• Fan, The



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: March 10th 2015.
    Director: Eckhart Schmidt
    Cast: Desiree Nosbusch, Bodo Steiger
    Year: 1982
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    The Movie:

    Written and directed by Eckhart Schmidt in 1982, Der Fan tells the story of a teenage girl named Simone (Desiree Nosbusch) who is completely obsessed with a pop star named R (Bodo Steiger). This isn’t just a case of buying all his albums and plastering her bedroom wall with his posters, it goes much further than that. She fantasizes about him in class and can’t concentrate on her schoolwork and would seem to sincerely believe that the songs he sings are meant for her. She’s constantly writing letters and figures that the only reason she’s not getting a reply is because someone is keeping them from him, but this doesn’t stop her from hanging out at the post office in hope that something will show up.

    When she gets word that R is going to be appearing on a television show in a few days, she leaves town to attend the taping in hopes that she’ll get a chance to meet him and convince him that they’re meant to be together. Though it doesn’t go exactly as she’d planned it, she does get her shot and after the performance, he eschews his other responsibilities in favor of some intimate alone time with her. Once he gets what he wants out of the deal though, she confesses her love to him. When he doesn’t respond in kind, things take a decidedly nasty turn…

    Beautifully shot and cut to a haunting German new wave soundtrack, The Fan (Der Fan in its native Germany and released domestically on tape as Trance) is more of an arthouse character study than it is a traditional horror film but genre fans shouldn’t let that dissuade them. This film goes into some insanely dark territory before those end credits roll and it pulls no punches once it gets there. Often bathed in strange colors and set to a soundtrack courtesy of Rheingold, the movie has such a strange tone to it that it’s hard not to get captivated by it. The visuals really are fantastic here, not just in the way that the movie is shot and lit but also in how the sets are dressed. Case in point? R’s performance in the TV studio where he’s surrounded my mannequins and dressed in such a way as to blend in with them. The way that the inevitable love scene plays out also toys with our expectations as to how this type of content should be shot – with Simone’s face covered more than once to mask her eyes making us question the perspective of what we’re seeing.

    The performances from the two leads are bold and impressive. Bodo Steiger looks every bit the part of a German new wave musician because he was one – he did vocals in for Rheingold and was affiliated with some other acts associated with the movement. He plays the pompous rock star perfectly but as good as he is it’s Desiree Nosbusch who gives the more memorable turn in the film. As Simone she proves capable of playing delicate and deranged with equal aplomb. She’s a very beautiful woman and has some seriously piercing eyes that Schmidt is savvy enough to frequently focus on.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Fan debuts on Blu-ray in North America in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. There is some minor print damage here and there but nothing too distracting and in general, this transfer is a very strong one. While some scenes were shot with an intentionally soft look, detail is, outside of these scenes, very strong. Skin tones, of which there are plenty on display in the last third of the film, look very lifelike and natural while color reproduction is pretty much outstanding from start to finish. There are no obvious problems with compression artifacts and there doesn’t seem to be any overzealous noise reduction to complain about here at all. Yeah, this looks really good. Mondo Macabro have done a very nice job here.

    DTS-HD Mono tracks are available in your choice of the original German or dubbed English. The film plays way better in German, so unless you’ve got an aversion to subtitles (which are supplied in English only), stick with the German option. Both tracks sound clean, clear and nicely balanced demonstrating good range and depth. The score in particular sounds really good here, those weird Germanic keyboards and synth beats coming together nicely in a few spots. No problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The main extra on the disc is a twenty minute video interview with director Eckhart Schmidt who speaks quite openly not only about the production history of the movie and what it was like to direct the film but also about his work with the two leads. He’s pretty blunt about what it was like working with Nosbusch in particular and there are some interesting stories to be told here. He also talks about the politics of the film and its use of music and generally just gives us a nice overview of the film’s history.

    In typical Mondo Macabro fashion we also get some pretty extensive text pieces, one recounting the history of the film, a piece that details the German New Wave music scene, and bios for the two leads and the director. Great stuff and very thorough. Outside of that we get a trailer for the feature, the ever expanding Mondo Macabro promo reel, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release the Blu-ray case includes, obviously, the Blu-ray disc as well as a DVD version of the movie that includes the same extras.

    The Final Word:

    The Fan is a dark and twisted film that takes society’s obsession with celebrity to pretty insane extremes, but it’s so well done that you can’t help but get sucked in by it all. It’s as much an art film as it is a horror picture but it’s nothing if not enthralling. Mondo Macabro has done right by the film, presenting it uncut and in very nice shape with some solid extras too. All in all, a great release.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Your mention of arthouse initially scared me off but with your recommendation and GGTMC covering THE FAN, I was finally compelled to check it out. It's amazing. It was oddly compelling but it's the final 30 minutes of WTF that's going to have me thinking for weeks to come. I did not see that coming at all.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Ha, glad you dug it. It's pretty twisted.
    1. Roderick's Avatar
      Roderick -
      This was easily my favorite blu release last year.