"Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer" mixes "Men in Black," "Super Mario Bros." and other pics to fashion a campy scenario about a blue-collar rage-aholic who battles bogeymen.

Obviously intended as the kickoff for a horror-comedy franchise, “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” mixes elements from “Men in Black,” “Super Mario Bros.” and a dozen other pics to fashion a campy scenario about a blue-collar rage-aholic who battles bogeymen. Indie effort evidences more energy than wit, and spends too much time on set-up before a slam-bang pay-off. But genre fans, fanzines and fansites may respond favorably, and pic could generate enough DVD sales to prompt production of additional episodes.

Trevor Matthews essays the title character, a moody young plumber given to fits of uncontrollable anger. And with good reason: During a camping trip many years earlier, he was traumatized when his family was devoured by a bloodthirsty mutant. Jack tries hard to be normal, and even takes night-school science classes with his beautiful girlfriend (Rachel Skarsten). But when their professor (yet another self-spoofy turn by Robert Englund) is transformed into a multi-tentacled monster, Jack at long last finds a useful way to channel his violent temper. Slimy f/x are reasonably effective, and helmer Jon Knautz makes clever use of Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” to trigger memories and underscore mayhem.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

Production

A Wesley Clover Intl. presentation of a Brookstreet Pictures production. Produced by Patrick White, Trevor Matthews, Neil Bregman. Executive producers, Terry Matthews, Ann Matthews, Wesley Clover Intl. Directed by Jon Knautz. Screenplay, Knautz, John Ainslie, from story by Knautz, Trevor Matthews, Patrick White, Ainslie.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor), Joshua Allen; editor, Matthew Brulotte; music, Ryan Shore; production designer, Jason Macisaac; special effects and creature design, David Scott, Form and Dynamics. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Jan. 19, 2008. (In Slamdance Film Festival -- Twilight Screening.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Robert Englund, Trevor Matthews, Rachel Skarsten, Daniel Kash, David Fox.
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