"I'm Jarret. Cody Jarret, understand?!" snarls Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away) in his best James Cagney. OK, he's no Rich Little, but as the movie-mad social misfit Eric Binford he makes a convincing media-saturated Nor... more »man Bates, and for a while his geeky fumblings and wounded vulnerability keep the film on track. He is a gofer for a B-movie studio, constantly bullied by his tough-guy coworker Mickey Rourke and his aunt, a bitter wheelchair-bound failed starlet who blames the boy for her misfortunes and never lets him forget it. His sanity already precariously close to the edge, he flares up and becomes Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death, shoving dear auntie down the back stairs and forever losing himself in the characters of his favorite movies. It's the first of many movie-inspired murders, but the gimmick becomes repetitive and the film loses its focus in series of pre-Scream set pieces. Better is Eric's deluded romance with an Aussie Marilyn Monroe look-a-like. It's hard to understand what she sees in this jittery nerd who rattles off meaningless movie trivia like it was the meaning of life, but give Eric credit for wooing her as Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl. Tim Thomerson gets to play both tough guy and sensitive social worker as the counselor who utters the immortal line: "Binford's not to blame, he's a victim of society!" --Sean Axmaker« less
A movie maniac recreates his favourite screen slayings
BD Ashley | Otago, New Zealand | 04/17/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher) is an obsessed film buff who lives with his domineering Aunt Stella. A sad, strange young man, Eric hates the real world and has good reason to: he works as a delivery boy for a film supply company where his boss hates him and his colleagues think he's a wierdo. Even hookers hate him, and yes; not surprisingly he drives a moped. Yup, poor old Eric lives smack dab in the middle of Gimpsville and only exists for his love of movies. But one day he meets a gorgeous Aussie Marilyn Monroe lookalike (creatively named Marilyn) in a diner and he asks her out to a movie (of course). Unfortunately she quite innocently forgets their date so is two hours late... but Eric thinks she has stood him up. This drives Eric over the edge and he starts dressing up as various movie characters and killing off the people he feels have wronged him In his defense, the movie playing is Robbie Benson's DIE LAUGHING so you can't really blame the guy for snapping. (Why doesn't he just subject his victims to repeated screenings of it? That'd work).
Eric's delusional mania continues to worsen to the point where he thinks he's James Cagney in PUBLIC ENEMY, not to mention Christopher Lee's Dracula and William Boyd's Hopalong Cassidy amongst other characters. Christopher's poor acting doesn't help the viewer gain sympathy for the character of Eric but it's still an interesting movie. What I like best is how the film makers are thumbing their noses at people who think movies influence people into committing crimes. If that were true most of the population of western world would be on death row!
But best of all are the film clips from PUBLIC ENEMY, HORROR OF DRACULA and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD among others. FADE TO BLACK isn't brilliant, but it's an entertaining movie for genre fans, with a few now familiar faces popping up. This is good viewing for your next Halloween party. Check it out."
All the World's a Stage
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 11/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"BREAKING AWAY's (1979) Dennis Christopher stars in FADE TO BLACK, a wry comment on how Hollywood is gaining influence over the worldview of the average citizen in contemporary Western society. Christopher plays Eric Binford, a young man so obsessed with the cinema that he soon begins to blur 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 object of Eric's unrequited love. (Of course, it helps that Kerridge, a former Australian model, is a very convincing Marilyn Monroe look-alike, a fact that is intricately weaved into the plotline.) 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."
Memories.......and it was just as good after all these years
avid fan | laguna hills, california United States | 07/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had forgotten how good this movie was, what a classic. Its a treat to see it so clear and without commercials. Im easy to please when it comes to DVDs I admit, Im sure that it will be release a few times, cleaned up and remastered etc. But I recomend it to old timey horror fans and to old timey classic movie buffs alike. I just love Cagney."
Charles J. Rector | Woodstock, IL United States | 02/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a parody of slasher flicks that is also an intelligent horror movie. It shows how the line between fantasy and reality can become blurred and how that can lead to tragic results. Eric Binford was raised under rather bizarre circumstances by an old hag who is determined to make his life a living hell. He retreats to a movie based fantasy world. Combine this with the boss from Hell and a chance encounter with a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, and you have a perfect set-up for a descent into insanity. Things get so insane that by the end of the movie, your suspension of disbelief has been violated which is why this film does not merit a 5 stars out of 5 rating."
A twisted little shocker with a sharp,quick wit made even mo
John D. Page | usa | 05/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this is not the greatest movie,but it is fun (in a twisted way) and makes some sharp points(no pun intended) about the amount of time we spend watching movies and how the line between fantasy and the real world can blurr very quickly. eric binford loves movies,so much so he stays up all night watchingold movies on t.v.(this was before dvds or cable). eric's parents are gone and he lives with his wheelchair bound aunt,a failed star herself,and she blames eric for her problems. eric also gets picked on by his co-workers(at a film studio)and most of the rest of the world.his only friends are the flashing lights of the t.v. and the actors in the movies he watches.something has to give,and it does,after watching "kiss of death" eric's aunt starts picking at him again and eric retreats into his film world and just like in the movie pushes his aunt down the steps. after that eric sets out to right a lot of things that have been done to him. from there the movie takes you along with eric as he desends into madness. for a b horror movie this has some very strong ideas about movies,t.v.,bullies,and how quickly one can slip over the edge into madness. i like this movie and if you try you may like it also."