Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

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Starring Robert Englund and Trevor Matthews. Rating unavailable. Opens Friday, July 25, at the Granville 7

Watching Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer reminded me of renting vids in the ’80s. Thanks in part to the grisly shenanigans of Freddy Krueger, the horror genre was flying high, which also meant that a ton of suspect, direct-to-video fright fare was clogging the shelves. I recall seeing Ghoulies II, which had a cover depicting two crappy-looking monsters grinning from a toilet. Also vying for people’s B-movie bucks back then was The Hidden, about a slug-like alien invading people’s bodies in L.A. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is like a combination of those two 1987 releases, but it contains none of the awesomeness of The Hidden and all the wretchedness of Ghoulies II.

Trevor Matthews stars as Jack Brooks, whose entire family is wiped out during a boyhood camping trip by a towering version of the rampaging fetish doll from that 1975 Karen Black TV movie, Trilogy of Terror. Years later, Jack is a lousy plumber with anger issues and a dwindling relationship with his girlfriend, whom he apparently only sees during night classes led by Prof. Crowley (Freddy the K actor Robert Englund).

When the hapless Jack tries to repair the pipes in Crowley’s basement, he revives an ancient curse, and the rest of the film revolves around hackneyed scenes of a zombified Crowley stuffing food into his face, puking all over the classroom, and eventually transforming into a bloated, Ghoulies-like monstrosity that ensnares the students with its hokey tentacles.

Will Jack overcome his childhood trauma and take the slimy fiend on in a gooey, over-the-top battle to the death? Trust me, it’s not worth suffering through this unnecessary dreck to find out.

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