humor, a tormented anti-hero, crazy creatures, gallons of guts and goo crowned by an over-the-top performance from horror legend Robert ‘Freddy Krueger’ Englund.
The film takes a tad too long to really kick into gear but compensates for its slow start with good performances, fun old-school latex monster effects—no CGI!—and an energetic twenty-minute coda featuring Jack’s hand-to-hand combat with a variety of metamorphosed monsters. It’s a wild ride that should have audiences whooping along as Jack whoops the bad guys.
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is a throw back to the creature features of the 1980s that served up the scares with a smile.