The Film (4/5)
The Fan (aka Trance) is one of a number of films that first came to my delayed awareness through reading Kier-La Janisse's excellent tome House of Psychotic Women. I have been trying to catch a good number of the films in that book I had not seen previously, and this one had been pretty high on that list. Prior to this release by Mondo Macabro, the film had never been given a stateside release, and only had an English friendly VHS release in the U.K. under the aforementioned title Trance.
The film stars Desiree Nosbusch as Simone a teenage girl who is obsessed with pop star "R" (Bodo Steiger). Every day she listens to his music, watches his performances (and watches for signals from him to her), writes him letters, and hassles her local postal worker waiting for a reply that never comes. Her obsession is so rabid it takes over her life, she starts skipping school, her grades go down, and her attitude toward her parents is negatively changes (far beyond the normal teenage thing). Emotions are running so high, and the situation becoming so difficult that Simone's Father finally decides if things don't shape up she will be sent to boarding school, this sets her off, and she runs away to Munich to see "R". When she is finally noticed by R outside the studio he's performing at she passes out, and is brought inside by the rocker as a guest of honor at her performance. Later than evening she is brought home with him for a night of passion, that turns sour when he reveals his true nature, and announces that he is leaving for months, and might see her again sometime. Needless to say, Simone is not happy, and things do not end well.
The Fan could be classified as horror because of it's third act, but before that it plays out much differently than how it ends. In this regard it could be seen as an influence on the much later "Audition". Early on the film takes on a hypnotic pacing with Simone's obsession being given a certain repetitive visual rhythm. The performances from both Nosbusch and Steiger truly anchor the film. Nosbusch’ performance feels truly immersive in it’s subject, and you truly feel at atmosphere of obsession and derangement from her, more so as the film goes on. The soundtrack is provided by Steiger's real life band Rheingold, and does an excellent job of accompanying the film.
Mondo Macabro have done excellent work bringing the Fan to Blu-ray. The 1:85:1 MPEG-4 encoded 1080p transfer is quite naturally looking with excellent detail, and pleasing colors, and solid blacks, there is a natural grain structure present throughout the film. I will say some scenes do appear better off than others, this is more noticeable in the film's darker, moments, but overall the transfer is quite nice.
The audio is given two options a DTS-HD MA 1.0 in both English and German. I stuck to German with only a dip into the English. Both tracks are quite good for the most part, with dialogue, score, and effects coming through nicely, and no detection of audio anomalies like pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Mondo Macabro have included a 20 minute interview with director Eckhart Schmidt, and some text based essay's on the main actors and Schmidt.
The Fan is a hypnotic and horrifying tale of obsession and fandom taken to extremes. The Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro looks and sounds fantastic, and though the extras were limited it was nice to be able to get the director's perspective on the film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.