THE FAN aka TRANCE (1982) Reviews and overview

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The Fan – aka Der FanTrance and Blood Groupie – is a 1982 West German psychological horror feature film directed by Eckhart Schmidt and starring Desiree Nosbusch and Bodo Steiger.

The soundtrack was composed by short-lived group Rheingold, whose lead singer was also Bodo Steiger.

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Teenager Simone appears to be like any other young pop fan. But soon her fixation on the band’s lead singer R takes over her life. Simone walks out of school, breaks off with her friends and parents and somehow finds herself waiting for her idol as he appears on a TV show. When she sees him in the flesh she is speechless, unable even to ask for his autograph. He reaches out to touch her.

Overcome with emotion, Simone faints; with that first touch, R’s fate is sealed. Simone discovers the carefully styled world of which R is just another product. Simone wants nothing more than to love and be loved by R, but he takes her with machine-like coldness. She experiences their intimacy as a kind of slow motion nightmare, an encounter with a robotic creature, totally incapable of affection or emotion.

Simone cannot accept the detachment of her idol, and when R walks out on her to join his friends, she plots her revenge. Simone plans the ultimate sacrifice of her god on the altar of her madness, a ceremony as exalted and romantic as it is horribly wonderful. The police search for R. But only Simone knows where he is, and she will give birth to him anew….


In her contract, popular German TV star Désirée Nosbusch agreed to shoot the nude scenes together with Bodo Steiger. After stills from those scenes were published during the marketing campaign of the film, she tried to stop the film’s release.

After a long trial that caused a scandal in the German press, she finally lost and the film was released in its original version by director Eckhart Schmidt. Schmidt and Nosbusch were reconciled years later and became friends again.


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“It’s virtually impossible to explain why The Fan is a horror film without spoiling the entire third act, but let’s just say this haunting, deeply creepy slice of German new wave creepiness has been steadily building up a cult following on home video with very good reason for over three decades. Fans of Audition in particular should get a kick out of this one, which is still a riveting experience and bound to catch any unprepared viewer completely off guard.” Mondo Digital


“Eckhart Schmidt’s The Fan can easily be compared to Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession. It is a very interesting time capsule whose unusual story is actually a metaphor for Germany’s fascination with Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. Highly recommended.”

“Many viewers will be more preoccupied by Nosbusch’s prolonged nudity than they will by the criminal act she’s committing, and most of the time that the incident to which the entire movie builds was taking place, I was speculating about just how powerful German domestic electric carving knives really are…” 20/20 Movie Reviews



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