Wow… This movie was simply awesome. A slasher/horror flick from 1980, Fade to Black is a real surprise.
Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher), is a movie loving loser, living with his aunt and working at a film distributor. You might say he’s almost a savant when it comes to classic movie knowledge. When he’s not being harassed by his bitchy, wheelchair bound aunt Stella, bullied by co-worker Richie (played by a young, pre-plastic surgery Mickey Rourke) or harassed by his ass-hole, stress-case boss Mr. Berger (Norman Burton), he watches classic movies in his room or attends midnight screenings of classic movies.
Eric makes by chance meets Marilyn O’Connor, an Australian want to be model who looks like… well, Marilyn Munroe. She takes a shine to Eric, and agrees to meet him for a date. Unfortunately, she accidentally stands him up, which shatters Eric’s already tenuous hold on reality. Drowning in pity, Eric goes home and plunges into old movies and depression. His aunt, always the bitch gets to scolding him about his lifestyle and sends his projector crashing to the floor, enraging Eric. Eric, taking a scene directly from the movie Kiss of Death, causes his Aunt and her wheel chair to go careening down a flight a stairs, causing her to die in what appears to others as an accident. Hell, he even attends the funeral dressed as a character from the same film. This sets off a series of murders that Eric perpetrates against people that have wronged him. With each murder, Eric effects a different movie characters, including Dracula, The Mummy, Hopalong Cassidy and Norman Bates (though, as Norman Bates, he doesn’t murder anyone, but the scene is a masterful recreation of the shower scene from Psycho).
While this is going on, the police are trying to track down Eric. Helping them is criminal psychologist Dr. Jerry Moriarty (played by consummate “That Guy” actor, Tim Thomerson), who’s looking for a pattern for these killing (classic movies, Captain Obvious), and getting no support from the police (aside from a female officer who’s doing him). Moriarty’s main road block is Police Captain Gallagher who has no respect for psychology in police work.
The film culminates with Eric luring Marilyn to a modelling job, which is interrupted when the police arrive. Fleeing with a now drugged Marilyn they are chased to the famous Grauman’s Chinese theatre, where in a replay of the final scene from the James Cagney classic, White Heat, he dies in a hail of bullets while sending out a hail of classic cheezy movie dialogue
That, in a nutshell is Fade to Black. If you enjoy horror movies then you owe it to yourself to watch this film.
Here is the Trailer: