Fade to Black

This ambitious 1980 thriller by Vernon Zimmerman (Deadhead Miles, Unholy Rollers) uses Hollywood star iconography as an instrument of murder, as freaked-out film buff Dennis Christopher knocks off his tormentors in the style of Richard Widmark's Tommy Udo, James Cagney's Cody Jarrett, Dracula, and Hopalong Cassidy. The film isn't sharp enough in its inside references to carry any real punch—mainly, it's an exercise in nostalgic guignol. The ideas are never developed nor seized—it's all concept and missed opportunities. 100 min.

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