Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Year of Freddy Fear takes a class with Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer

Welcome once again to The Year of Freddy Fear, where we take a look at the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise as well as other films by Robert Englund. Our entry today is a bizarre back-to-school special called Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer, a Canadian horror comedy from 2008.

The title character(Trevor Matthews) is a plumber who also takes a community college science class with his eternally cranky girlfriend Eve. Seriously, this girl is constantly complaining about everything, except for the weaselly guy in class who dresses like a hipster and talks like a hippie(his favorite solution to any problem is "hashish").

 Jack is usually pretty mellow but with a quick temper,due to seeing his whole family slaughtered by a monster during his childhood(this is a movie not afraid to show flashbacks where little kids get freaked out big time). Naturally, this makes him very prone to violent rages that cause plenty of trouble for Jack in most day-to-day situations:

Since Jack can be a nice guy, he agrees to help out his teacher Professor Crawley(Robert Englund) with a plumbing problem at the spooky old house that he's fixing up. That bout of pipe cleansing leads to a discovery in the back yard, as Crawley finds an old box of bones with a demon heart that he is compelled to swallow whole.

He soon becomes possessed by the evil within and turns into a Sid & Marty Kroft looking monster during class, with huge tentacles that capture his students for either monster conversion or consumption. That leads Jack to a great opportunity to channel his inner rage as he battles the new batch of creatures that have taken over the school:

This isn't a very complicated movie,folks; it's barely ninety minutes long. However, JB:MS is rather decent fun, especially if you enjoy goofy gore and monster fights.

Englund gives a mainly physical performance, as his sweet natured teacher persona slowly deteriorates into a gruesomely gross fiend who stumbles around his classroom and develops a rather nasty appetite. Not even the professor's dog is safe(small spoiler) but that at least happens off screen.

  He does make this change over rather believable, giving one of the better performances in the film. Most of the acting is wooden at best, which is fine for something silly like this, but I would've liked a little less screeching from the female characters here.

 I know Jack is supposed to be the big hero but that doesn't mean the girls have to be scream machines in order for him to do that. Granted, most of the characters in this film are about as solidly drawn as cardboard cut-outs on both sides of the gender coin yet there was one gal who seemed a tad feisty and flirty towards Jack. She could have joined him in the battle there but was relegated to monster prisoner in the background too soon for my taste.

Back to Englund, his work here is nicely done and shows just how much of a team player he is. It wouldn't be hard to overshadow the rest of the cast here but he wisely chooses to play along well with others. Something tells me that he had a good time making this movie and it shows:

So far, Jack Brooks,Monster Slayer has a small following and there is talk of a sequel but nothing substantial just yet. I think this would make a nice little franchise and maybe that will happen.

In the meanwhile, JB:MS is a great goofy romp that should fit the bill for a monster mash movie watching mood. Tune in next month as  The Year of Freddy Fear lets Wes Craven reveals his New Nightmare and remember to bring that apple for your teacher or you might have to stay after class permanently:


Thaddeus said...

Nice review! This movie sounds pleasantly insane, and similar to some of the better B and C horror films of the 80s and early 90s.

I gotta say, I always wished that Englund got even more exposure than he did. Freddy is this guy under pounds of makeup - he's a perfectly good actor no matter what he's wearing.

lady t said...

This is definitely a fun little B movie, sort of MST3k fare in the best sense of the term.

I agree about Englund, the man has some great acting chops that deserved a larger forum. In next month's YOFF look at New Nightmare, we'll see a better view of that(in my semi-humble opinion).