Film Review - Jan-Gel Double Feature

Starring - Conrad Brooks, Dale Clukey, Mitzi Reid, Marvin Kennedy, Joseph Miller, Grady Stiles III | Directed by Conrad Brooks | Alpha New Cinema DVD FF Not Rated 116min 1999/2001

Review By Xmortis

Low/No budget and fan-made films are rated different then Hollywood and standard Independent films so keep that in mind as you read this review.

Jan-Gel The Best From The East - A fat caveman is frozen in ice, and we cut to Professor Veljo Kivi who has just been informed that the frozen body of Jan-Gel is missing and believed to be at the bottom of the ocean with the sunken boat that it was being shipped on. But the fat Jun-Gel is alive and well and attacks a couple in their pool. The cops get wind of the attack and go looking for the murderer as Jan-Gel wonders around town confused and hungry, even stumbling into a horror convention and giving a woman a heart attack. Jan-Gel continues to wonder around causing shock, panic and even death to people he comes upon. The news reporters are blaming the attacks on Bigfoot. The local retired police captain thinks its just the work of a maniac, but he soon falls victim to the fat foul wild man. Conrad Brooks is called in to help find and stop the wild man. Over dinner he speaks with a cop named Gary who's been assigned to help him stop this menace. Jan-Gel's next victims are two gravediggers who are getting off work. Conrad and Gary get a young rookie on their team and head to a house where a young lady (Beth) has been kidnapped. The team goes looking for the girl, as Jan-Gel fights a giant snake that is trying to hurt his captive. Jan-Gel is bitten in the fight, and Beth tries her best to clean the wounds and help her new fat wild friend. When he falls asleep, she escapes into the woods looking for help. Our heroes save the girl and send rookie to take her home while Conrad and Gary gear up to fight the fat wild chief known as Jan-Gel. In the end they gun down the wild man and end his terror grip on the small town. In the end the body is missing leaving it open for a part two.

Jan-Gel The Beast Returns - The second film in the fat wild caveman series starts with a gypsy woman named Madame Mitiz threatening an un-paying client who pays when he finds out that Jan-Gel is her bodyguard. Mitiz is also a crime lord and uses Jan-Gel and her hoods to rob places around town. The cops once again call in Conrad Brooks to try and find the beast that is helping in these robberies and bring it and the gypsies to justice. Conrad looks around for evidence of where they are hiding, and Jan-Gel gets shot in a robbery attempt. Some shady doctors try to save the life of the giant man beast and succeed in pulling the bullet from the wildman. Conrad is told about the doctor whose name is Dr. Rockula, and they go to his probation officer and get his personal information to visit him in his mansion in the cemetery. Jan-Gel awakens and kills the good doctor and his helpers and once more escapes into the woods. Conrad and two officers go into the woods to find the beast that is also hunting them down to kill. In the end a train hits Jan-Gel killing the man beast and for now ending his reign of terror.

This is shot-on-video trash written and directed by Ed Wood friend Conrad Brooks. A lot of bad moments but a small amount of good give this double feature a fun feeling. After watching the first film I couldn't help but feel good about the shot-on-video look, and I had some wonderful flashbacks to my friends and I making movies like this all around town. I also remembered all those wonderful public access films I grew up watching and thought that someone should put those out on DVD. Unfortunately, the second film in the series of Jan-Gel just seemed like a mess of a film that was trying to hard to be a "bad" movie. The idea and the spirit behind these two films is good and is what makes these bad films watchable. The plots are super silly and amount to nothing more then the good guys fumbling around looking for a grunting fat man. It's the stuff bad movies have been made of for the last 70 years. Conrad Brooks does a wonderful job at directing these films and captures the great charm of independent cinema with each terrible hammy moment of video. Dale Clukey who plays Jan-Gel in the first feature (and is replaced in the second with a man with bandages around his head) does a amazing job at being a fat hulking caveman who grunts around and fights a rubber snake like a true fool. This set gets two stars for the first film which I really got a kick out of. I would have rated the sequel a mere one star. So look at it this way, the second film is really just a bonus to the disc.

The DVD's extras are some outtakes and trailers and a sweet cheesy cover that almost makes these shot on video films look legit.

If you want to see Conrad Brooks in the woods, a fat man grunt and fight a rubber snake, a mad doctor in a cemetery and terrible acting look no further then this double shot of VHS movie goodness. So sit back pop some popcorn, get a tall glass of soda, turn down the lights and be prepared for some modern classic cheese from a true legend in the z-movie world.