Saturday, January 19, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Fade to Black


Fade to Black, a 1980 movie directed by Vernon Zimmerman, is a bit of a thriller, I guess, about a delusional young man, Eric (Dennis Christopher). If you think Taxi Driver, for a reference point, and transfer the lead character and make him a movie buff and nerd who becomes delusional – living within the movies he watches. It could almost be a ‘what if’ story of Quentin Tarantino, what if he became a homicidal delusional young man rather than writing great films?

Dennis Christopher as EricEric lives with his wheel chair bound Aunty Stella (Eve Brent), a harridan by trade, and works for a film distribution company. He wants to break into movies and has an obsession with Marilyn Monroe. He meets an Australian girl who looks like Marilyn (Linda Kerridge) but when she is late for a date he begins to lose his mind. The first fatality is Stella – though it is more accident than anything – and as she dies he imagines the movie that the death resembles. Note that on the screenshot of Eric that his T-Shirt is a Nosferatu shirt.

becoming BelaNow on his own he sinks further into delusion, changing his name to Cody Jarrett and changing the street sign outside his house. He is going to a showing of Night of the Living Dead and makes himself up like Bela Lugosi in Mark of the Vampire. Having watched the movie he goes to Marilyn’s house, to get her autograph and the film juxtaposes Psycho with his costume. Her screams (someone dressed like Bela Lugosi has just walked in on her in the shower) push him further into delusion.

spooking around as a vampireStill dressed as Bela he sees a prostitute who has given him a hard time and approaches her in character. She panics and runs and he gives chase. Interestingly he sees a movie over the chase and the clips are from horror of Dracula. This shows a movement from Mark of the Vampire, where Bela plays an actor dressing as a vampire, to Horror of Dracula where the vampire portrayed is real. The girl falls through a fence and one of the posts skewers her neck. Eric actually tastes the blood. As the film progresses his delusion and therefore his homicidal tendencies increase, though we have reached the end of the vampiric input.

However, definitely worth an honourable mention.

The imdb page is here.

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