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Fade To Black (1980)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Fade To Black (1980) Tried to watch this one back in the day and it never resonated with me but was reading about how "underrated" it was and checked it out again. Well, it's okay, but still a bit sub-par, even for a slasher movie, but it does have a few good moments. The plot is kind of cool: Dennis Christopher plays a movie obsessed nerd (aren't we all?!?!) that works at a studio film and prop house. He's a young man with an overbearing aunt in a wheelchair that berates him daily and tells him what a loser he is, he's got a boss that belittles and threatens him all day long and even when he tries to pick up a prostitute for a little lightening of the load stress relief, he's mocked! Dennis retreats into his movie obsession nightly, watching them on the tube and on a 16mm projector in his room. He's surrounded by posters and novelties and has a bit of a Marilyn Munroe obsession. He meets a gal who looks like Marilyn, who works as a look-a-like at some Hollywood store and tries to set up a date with her, but she forgets about it. So naturally, this is the straw that breaks Dennis' sanity (or is it when his aunt breaks his movie projector in a fit of rage?) and he stalks her a bit (nice shower stalking scene but man, what's the deal? No nudity with a hot lookin' actress doing a Marilyn impersonation----MISSED OPPORTUNITY, MR. FILMMAKER!!!). Dennis also has strife with a couple of work colleagues (including a cocky Mickey Rourke in an early role) and decides to start his vengeance on them. He dresses up as his favorite cinematic villains (from nerves of steel cowboys, Hammer's Dracula, to the mummy) and takes out those that have wronged him, including his boss, the hooker that mocked him, and the nagging aunt...all culminating with the kidnapping of a very stoned Marilyn Munroe impersonator and a waaaay overlong, poorly choreographed and edited awkward confrontation with police at the end that takes place on the roof of Mann's Chinese Theater, I believe. There's some good stalking moments in the movie and the kill scenes have a nice ambience and homage to the movies Dennis obsesses over, but there's an unbelievably bad "cops and shrinks tackling the case, just one step behind" subplot with intense actor James Luisi doing his best Lieutenant Chapman shtick from THE ROCKFORD FILES with complete perfection while the coke sniffing shrink is banging a female street cop--- there's an awkward love scene between the two where hottie Gwynne Gilford shows a bit of nip, so can't complain there. You have to look hard for it, though! But wow, that ending...so overlong and implausible, it's actually hard to watch. FADE TO BLACK is an okay timewaster from yesteryear, but overall, nothing too spectacular. I can take it or leave it.

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