A socially awkward young man who is also a film addict, jumps into his favorite past time and uses his favorite Hollywood characters to cope with life and exact revenge on those who have wronged him.
This film begins in the home of the main character, Eric Binford, portrayed by Dennis Christopher (chariots of fire, Stephen King’s IT). Eric is a film addict and trivia buff, often living in seclusion and watching films with his film projector he has set up in his bedroom. Eric lives with his disabled aunt who runs around the house in a wheelchair with a ridding whip, criticizing Eric’s existence. Eric works at the Local film studio making deliveries and challenging co-workers with movie trivia.
Eric meets a beautiful young woman named Marilyn (Linda Kerridge), and boldly asks her for a date to the local cinema. Marilyn has dinner with another man and looses track of time and misses Eric at the movies. Eric is very upset by this not knowing that Marilyn rushed to meet him, but Eric had already left. As a sub plot Dr. Jerry Moriarty portrayed by Tim Thomerson, (Trancers, Dollman,) is a psychologist working for the local police department and begins a strange secret romance with a female cop. Dr. Moriarty believes himself to have keen insight into the criminal mind, but is mocked and considered useless by the detectives in the department.
Eric reverts into his room and begins watching his films once more. Eric’s aunt is ranting and strikes Eric’s projector and film with her stick and topples the unit to the floor. Eric just having watched a film involving the strangulation of a disabled person, Eric uses his anger to strangle his aunt. Eric begins to dress up as his favorite characters from classic films and seek revenge upon all who offended him. Eric even becomes count Dracula and chases a prostitute and drinks a fair amount of her blood.
The police question Eric and seem to have cleared him of any involvement; however Dr. Moriarty claims that Eric is a prime suspect in his judgment. The department decision makers believe Moriarty to be non-credible and largely ignore his claims about Eric. Eric had a chance meeting with a film producer/director while hitchhiking. After explaining his own movie idea to the Hollywood mogul, Eric later learns that the mogul stole his idea and was going to leave Eric out of the production. Eric later dressed in gangster apparel and sporting a Tommy gun, guns down the mogul. In this scene at a salon, the same lamp and bottles are shattered by the bullets for 2 separate scenes, this is obvious.
After Eric’s boss at the studio is murdered, most of the police department is searching Eric’s house and now strongly believe he is responsible for the murders. Eric wants to avenge himself upon Marilyn, so he invites her to a “fashion model shoot” at an all but abandoned building. I’m not sure if Eric wanted to kill Marilyn, however he drugs her and as he is about to execute his plan, Moriarty and his police lover burst thru the door. Eric drags Marilyn from the room and shoots Moriarty in the leg.
Now as the film wraps up, the police car scene at the gas station is “sped up” so that people and cars are moving faster than they are. Eric ends up at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and makes his way to the roof pursued by Moriarty. At this point Eric releases Marilyn and taunts the police with his gun. This film seems to be all over the place. It is very easy to follow at the beginning, and the director gets credit for effort, however the middle and the end seem to jump and skip to try to force fit the sub plot characters and the main plot characters together. Honestly from my view Tim Thomerson played more of a comedic character in this film when his role was supposed to be serious. With just a few scenes and not very relevant ones, Thomerson could have been left out of the film all together. This is due to the screenplay being weak, not the directing. The makeup is good, special effects were better than average and the acting is all top notch. The film does give you a creepy sense of horror with the mood and set. This film does well against all other low budget films of 1980.
Fade to Black (1980)