Fade to Black (1980)


Written & Directed by: Vernon Zimmerman 


.... Eric Binford
.... Dr. Jerry Moriarty
 .... Officer Anne Oshenbull
.... Marilyn O'Connor
.... Stacy
Eve Brent .... Aunt Stella Binford

Special Appearances:

 .... Marty Berger
 .... Captain M.L. Gallagher
 .... Richie
Peter Horton .... Joey

Release Date: Theatrical: October 14, 1980




A shy misfit Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher) whom is a movie buff seeks revenge on people who have wronged him by portraying these characters while doing them in as well as stalking Marilyn O'Connor (Linda Kerridge) in which he pictures her as his idol Monroe.


The story starts off with Eric Binford getting up and starting his day along with his abusive crippled Aunt Stella Binford harping and nagging at him as this looked convincingly twisted and dysfunctional.
In the meantime there's some nice discussions between Dr. Jerry and Officer Anne Oshenbull working together as the moments looked charming and uplifting by what they were talking about which was nice to see as well as later on getting into a lustful romance as this was also well put into the story.
However, poor Eric as he is not liked by his boss Marty Berger or some of his employees that are bullies lead by bad ass Richie as they make a bet on a situation. Yet all of these moments look dysfunctional which is a nice start for a slasher flick and it was well done too.
Then Eric goes to a diner after work as he spots the woman if his dreams which happens to be Marilyn O'Connor whom he thinks looks like Marilyn Monroe as he goes into a hallucination on her singing the sexy Happy Birthday song as this stuck out in my mind big time and a well remembered moment for sure.
It looked good and natural by their discussions with him being nervous and her being easy going which looked pleasant to watch the outcome of this.
A nice new twist when Eric plans to go on a date and his aunt this time is acting kind to him as this made me wonder as to how she was better to him compared to the beginning of the story. Definetely a mysterious moment for sure.
Then a good psychological moment occurs when he waits for Marilyn to go and see a movie with him and she doesn't show up as we all had one of those days that we've been stood up at one point of our lives but yet this slipped her mind and tries to meet up with him which definetely leaves your heart beating wondering if he will still be waiting for him as this offers good tension.
Then Eric tries to talk to a prostitute in which she snubs him as all of this was drawn in nicely. Of course this left me an impression that something might happen to her later on as often in slasher flicks something deadly happens to negative people.
An intense moment happens big time when mean old Aunt Stella acts nasty and cold towards him while he's watching his film projector and she knocks it over as well as his evil thoughts on what someone does to a woman in a wheelchair from what he was watching as this left an impression wondering if he will lose his sanity and do the same thing to her as this was strongly done in big time.
Then the fun really starts happening when he pays a visit to Marilyn's home and she is in a shower as he enters the room which he gets the idea from watching that Hitchcock classic we all remembered but yet it made me wonder if he will actually kill her or not in which I watched carefully to this.
Next up he pays a visit to that hooker all dressed up as Dracula chasing after her in which this offered me a brief chuckle and seemed to be done in a decent style too.
One of the best scene's is when Richie gets arrogant once again towards Eric and threatens him as this isn't a good idea and later on Richie is causing trouble at a theme park and then a good dark shot on Eric dressed as an outlaw wearing a creepy mask in which the settings looked perfect and eerie and loved watching this moment unfold. It gave me a feeling that he will get what's coming to him big time.
Great intense moments with Eric having a dispute with Marty and losing his job as this drew me in that he will be his next victim and boy do things look impressive later on when he is dressed up as a Mummy and terrorises him. Not overly intense but does the trick for anyone who likes to be entertained watching horror.
Nice powerful arguments between Jerry and Captain M.L. Gallagher biting his head off on a situation which looked realistic and powerfully done.
More negative things happen to poor Eric as he gets a ride from a filmmaker and tells him he makes movies too and having high hopes that he will work for him and calls him with this primadonna brushing him off which is an awful feeling. I figured that he was going to be next and things look intense on what happens while he is celebrating his birthday and done in fine style.
One of the best moments were saved quarter way through when he takes Marilyn with him to Hollywood Blvd and hides from the law as well as many suspenseful moments occur nar the end on what happens to him which is the most powerful moment used int he story. Tons of great moments happens between him against Jerry and Anne as well as great intense situations.
Bottom line is that this was a nicely done flick in which at first made me wonder if it was an actual horror flick but kept watching and seeing an obsessed movie fan trying to be these characters which looked totally psychological, vengeful and done in a nice fashion. This flick should entertain most of you. Worth a try by checking it out.

