Fade to Black (1980), Vernon Zimmerman’s cult slasher about a lonely film buff who stalks a Monroe impersonator, has found a new audience after being released on Blu-Ray in Europe, and also enjoys an unlikely place in the hearts of MM fans, as ‘Marilyn’ is played by Australia-born Linda Kerridge, who was one of the most popular and beautiful tribute artists at the time.
As Meagan Navarro noted in a recent review for the horror website Bloody Disgusting, Fade to Black is now available to stream, via Shudder (and it’s also on Amazon Prime.)
“Dennis Christopher (It, Necronomicon) stars as Eric Binford, a browbeaten, socially awkward employee at a film warehouse. He’s picked on by peers (one played by Mickey Rourke), abused by his aunt, and he’s a constant screw up as far as his boss is concerned. His sole comfort comes from his love of movies, and it’s become a full-blown obsession that permeates every aspect of his life. He speaks in references and movie quotes. He spends his hours after work attending repertory screenings at a local theater. Every inch of his personal space is adorned with film memorabilia. Then he meets Marilyn O’Connor (Linda Kerridge), a dead ringer for actress Marilyn Monroe. When she accidentally stands him up for their movie date, it’s followed by a series of incidents, snubs, and bad luck that pushes Eric over the edge into deranged madness.
The only person to offer Eric any real kindness is Marilyn. That she loses track of time and stands Eric up isn’t the catalyst for his crimes; it’s meant to show just how narrow the window is for potential salvation. Not that she could’ve pulled him from the brink, because he only projects his desires for Marilyn Monroe on her rather than acknowledge her as a person. But the dangling carrot of kindness might’ve changed the trajectory of his story entirely. Instead, his extreme obsession wholly consumed him.”
And in a new article for Screen Rant, Q.V. Hough lists the many cinematic references in Fade to Black.
“The Prince and the Showgirl (1957): Eric poses as a photographer and plans to recreate Laurence Olivier’s film starring Marilyn Monroe.
The Seven Year Itch (1955): When Eric first meets Marilyn, he asks her to name a movie that’s visually referenced in Billy Wilder’s comedy, starring Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe. Eric then imitates the title character in Creature from the Black Lagoon. (‘I go to a lot of movies. It’s my thing.’)”