BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive - Blu-Ray Review

Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

“Stop filling your head with all that useless trivia!”

Fade to Black lives on the fringes of cinema fanaticism.  This slasher celebrates the gray areas in life, where fantasy and reality come crashing together, as one young cinephile takes matters into his own hands and takes down all those who oppress him while staying in all sorts of characters.  

"a masterpiece of psychological horror that’s making its long overdue, worldwide Blu-ray debut from Vinegar Syndrome"


Written and directed by Vernon Zimmerman (Bobby Jo and the Outlaw), Fade to Black celebrates all things in cinema as we wake up alongside a very uptight Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher) who chain smokes his way through a crowded house while being harangued by his Aunt Stella for spending too much time watching movies.  Don’t worry, he will deal with her shortly by recreating a scene from 1947’s Kiss of Death.  He just needs a little push.

And that push comes when Marilyn O'Connor (Linda Kerridge), an Australian model and Marilyn Monroe lookalike, accidentally stands him up on their date.  She didn’t mean to, but the damage has been done and it sends Eric into a downward spiral that has him donning all sorts of outfits - from Dracula to Hopalong Cassiday - as he takes out anyone and everyone who gives him grief.  He’s fully entered into the world of fantasy and carries out these crimes as if he were actually in the film’s he’s recreating.Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

From White Heat to Psycho, the films he recreates in his attempt to take control over those whose intentions aren’t pure toward him is pretty impressive and it makes watching the movie a royal treat, especially as the clips are used in the movie, highlighting his descent into a fragmented mind where murder and revenge makes perfect sense.

Co-starring Mickey Rourke and Peter Green in minor roles, Fade to Black is steely-eyed in its commitment to the slasher genre and focused as an ode to Hollywood of yesteryear.    Eric’s impersonations are dead on and, masterfully, his recreations of classic films become downright disturbing as the madness and frustration that he feels finds the only outlet it knows.

With sterling cinematography by Álex Phillips Jr. (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), Fade to Black is a masterpiece of psychological horror that’s making its long overdue, worldwide Blu-ray debut from Vinegar Syndrome in a new 4K restoration of recently uncovered 35mm negative elements.  This release was originally available in two limited edition slipcover variants. The version based on the original 1-sheet poster has sold out. This slipcover version, with brand new artwork, was designed by Tom Hodge and is limited to just 4,000 units.  It is only available at www.vinegarsyndrome.com.

5/5 beers

 

Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- January 26, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Eric Binford lives for, and if he could have it his way ‘in’, the movies. He works at a 35mm print depot as a delivery boy, but spends all of his free time watching classic films and collecting Hollywood memorabilia. Endlessly tormented by his colleagues, Eric drifts further and further into a dream world wherein he embodies the silver screen characters he so deeply worships. However, when the teasing pushes him too far, he snaps and literally goes into character, donning the outfits of his big screen idols and slowly but surely killing off his tormentors in outrageous recreations of his favorite film scenes…

Video:

Newly scanned & restored in 4k from 35mm negative elements, the 1.85:1 transfer is expressive and solid in its handling of the many locations used throughout.  It's a crisp and bright transfer, adding a lot of pop to the scenic locations used throughout this tale of a killer who loves the movies a bit too much. Colors, with red and green being dominant, absolutely pop. Locales, both at night and during the day, are vibrant with so much RED being everywhere. The locations in and around Los Angeles at night and during the day are full of depth and well-defined shadows that were previously unseen. Black levels are solid and deep.

Audio:

A solid DTS-HD stereo track provides the chills and kills!

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Fans get three commentaries with this purchase.  There is a commentary track with lead actor Dennis Christopher, another with The Hysteria Continues!, and a historical commentary track with film historians Amanda Reyes and Bill Ackerman.

Special Features:

A slasher that’s profoundly infused with cinephilia and old Hollywood iconography from its first frame to its last, Vernon Zimmerman’s (Bobby Jo and the Outlaw) FADE TO BLACK is an often haunting examination of the terror that can occur when fantasy and reality collide. Starring Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away, the original ‘It') alongside Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), and featuring cinematography by Álex Phillips Jr. (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), FADE TO BLACK is a masterpiece of psychological horror that’s making its long overdue, worldwide Blu-ray debut from Vinegar Syndrome in a new 4K restoration of recently uncovered 35mm negative elements.

  • “Living & Dying for the Movies” - an interview with lead actor Dennis Christopher
  • “Celluloid Heroes” - an interview with executive producer Irwin Yablans
  • “Taking the Hits” - an interview with special effects artist Wayne Beauchamp
  • “A Shiny Quality” - an interview with actress Marcie Barkin
  • “Experimenting with Sound” - an interview with composer Craig Safan
  • “Finishing the Story” - an interview with editor Barbara Pokras
  • “A Brush with Darkness” - an interview with stylist Patricia Bunch
  • Audio interview with lead actress Linda Kerridge
  • Still Gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Reversible cover artwork

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
102 mins
Director
: Vernon Zimmerman
Writer:
Vernon Zimmerman
Cast:
Dennis Christopher; Tim Thomerson; Gwynne Gilford
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The theater is dark. Eric's mind is darker.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The cops are paid to suspect everyone but catch no one. That Gallagher is just another flatfoot."
Theatrical Distributor:
American Cinema Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 14, 1980
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 26, 2021.
Synopsis: Eric Binford lives for, and if he could have it his way ‘in’, the movies. He works at a 35mm print depot as a delivery boy, but spends all of his free time watching classic films and collecting Hollywood memorabilia. Endlessly tormented by his colleagues, Eric drifts further and further into a dream world wherein he embodies the silver screen characters he so deeply worships. However, when the teasing pushes him too far, he snaps and literally goes into character, donning the outfits of his big screen idols and slowly but surely killing off his tormentors in outrageous recreations of his favorite film scenes...

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Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

 

Fade to Black (1980) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

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