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Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (2007)
Meant to be in a somewhat “B” tradition with those behind the film stating wanting it to show they had fun over anything else. The special features as well have more than enough to offer for those who thoroughly enjoy this film though they do match the tone of the movie, which was rather slow for me. I did like the story however. We follow Jack Brook’s (Trevor Matthews) who had started out with a perfect life. And who do the bad things happen to in movies? That’s right…anyone who dares be happy. It all started on a seemingly regular summer camping trip with his family in his youth. Playing with his sister while his father danced with his mother. Though when little sis begins to stray away from camp, she wonders right into the Forest Troll (Trevor Matthews too) who bites into her and does away with his parents quickly after. Ever since then, consumed by his now deemed aggressive behavior, had taken up counseling convinced that letting out his emotions wasn’t cutting it. While enrolled in a science class taking place at night; he as well runs a plumbing business though doesn’t seem to be so great at his job.
His girlfriend, would rather get on his case constantly for not doing things like being serious about his one class and the fact that she had to keep asking Daddy dearest for rides to school. She’s the typical stuck up girl who apparently hadn’t received the message of being in college, for reasons you’d have to see to understand. Whose also, busy flirting with the tool in the class named John (James A. Woods) who seems to think very highly of himself. His night teacher asks him over, having noticed the van usually parked outside and to take a look at his pipes. Upon arriving and messing with the valves however, unleashes an ancient power that eventually takes over the soul of Professor Gordon Crowley. Don’t you just hate when that happens?
When Jack takes the valve to get a replacement he has the, to be expected, convenient run-in with the one to talk to on the matter, having had his hand taken when he was only a child by the same spirit. “How’d you dig the hole?”/”Well, God damn it, it wasn’t easy.” The scene when the heart takes a hold of the professor being a great sequence. I loved how the smoke covered the stairs and the way it called to the Professor; turns out a body was buried in the backyard and the heart took hold of him. Acting different in that he seems to not have as good a grip as once had over his actions. The big test for Jack coming when the Professor loses it and turns into the Jabba the Hutt version of Freddy Kreuger and begins turning his students into mini monsters. Jack’s anger finally finding its purpose as he kicks some ass around the school. Getting the girl and doing away with his ex, double win. It’s after this point that Jack knows what his purpose finally is and starts by taking his revenge the Forest Troll who had taken his family. Then making the natural move of becoming one with an indigenous tribe to fight the good fight against monsters, one and all. At least he got to look really cool doing it.
The Professor (Robert Englund) seemed to be the type who had certainly not intended for his life to end up teaching the night class to some GED rejects. (Mute the students and that’s what it looked like at least) Meant to be in their 20’s though for the most part, the students acted and were dressed as what would be their teen counter, which didn’t work for me. Eve (Rachel Skarsten) for instance, who was Jack’s girlfriend. She also had the nerve to berate her boyfriend when not having life figured out anymore than him. John seemed to be a mixture of two stereotypes and I wasn’t sure that it worked on him either; he was definitely the snotty rich kid more than the “pot head.” If they took out that out and perhaps made him more of an asshole (for the roles sake) it would have been portrayed better. The show being stolen by Matthews whose energetic antics and funny quips were enough to stay interested in the role. Especially because of the crazy bad ass that he becomes at the end. Completely did justice to the role, go put that guy in some comedies. Englund had initially stating not being fond of the script but told from his agent to read it again to which he found the humor that was intended. It was also a last attempt for Robert to do any sort of physical comedy (which makes me sad a little) but had no trouble in pulling off the role which took a turn that I didn’t exactly see coming.
It’s always great to see Robert Englund, Sid Haig or even Tony Todd pop up in any of the B or C Horror flicks that get released (as often as they do). Though I didn’t expect him to turn into the main monster and was pleasantly surprised they went that route. I thought it’d be a small bit like in Urban Legend before I had ever seen it. It seems only after this point that I have yet to see him a role that I have equally enjoyed; fingers crossed for B4TM. But I rather enjoyed him as the comedic villain with a heart as black as his soul. The “first” ending of him kissing the girl after defeating the monster was a bit cheesy for myself (whether implied or not) but was made up when seeing a wild and sexy version of Jack Brooks that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a sequel, just saying. I thought they did a good job of ensuring that for his last physical comedy, at the age of 60 it was worth it and is not too bad of a watch of having an interest for whoever involved.