Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Fade To Black (1980, Vernon Zimmerman)


Sometimes people fail to distinguish between fantasy and reality, especially if they spend too much time outside the real world. This is what happens to young Eric, who ends up losing his mind and goes over the edge in the 1980 cult flick Fade To Black, which borrows somewhat from Taxi Driver and even Maniac. However I think that Fade To Black works as it’s own flick for the most part, and it helped to add to the now cliche “Person goes crazy” flick that has been popular over the years.

Eric though has a trouble life, barely holding onto a job and living with his overbearing aunt. He even gets stood up by a nice Marilyn Monroe lookout (her name is even Marilyn!) that he worked up the courage to ask out. Events spiral out of control and soon Eric is committing crimes based on the movies he loves way too much. I felt a little uneasy watching this flick since I love movies too much myself, although certainly not enough to dress up as characters from them. Being able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy is a good thing.

Also I go outside once in a while, something that poor Eric probably should have done more often. Nope he instead loses it completely, changing his name, killing an annoying coworker and attracting the attention of the local police. Maybe in the end the guy was always a bit unstable, and he never had a chance. I think Eric is definitely the kind of guy who people talk about after they’ve gone on a crime or killing spree. The type you see on the news and you wonder what they were thinking.

Sure Fade To Black is cheesy, and the acting isn’t the greatest at times. The film wasn’t exactly high budget, yet I still am thinking about it so the whole thing worked anyways. It helps that Dennis Christopher takes over the film and carries it through the rough parts-you want to keep watching to see what he does next. Perhaps that is enough.

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