86 - Mob Boss (1990)
Eddie Deezen is someone who shouldn’t have had any success. He is the antithesis of a leading man and a cloying presence on any screen, in any format. Yet here we are, not only covering a movie he appears in, but one he stars in.
Deezen was always an anomaly, someone you could throw onto the screen that was guaranteed a laugh on account of his looks, voice, and demeanor - he was the stereotypical nerd; as if you could find his picture in the dictionary next to the definition. As far as a leading man though, it was never meant to be, that is until he met Fred Olen Ray.
The VHS boom hit hard. The ability to watch movies at home, at your convenience, was a game-changer for the entertainment industry. Never before had content been so readily available to consumers and they couldn’t get enough of it. Prohibitive costs of VHS tapes led to the invention of the rental store - a now nearly defunt footnote in entertainment history - and customers who were eager for more content.
The cost of VHS tapes for newly released Hollywood movies was so exorbitant that rental stores couldn’t afford to invest in more than a few copies of new movies - as they would quickly fall out of favor in a few months and be forced to sell their backlog at a severely discounted prices. Customers wanted more and stores were unable to provide exactly what they wanted. Welcome to the world of direct-to-video movies.
Direct-to-video movies were made to fill the void that rental stores desperately needed. Cheaper stock that promised similar movies to what people were looking for and could potentially scratch that itch just enough to hold them off until the next copy of the Hollywood blockbuster became available. You can’t find a copy of Predator for rent? That’s ok, we got plenty of “guy-killing-alien” movie for you to choose from!
Direct-to-video movies were never known for their quality, they were never intended to be anything but shelf fillers and quick cash grabs. People didn’t want to rent these movies but they also didn’t want to walk out of the store empty handed.
Fred Olen Ray is a purveyor of the worst type of garbage that littered Rental Store shelves for a decade. Filming a movie in a weekend and vomiting it out onto a shelf to make a quick buck was his bread and butter. Watching these movies now is a baffling experience, modern audiences could never understand why something so inept and worthless could ever be produced. Yet he made dozens of these movies, and Eddie Deezen was exactly what direct-to-video movies were looking for. That vaguely familiar guy, funny in that one movie, could potentially be funny in this movie I’m holding in my hand right now? Right? Right?!
Here’s Mob Boss, a movie not even worth mentioning and certainly not worth watching. If only these direct-to-video movies could go the way of the rental store. Fred Olen Ray is truly the devil.