The Horror Honeys: Slasher Hexmas ~ Eric Binford loves the movies…

Slasher Hexmas ~ Eric Binford loves the movies…

A Supernatural Honey Slasher Month Review by Suzanne

Fade to Black (1980)

I pride myself on retaining a lot of useless information about movies. Granted, most of the films of which I have an intimate knowledge are obscure horror films, comedies or star Charles Bronson. Sure, my love of film goes well beyond the average filmgoer and I watch more than just horror, but do I qualify as a cinephile? Eh, not really so much, but I know a few. Their knowledge is impressive and, occasionally irritating, but not homicidal. Not that I’m aware of anyway. This brings me to one of those obscure slasher films that too few people have seen, Fade to Black.

Eric Binford earns a meagre living working for a film distribution company in Los Angeles. Obsessed with classic films and leading lady, Marilyn Monroe, Eric spends what little he earns on movie memorabilia. Eric lives with his overbearing aunt and suffers her daily ridicule, as well as bullying from his coworkers. When an encounter with a Marilyn look-alike and ride home from a famous producer give him false promises of love and fame, Eric immerses himself too deep in the characters he loves so much and exacts revenge on those who keep him down.

Those of us who relate to films more than people can see a little of ourselves in Eric, but it’s difficult to feel any genuine sympathy for him since he is so bitter and doesn’t really try to connect with anyone, with the exception of his crush, Marilyn. However, when Marilyn unintentionally stands him up for a date, he sets off on his killing spree, starting with his aunt. Because Eric is so socially awkward, he can’t even kill without portraying a character. He assumes the personas of Dracula, Hopalong Cassidy, the Mummy, and Cody Jarrett, to kill his enemies.

Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away, Chariots of Fire) was the perfect Eric, twitchy, paranoid, narcissistic, and mean, but also shy and sort of adorable. Australian actress Linda Kerridge as Marilyn O’Connor was a dead ringer for Monroe. She came off as sweet and naïve, and oddly attracted to Eric, without seeming phony. While these two played it straight, some of the other cast members seemed to be in another movie and played a bizarre comedic angle, specifically, the law enforcement characters investigating the crimes.

A young Mickey Rourke (and his original face) plays a small, but pivotal role as Richie, a bully who works with Eric and makes it his job to torment and humiliate him. Peter Horton (Children of the Corn) also has a small role.

I feel pretty...
Fade to Black is an Irwin Yablans production and it references a lot of his films in the form of movie posters at the distribution company. It’s not particularly consistent nor is it particularly scary, but it is clever and original, and really underrated. It is also, sadly, out of print. This is a film that desperately needs a BD release. Scream Factory? How about it?

Supernatural Honey Verdict: 3.5 bad character impressions out of 5

Do you remember this underground classic?
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