James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
Each of these releases are available now from MVD Entertainment Group and other major online retailers.
James Clay//Film Critic
OVERBOARD is such an insane film to exist even its most ardent fans still revisit the 34 year old film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel with a tongue planted in cheek. The movie directed by Garry Marshall is unintentionally scrappy and plays beautifully on a lousy houseboat on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Despite seeing Kurt and Goldie falling in love on-screen this has something to do with the success OVERBOARD found on cable during the 90s and 2000s. Nothing better than a sleazy comedy disguising itself as fun for the whole family.
Bless the folks at Severin Films for bringing this left of center release to its catalogue. Never in my days would I think the company that released STRIKE COMMANDO 1 & 2 would proudly release OVERBOARD with a new 2K master and a minimalist slipcover aesthetic. Strange releases like this is what some collectors crave. Severin is offering its fans the chance to branch out and possibly rethink this MGM studio comedy as a light exploitation matinee. But if you’ve never seen OVERBOARD here’s the quick synopsis.
Dean Profitt (Russell) is a low-level widowed carpenter with four rambunctious boys and a dusty old shack to his name. Joanna Stayton (Hawn) is a wealthy socialite type whose married to playboy Grant Stayton III (Edward Hermann). Their paths collide when Profitt is commissioned to build a new closet for the wealthy woman who can only be characterized as shrewish. The duo do not get along and she stiffs the man for $600 she owes for the gig. After falling overboard Stayton comes down with amnesia and her Husband decides it would be the best time to let it all hang out and ditch his wife. From there Profitt capitalizes on Stayton’s memory loss and convinces her she is his wife.
OVERBOARD is sadistic, completely unrealistic and that’s what makes the film so fun to watch today. The gender politics could and should be analyzed someone more qualified than myself, but watching Marshall’s cooky comedy through 2021 eyes is a strange experience.
RENT/BUY: Personally I think Severin do a great job when they add slipcovers to their films, especially when the titles have a little more clout baked into their fanbase. OVERBOARD’s transfer has the film grain quality that this grimy comedy deserves. Its not that this release has the sharpest remastering, or picture fidelity, but that’s okay because the aesthetic serves this film quite well. Very happy to see Severin digging into MGM’s catalogue and giving audiences the chance to rediscover this film with added context.
THE DARK is one of the more difficult releases from the MVD Rewind collection to finish. The Sci-Fi Horror mashup is bold in its tonal choices to be a film that rarely develops a visual language, nor does it have the B movie campiness that beautifully graces its cover art. The film was directed by John Bud Cardos, who was hired as the unluckiest horror filmmaker of all time. Toby Hooper was fired off the picture.
The film is a re-release from the CODE RED blu ray, but has received all the aesthetics of the MVD Rewind treatment. This is the classic case of the film’s artwork having little to nothing to do with the actual content of the film. But the most ardent collectors of Rewind titles know that this is a dose of nostalgia that works as an excellent avenue for film preservation.
The plotting is a bit dicy but essentially is wrapped up in a story of a novelist (William Devane) who takes a personal interest in attacks that have been happening over Los Angeles county. The murders are brutal, and he’s drumming up suspicion the culprit is from another world. A local reporter (Cathy Lee Crosby) is trying to prove she has the goods for the big time on the periphery. While police are trying to flex their own chops and get their credit for capturing “The Mangler.” Cardos who is known for making efficient B movie fare, brings some fascinating shots and lighting to the film, but I attribute the visual splendor to the blu ray transfer rather than the film itself.
It’s painful to say, but THE DARK is the rare release from MVD Rewind that is awarded no points.
BUY/RENT: Skip this one and use the extra cash to pick up something else in the Rewind collection.
ONE DARK NIGHT
The 80s were known of course, for moody ambient energy, neon lights, and loads of fog in horror movies. It was a visual crutch that only generates praise these days if it was used well. The Tom McCloughlin directed (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES) teen horror romp ONE DARK NIGHT may be the most purple movie ever to come out of the decade. The film uses an abundance of moody tricks to envelop its audience in the creepy mausoleum where the horrors occur.
The film has a solid cast of recognizable faces, including Meg Tilly (PSYCHO II), EG Daily (Rugrats), and Adam West appearing in a supporting role. While ONE DARK NIGHT is an acquired taste for those already familiar with the tropes and strange tonal shifts of low-budget horror, McCloughlin puts some genuine creative energy into a lackluster story.
To gain admission into a friend group Julie (Tilly) will prove she has the guts to stay all night in the crypt of the recently departed psychic Raymar. The apparent soothsayer claims he will be more assertive in death due to his telekinetic powers. Julie and her crew must step up into a thunder dome of ghosts, ghouls and shrieks put forth by Raymar through the night. This would be horrifying to experience in real life and the peer pressure put on Julie is highly believable as far as teen horror logic is concerned. ONE DARK NIGHT isn’t an especially ceremonious horror film, but it’s an enjoyable watch for fans of the genre.
RENT/BUY: This is once again a CODE RED redux, but there is an interview with McCloughlin that’s worth the purchase for any horror fan. The director interviews his future grave, detailing his career with wistful energy that’s heartwarming and informative. This is worth a purchase for the discussion and stunning cover art alone.