The acting is very well done and natural in which Dennis Christopher (Eric Binford) really kicks ass with his eccentric type of behavior and personality as well as coming off as a misfit in which he does well too. Offers some great movie character types of accents without going over the top with them which isn't an easy thing at all making his performance in Breaking Away seem nothing compared to what he did here. He offers a great charming type of attitude along with showing off a nice choked up nervousness too in the spots where he needed to act that way. Plus was great with his obnoxious attitude as well as psychotic bringing great intense energy into all of this. Also does great acting out of it and insane near the end of his role. Yes I'd say he stole the show with his performance in this one.
(Dr. Jerry Moriarty) was another fine actor in which he shows off a nice charming personality making his role truly likeable as well as really getting into his romantic side in a certain scene. Brings alot of pizzaz into everything that he did here. Also shows off some great energy when the action happens. Also shows off some nice aggressions here and there when the terror strikes him. He was always a great character actor within every show that I've seen him in.
(Officer Anne Oshenbull) shows off alot of spunk and pizzaz with her bubbly and uplifting behavior. She shows a happy go lucky type of attitude which shines off greatly as well as showing off some nice hyped energy. Comes off to the camera greatly within all of this.
(Marilyn O'Connor) was bang on with her role having a good soft spoken attitude as well as coming across perfectly while acting easy going especially during the near beginning of her performance in which she was believeable by acting approachable and open minded. Does well in a hallucination sequence singing the happy birthday song in the Monroe type of fashion.
(Stacy) was great as her friend in which she had a convincing no nonsense type of attitude as well as being good sensing other people with her reactions towards them. She seemed to really study her part in a good fashion and having a nice seriousness whenever she had to be this way.
Eve Brent
(Aunt Stella Binford) had a nice brief supporting role in which she was great by acting bitter and closed minded along with her verbally abusive attitude. Brings alot into her role and making her role well remembered to anyone who saw this.
 (Marty Berger) does a good job by acting like a grouchy employer in which he shows true aggressions within whatever he did here as well as showing some nice energy within his negative attitude.
(Captain M.L. Gallagher) was perfect playing someone obnoxious when he nears chews someone's head off during a situation. He really came across as perfectly intense and unpleasant by what he did. Had the right masculine looks and features so he was a great choice of character.
 (Richie) in one of his first acting gigs as he pulls it off as someone whom is also obnoxious and arrogant by playing an employee who likes to cause trouble. He fit the role perfectly as a bully and knowing how to get in your face too. Does well by acting fearful near the end of his performance as well. Of course this role lead him to portray other tough ass type roles in many other shows to come.

has her breasts briefly revealed while taking a shower.

A piece of fence is stabbed through a hookers neck
Bloody gunshots

Craig Safan does a fantastic job with his score on this flick having deep piano playing as well as some nice violin music too especially for the dark near murderous scene's that fits in big time. Also there's great adventuerous music quarter way through for when the adventure starts on our main character trying to get away from the police force when ending up at Hollywood Blvd. Sounded very classy and original. In other spots of the film there's some string playing and other sounds like that too which sounded well for what was happening too.

A great closing credit song titled "Heroes" performed by Marsha A. Hunt in which she has almost sad like vocalising and having a nice sad type of ballad music in which I found this to be a perfect track after what happened in the end of the film.  

Eric Binford: [dressed and speaking as Hopalong Cassidy] Start dancing!
[fires a shot at Richie's feet]
Eric Binford: Say your prayers!
Richie: Hey, come on! What did I do? I'm sorry, I...
Eric Binford: On your knees! Both knees!
Richie: [whimpering] Please, why are you doing this? I didn't do anything to you.
[Eric suddenly breaks character by laughing insanely]
Eric Binford: [normal voice] How does it feel now, Richie?
Richie: Binford?
[alarmed he has been made, Eric shoots Richie several times in the chest, killing him. Eric holsters his gun and casually walks away into the background mist. The image fades to black]

Marty Berger: [angry tone] Where the hell have you been, Binford? I could have you arrested for stealing company property!
Eric Binford: I needed wheels, Mr. Berger.
Marty Berger: That's not an answer. Why can't you buy a car with the insurance money that your aunt left you?
Eric Binford: That's none of your business.
Marty Berger: You shut up! I've been hearing all kinds of things about you lately, Binford.
Eric Binford: You mean like my wedding?
Marty Berger: Now that is one I haven't heard. I can't picture the creature who'd want to marry you. Tell me, who is this unlucky girl?
Eric Binford: She's a famous actress.
Marty Berger: And who may this famous actress be?
Eric Binford: Marilyn Monroe.
Marty Berger: That's it! Hand over the key to the Vespa, Binford.
Eric Binford: [mimicking James Cagney] It's Cody. Got it? Cody Jarrett and don't ever forget it!
Marty Berger: Snap out of it, Binford, You name is not Cody. And get your goddamn hands off me! You're fired!
Eric Binford: [normal voice] Too late. I quit!