Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fade to Black/Hell Night|
Actors: Dennis Christopher, Tim Thomerson, Gwynne Gilford, Norman Burton, Linda Kerridge
Directors: Tom DeSimone, Vernon Zimmerman
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
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Delightfully Demented Double Feature
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 11/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The hip folks at Anchor Bay offer a delightfully demented double feature on a double-sided DVD: The 1980 thriller FADE TO BLACK and the 1981 teen horror film HELL NIGHT. *****FADE TO BLACK:Dennis Christopher, star of 1979's BREAKING AWAY, has the lead role in this wry comment on Hollywood's growing influence over the worldview of average citizens in contemporary Western society. Christopher plays Eric Binford, a young man so obsessed with the cinema that he ultimately blurs the line between reality and the plots of his favorite motion pictures. As his life begins to unravel, Eric looks to the movies for the solutions to his problems, and of course, it's only a matter of time before Eric starts eliminating those "problems" following the example of his favorite movie characters--with murder!Christopher's over-the-top performance is exuberant and flamboyant, but since his Eric Binford is a person whose behavior is governed by the cinema, such a performance makes the character seem both plausible and sympathetic. Another strong performance is offered by Linda Kerridge as Marilyn O'Connor, the Marilyn Monroe look-alike who is the object of Eric's unrequited love. Admittedly, the supporting cast is not nearly as strong as Christopher and Kerridge, and a great deal of the dialogue for minor characters is pure caricature. Indeed, if taken too seriously, FADE TO BLACK will come across as cartoonish and the plot will seem outlandish. But if viewed as the Juvenalian satire it is meant to be, the film definitely works. Cinema buffs will enjoy the clips from old classics, and horror fans will get a real kick out of watching Eric commit acts of mayhem and murder while costumed as Dracula and The Mummy.Viewers who do not appreciate dark satire--and especially those who do not enjoy thriller films--will probably regard FADE TO BLACK as made-for-TV fodder. True, it is not destined to be a classic. But it is definitely an entertaining film, and it's a genuinely fun ride for cinema buffs and devotees of the horror and thriller genres. *****HELL NIGHT:That head-spinning little girl from THE EXORCIST, Linda Blair--now all grown-up and gorgeous and causing all the guys' heads to spin--stars in this surprisingly well-made and entertaining hybrid of the teen slasher film and the gothic ghost story. Blair plays Marti, one in a quartet of college students who are required to spend the night in a dilapidated old mansion as part of the initiation rites for joining a fraternity or its sister sorority. Rumors have it that the mansion is haunted by the sadistic late owner or, even worse, that it may be inhabited by the late owner's hideously deformed and depraved son. Unfortunately for the four Greek-house pledges, some of the rumors are true....In spite of the bum rap that HELL NIGHT often gets for riding in the wake of John Carpenter's highly successful HALLOWEEN (1978), it is actually a very well-written, literate film that rises above the teen-slasher cliché by combining the sub-genre with elements from the classic ghost-story format. Not only are the teens being pursued by a deformed maniac killer, but all the action takes place within the confines of an old gothic manor house that seems to be afflicted by the supernatural.HELL NIGHT has some pretty good scares that might make even the seasoned horror buff jump. The sets of the manor house interiors create an appropriately spooky atmosphere, and the creature what does the slashin' is creepy enough to rival both Michael Myers and his cinematic cousins Jason and Freddy. And Marti (Linda Blair) gives the creature his final comeuppance in a most satisfying and grisly way.Most of the acting in this film is pretty good, too. No stranger to horror films, of course, the beautiful Linda Blair does an excellent job. She comes across as being genuinely frightened, jiggles in all the right places (a necessary requirement for the principal female in teen horror films), and screams quite effectively. Co-star Vincent Van Patten flashes his killer abs and flexes his biceps quite adequately (a requisite for at least one male lead in teen horror films), so he does an adequate job portraying the group's jock. The son of actor Dick Van Patten (better known as the father on TV's EIGHT IS ENOUGH), viewers may also recognize him from his various movie roles (e.g., Tom Roberts in ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL) and TV parts (e.g., the titular role in THE BIONIC BOY and a stint as Christian Page on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS). Also notable is actor Peter Barton, whom many older female viewers may remember swooning over when he played the titular roles on TV's THE POWERS OF MATTHEW STAR (c. 1982) and, more recently, BURKE'S LAW (c. 1994).Though they perform quite adequately in HELL NIGHT, most of the other actors are relative unknowns and did not go on to do any other TV or cinema work of note. It is unfortunate that the public has not seen more of Ms. Suki Goodwin, who portrays the fourth member of the quartet of pledges. Not only does her work here indicate that she has talent and potential, she is also quite pretty and has a sexy British accent. If nothing else, it would've been nice to see her become another famous horror-movie scream queen.HELL NIGHT. It's a slasher flick; it's a ghost story. It's two great sub-genres in one! However it may be categorized, HELL NIGHT is an underappreciated, underrated horror film that deserves a look. Aficionados of the slasher film will love it, but mainstream horror fans will like it, too. *****All in all, this is a great double-feature DVD that is well worth the reasonable price. Hats off to the folks at Anchor Bay for making these "forgotten" films available to the movie-loving public."
A Great Buy
IJustDiedAlive | Northern CA, USA | 04/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This release of a double feature dvd is excellent. Remember back in the day we could actually see double features at the movies? Here you get a double sided dvd with the Linda Blair movie Hell Night and the very weird dark movie Fade To Black. It's very worth the price."
So, So Double Bill
E. Barrios | N.Y.C. | 04/20/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I don't see what's the big fuss about these two movies especially Hell Night. The movies were okay with Hell Night being slightly better overall. The one thing which blew me away was AnchorBay's transfers of these titles, which were surprisingly very crisp with vibrant colors and without any imperfections I could detect.
Fade to Black was interesting in its plot but there's not much going on here. It looks like a direct to TV release. It had potential. Well, they both did.
If you have to pay more than $10 for the two, don't waste your time. Seriously!"
2 80's horror slasher films for a low pirce
Tommy Mania | St Louis, MO | 06/08/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I always had a soft spot for HELL NIGHT because I loved it as a kid. Watching it almost 30 years later it did not have the same effect. It's a lot slower than I remember it being. Linda Blair is gorgeous so it was nice to see her again. A bunch of college fraternity/soroity kids have to spend the night in a house where a bunch of murders took place. Unknown to them the mutated killer still lives there. Way too slow, needs more gore. As a child in the 80's this was cool.
FADE TO BLACK just plain sucked. Real snoozefest that trys to imitate Alfred Hitchcock but it's a weak storyline with bad acting, not enough blood or suspense. One of the worst slasher films of this genre.