A native of Maryland, Brooks headed to the West Coast in the late 1940s with his two brothers to make it big on the silver screen. Instead, they met up with Edward D. Wood, Jr. and starred in a short for him. Legend has it they actually paid Wood to be in the film. Whatever the truth, Wood ended up casting Conrad in small roles in a total of 5 of his feature length presentations. Following a period of nearly 25 years off the big screen, Brooks returned to the industry in the mid-80s with a vengeance. He parlayed his minuscule claim to fame into roles in more no budget films and convention appearances. In the mid-90s Brooks figured it was time to cash in even harder by directing his own video features. One such title is HILLBILLY MONSTER.
Redskin Hogette Porkchop in "real" life). Around the 11 minute mark (which feels like years), the beast – who looks like a hunched over goth singer – escapes and heads into the woods. This sends Jake into action as he gets Dirty Harry (Conrad Brooks) on the job and we get 15 minutes of him running all over the carnival, asking everyone if he has seen the monster as the same stolen carnival music loops over and over (listen for some Alice in Chains in the background too).
|Cow: No one will see this, right?|
|Yes, you are really in a Conrad Brooks film|
You also have to love the brain-dead gaffes like their sanitarium filled with mental patients (really a suburban house) with swords on the walls. Or the bit where Jake calls the sheriff and you can clearly see his phone is unplugged. The end with Jake wandering the woods sees him comment on the frozen river, only to have subsequent shots of the river flowing behind him. I’d love to declare that Brooks is some sort of film deconstructionist genius who is challenging the conventions of film. He’s not. He is just a really bad filmmaker. Sadly, he seems to crap on his benefactor as Brooks hides behind the pretext of his films being “in the >tradition of Ed Wood.” Believe it or not, this is actually the third part in a series of films Brooks made about a crazed caveman named Jan-Gel, who apparently had sex with an ape to produce the title monster. I definitely won’t be seeking out the first two as one IMDb user suggests this is an improvement upon the earlier ones. One can only imagine. The HILLBILLY MONSTER DVD actually has a “bonus” for Brooks “fans” as you also get his 30-minute short GRANDPARENTS FROM OUTER SPACE (aka OUT OF THIS WORLD). Conrad and Ruth Brooks star as two aliens who crash land on earth while looking for their runaway grand kids. They are welcomed into the home of a tiny horse jockey (!) but Conrad does a serious faux paus when he sucks all of the town's electricity through a wall socket (it is his source of food you see). Thankfully, the cops are on the job (!) and arrest the duo. While walking to the jail, the grandparents see their grand kids with a young hippie couple. When the cop decides to grab a soda, they split and track down the hippies (the dad was wearing a t-shirt advertising the apartment complex he lives in!). The family is reunited and the hippies drive them to the woods where they fly away in their ship. YAY! The film's biggest highlight is a cameo by Don Dohler staple George Stover. The rest is so awful that you'll feel like kicking your dog afterwards. SEE Earth as an out of focus globe! SEE Brooks have a discussion with a horse! SEE Ruth Brooks eat a napkin! SEE yourself begin to question your sanity. SEE your eyeballs melt at the sight of Conrad Brooks in a tight silver space suit!