Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2008)
Directed by Jon Knautz
I said it once and I'll say it again. Leave it up to the Canadians to reinvigorate the 80s horror-omedy.
Jon Knautz's Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is a dash of Evil Dead, some Weird Science, a tad of Brain Dead, a pinch of The Gate and a heaping spoonful of Robert England.
I've been digging the horror-omedy of late with Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon topping my top 10 Horror movies of 2007.
So it was surprising that I would dig Jack Brooks which despite it's flaws is a pretty fun film from the middle to the end.
As a child Jack Brooks witnessed the brutal murder of his family. Now a young man he struggles with a pestering girlfriend, therapy sessions that resolve nothing, and night classes that barely hold his interest. After unleashing an ancient curse, Jack's Professor undergoes a transformation into something not-quite- human, and Jack is forced to confront some old demons... along with a few new ones
On a rainy night, Insano Steve and I attended the NY/East Coast premiere of Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. It was presented by Fangoria and the director Jon Knautz and Mr. Jack Brooks himself Trevor Matthews were suppose to be on hand for a Q and A but alas they could not attend due to the bad weather.
But some hardcore horror fans did attend and we all saw some throwback 80s horror homage that we all left us skippy happy.
The first thing you notice when you watch Jack Brooks is, is this 1988? Because all the classic 80s horror conventions are in full effect.
Let's go through a checklist shall we?
1.) Ordinary, every day guy who has to save the day and becomes our reluctant hero.
2.) His clueless, blonde annoying girlfriend who is a ditz.
3.) Cardboard cutouts of high school streotypes (fat smart girl, stoner guys, nerds, hot punk rock chick, jocks and "Styles like Teen Wolf guy").
4.) The creepy old guy who tells the eerie back story of the evil that is to come.
5.) The professor who discovers a mysterious evil underneath his house, digs it up and gets fuckin posessesed.
6.) An over the top, gross out splatterfest with a boss character at the end that looks like Chet from Weird Science.
What we're initially seeing is an origin story. Jack's origin story and it's filled with classic moments that you can't forget. Trevor Matthews plays Jack as the confused everyday guy (he's a plumber attending night school) who's just looking for his purpose in life. Sorta like Ash, he's been put into a situation that eventually will make him see his true calling.
But it's Robert England performance that makes this classic. He's in vintage form as the night school professor that gets possessed by an evil demon heart (!?) that metamorphizes him into a fat, slobbering mutant big eyed ENORMOUS mouth monster that injects victims into blood thirsty demons. His slow transformation is hilarious as he devours chicken, veggies and his poor dog. Some gross out reversal of fortune moments and the Fly-like transfo is just awesome.
The final epic battle is fought in the school and the POW! BIFF! WOP! battle ensues as Jack battles the demons....using his plumbing tools.....and his wits.
It's all pretty generic but it's still all fun.
We get few camera angles, POV shots and some locker door smashing straight from the Sam Raimi school of directing. Some great one liners and gore and splatter FX that are top notch.
If Slither and Jack Brooks are the evolution of the classic 80s horror reinvigorated for today's audience, we're in good hands. Fuck the remakes. That shit never works. Do it right and make your own movie and franchise it.
Move over Ash, you've got company.
Evil Dead series
Night of the Creeps
80's horror movies
Gore-ipedia (if you want to be shocked don't read)
Chicken wing eating
Monster tube slicing
Head splatter smashing
Sodium Chloride expoding
Nudipidedia (because you like boobies)
The opening scene.
The monster at the beginning (and in the picute to the right)
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Do we have a new Ash in the making? Yes and his name is Jack Brooks. And he's a fuckin monster slayer.
If you love the 80s horror of old, then you'll dig this.
Here's hoping their's a sequel.
Check out the official site for more information and screenings. If you are in the NYC area, it's playing at the Two Boots Pioneer theatre.
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