Friday, March 13, 2015

I Became An Instant Fan of Der Fan

One of the funniest scenes in Eckhart Schmidt's DER FAN ('82) shows the film's heroine, Simone (Desiree Nosbusch), accosting her mailman on the street and beating him up because he wasn't in possession of a letter she was waiting for. This scene reminded me of a time in my own life when my brother pointed an air rifle at our mailman because he failed to deliver a processed Super-8 monster film we were hanging out to see.

DER FAN is about a young woman who's obsessed with a Gary Numan-/John Foxx-style pop artist named "R". This fellow has the on-screen charisma of ice (which makes him cool, I suppose), and sings in a strange monotone with unique electronic backing that sounds like a cross between Kraftwerk, Serge Blenner, and an el cheapo Pet Shop Boys. The band credited with the film's tuneful music is Rheingold.

Schmidt made the movie after witnessing the way young pop music fans interact with their idols. He captures the madness and loneliness of obsession with authenticity, and, lucky for him, managed to cast a young lady who was just right for the job of portraying a sexy teenage psycho. A striking creature, Ms. Nosbusch takes her character from immature juvenile to nihilistic viper without missing a beat. And her voice-over documents a descent into greater madness that manages to feel logical and complete.

I had never seen DER FAN (also known as TRANCE) before, so my first viewing, on Mondo Macabro's BluRay, was a most satisfying experience.  Never released in the US, according to the jacket copy, it packs a punch content-wise, and earns its Unrated tag with some surprising violence, and nudity that would surpass any R-rating today.

It was released in the UK, but I'm uncertain if it was uncut. I'm sure a British reader could answer that question.

The film is a favorite of Japanese cannibal Issei Sagawa, and was released one year after he killed and dined on a female student in France.

Director Schmidt also made the fascinating LOFT. Perhaps Mondo-Macabro will give that a BluRay spin, too, if this one does some business. So don't pirate it, folks, buy it, or your options will soon diminish.

This excellent film from a by-gone era (which is a damn fucking shame) would make a fine double feature with DON'T DELIVER US FROM EVIL, another sweet tale of teenage temptresses gone nuts.

The distributor's Red Box BluRay is limited to 500, although it may remain available beyond the 500 as a standard issue disk.


  1. Phantom: If you love "Der Fan", you will probably also love Eckhart Schmidt's later work "Das Gold der Liebe" (1983) aka "The Gold of Love", which centers on the same theme (and used most of the same film crew), but takes a more dark and esoteric dreamlike approach to the subject and is set in Vienna during one single night. Tony Curtis' daughter Alexandra Curtis plays the lead and she sleepwalks to Vienna after hearing the great German industrial group D.A.F. (who appear in the film) calling to her in her sleep. It features some rather brutal and beauteously grotesque imagery and features a distinct dream logic. Unfortunately, due to music copyright issues, it has only been released in Germany on VHS. I reviewed it here:

    Another underrated Schmidt flick is his E.T.A. Hoffmann adaptation "Der Sandmann" (1993) aka "The Sandman", which I also reviewed:

    -Ty E

  2. Had the extreme luck to catch this at Cinefamily in LA, preceded by an introduction and followed by a Q&A with director Schmidt, who was amiable and unpretentious as can be. A truly remarkable flick- deeply funny, disturbing, and true to the emotions of teenage fandom. Once watched it back-to-back with "All About Lily Chou-Chou"...good pairing!

  3. Phantom, i own a copy of the edition that says "cult psycho horror" on the cover, its the British release as you said with a runnig time of 89 minutes, i dont know if its uncut though because i`ve never seen another version to compare it to.

  4. Ich a verzweifelt wollen bis zur ausfuhren wortlich jeder denkbar und moglich geschlechtsverkehr-handlung mit die anerkannt weltall auf Cindy Hinds (wie sie die wenig schatzchen war auf 1978 wann "Die Brut" war sein gefilmt, nicht wie sie die vogel ist jetzt schon offensichtlich).

  5. Thanks, Ty E. for this recommendation. THE GOLD OF LOVE sounds excellent.

    I have seen and like THE SANDMAN a lot.

    Eckhart's attitude is one of revolution, of protest against the Establishment. He's very underrated.

  6. I'm glad you're back with insightful reviews, stories and love for everything horror and exploitation. Hope you stay blogging for a long time.

  7. I saw this Blu-ray in a store today and almost bought it on impulse. I'm trying to be frugal with my money, and the idea of buying a movie I haven't seen is riskier than it used to be. After I got home, I hopped on the computer and wondered if you might've posted about it. Of course, you did! You're awesome. i'm buying this tonight, along with Yuzna's Society.