Fade to Black (1980)

“Your one-eyed monster is gonna soften your eyes, much less rot your brain!”

Synopsis:
A psychotic young film fanatic (Dennis Christopher) commits murders inspired by classic movies.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
One can’t help wondering why Peary includes this title in his book, given that he immediately labels it a “violent, embarrassing stupidity”; presumably its cinephilic storyline (about “a psychotic young movie buff… who dresses up like screen villains and commits murders”) was enough to earn it automatic entry. Interestingly, I wasn’t nearly as offended by it as Peary; as a teenage film fanatic, I often looked to movies for guidance, and can easily imagine an unhinged ff (such as Dennis Christopher’s Eric Binford) taking this to psychotic extremes.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Dennis Christopher’s impassioned performance (though Peary argues he’s “miscast”)

Must See?
No, but it’s a reasonably entertaining little thriller, and most film buffs will be intrigued by the premise alone.

Links:

One Response to “Fade to Black (1980)”

  1. Not a must – a stupendously bad film (that’s not a recommendation for lovers of bad film), without any camp or cult potential whatsoever.

    This lost/forgotten flick* is like other similar titles which are better off lost & forgotten. It’s true that the premise is a potentially fun one – especially for ffs – but absolutely nothing, particularly anything clever, is done with it. It’s not so much that Christopher is miscast (though he probably is) – but the role makes no sense as written; we never see any compelling reason for his character to snap, out of the blue, the way that he does. ~which may be reason enough to think Christopher is miscast. A better actor would probably have found something subtextual that would be immediately apparent and make the premise work – but that’s not provided for us…and that may be giving the script too much credit anyway.

    As well, the potentially delicious ‘subplot’ of the chance meeting with a Marilyn Monroe ringer ends up a big zero. Linda Kerridge more than fills the bill physically but hopes here are otherwise dashed. (Kerridge had a next-to-nothing career, although she is also seen in Morrissey’s ‘Mixed Blood’.)

    Just about everything fails here: writing, direction, acting (though this is saying very little, perhaps the ‘best’ performance is given by up-and-coming Mickey Rourke, in a small bit).

    *Lost/forgotten flicks are quite often films which originally had a barely or not well-established distributor. ‘FTB’ was distributed by ‘American Cinema’ (who???). Some good lost/forgotten films still manage to be discovered by a more solid distributor and, thus, finally find the recognition they deserve. ‘FTB’ is not among them.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.