Fabio: A Time for Romance
By Sam Wood
This week I am very proud to begin my series of thrilling VHS Screeners. These are not-so-sneak peeks at fine cinematic masterpieces you will not see re-released on mass-market DVD (bootlegs maybe). As a lover of knowledge, I think it is a crime that these works will be lost to the shifting technologies of progress. Therefore, I strive to document them.
Without further ado, I present the timeless masterpiece “Fabio: A Time for Romance.” I found it in a bin at a thrift store in Santa Cruz, CA, for the irresistible price of fifty cents. FIFTY CENTS? I would have been willing to pay dollars!
I’m finding it difficult to keep this review short. There are just so many wonderful things about this film. For one, it isn’t even listed on IMDB! Fabio is there, and the director, Robert Farber, is there, but nowhere is “A Time for Romance.” (Farber, by the way, was also responsible for “Stolen Sex Tapes” and “The Pirates of Central Park”).
According to the box, this is “the first romance VideoNovel.” People, this is obviously a lost classic in the history of cinema. This was the intrepid little pic that launched today’s VideoNovel empire! The summary also assures us that “leading international spokesman for love, Fabio,” stars in three special fantasies which will make every woman’s dreams come true. Every woman’s dreams.
Three breath-taking, dream-truthifying fantasies in only 40 minutes? I admit I was skeptical at first. How could they pack so much heart-pounding romance into so little time?
“A Time for Romance” opens with Fabio, in an open shirt, smiling devilishly at the camera. “Hi!” he says, “I’m Fabio. I’m so pleased joo decided to spend some time wit me. I made dis film for all my friends. Please enjoy ‘A Time For Romance,’ where every woman’s dream comes true.”
MY HEART IS ALREADY POUNDING.
Then the film opens for real with our unnamed female lead thrashing her bed with insomnia. After heading into her study to work, she vaguely informs the audience that she just cannot decide what time frame to use for her next book, and her editor wants something today! She begins to fantasize, and we get our three mini-features.
CONQUEST OF THE VIKING:
Viking Fabio shows up on an English creek at the head of a rowboat, wearing shoulder armor and gauntlets, but no shirt.
Fabio’s Action Moment:
He uses his mystical Viking powers to re-materialize behind an English boy and disarm him. The boy’s life is only saved because his busty sister runs into the clearing.
Fabio’s Seduction Technique:
He forces the English girl to kneel, then kind of gropes her with his sword while she is crying. SEXY.
“Are you Chreestians?”
*sneer* “Go fetch one of yer priests!”
“You would allow her the sacrament of Last Rites?”
“No… he will perform…a marriage!”
And that is the end of story number one! (Really, that dialogue is the climactic moment). I’m sure you are all panting with lust by now, but dash yourselves with cold water, because there are two more to go.
THE PIRATE ROGUE:
Queen Elizabeth sent a pirate ship to attack a Spanish galleon (what). After sinking the ship, the pirates camp out on the beach.
When his yar-har-har pirate gang drags an unconscious woman into his tent, Fabio goes into a rage because she smells like kelp and animal droppings. SEXY. (Don’t worry, he has her stinky clothes burnt).
“I wouldn’ go out dere if I were you, unless, p’raps, you wish to be dessert to two dozen sailors. Sit in dat chair or I tie you in it!”
Fabio’s Seduction Technique:
They play chess. She looks super bored, and he looks super smug. SEXY. At the end of the game she smiles. THEY ARE IN LOVE. He starts zooming in for make-out time, but the camera zooms in on a candle instead.
Story two is over! Please, people, contain yourselves, this isn’t a 3D porn theater. We’ve got one left.
Miss Writer imagines her own secret fantasy. She is on a balcony at an Italian villa in the 1930s. Fabio shows up and makes with the sexy talk. Then she wakes up. Then Fabio shows up in the real world.
The Writer’s Monologue:
He is a Count, one of the handsomest, richest, most sought-after men in the world! Real people don’t live in 500-year-old villas in Italy! And she is just a dressed up princess to match it, but deep down she’s still just a plain schoolteacher who’ll have to return to her safe but boring life in the states.
Fabio’s Emotional Outbursts:
“Kathleen! I never lie to you! Te amo—I lorve you! Why don’ you believe me? I a real man! Just listen to your haaarrrhht. If you leave tomorrow you will broke my haaarrhhht!”
“You don’ have to worry ‘bout da future. I wouldn’ permit it! Just marry me! Be my Countess! Be… MAH LAHVER!
Fabio’s Supernatural Explanation:
“Oh! It must be the Dream-Maker. He make your dream come true!”
And with that, my weak-kneed, swooning audience, “A Time for Romance” comes to an end.
BUT WAIT. Is there time for one final plot twist? I THINK SO.
Miss Writer wakes up again (for real this time). She decides to go to bed, and sneaks in next to her husband, apologizing for waking him up. We don’t see her husband’s face, but as he slips an arm around her waist he promises he will do, “Anything… your haaarrhhht desires!”
Phew, way to BLOW MY MIND, Fabio. Folks, if you are lucky enough to come across this fine piece of film history (and there are a few old copies on Amazon.com), then snatch it up. Soon enough, it may no longer exist.
NEXT WEEK ON SAM’S PHENOMENAL COSMIC MOVIE COLUMN:
“MirrorMask” and the soundtrack that ruined everything.