Film Review: Der Fan/Trance (1982)

This film is what I’d describe as a proto-Neon Demon. A somewhat slow paced horror film with a profound sense of tension and dread created by the foreboding electronic score by Rhinegold.

The film follows Simone (Désirée Nosbusch), who is manically obsessed with pop singer “R” (Bodo Steiger – who is also Rhinegold). She obsessively writes him letters which she never gets a response to, and goes to see him when he performs on the West German equivalent of the BBC’s “Top of the Pops”.

He is somewhat struck by her, takes her to a remote apartment (not telling his staff where they’re going), and they have sex. And then, with the transition to the third act, he goes to leave, feeling that this was a one-night-stand, and as she refuses to be dumped, she kills him, eats him, grinds up his bones to powder and distributes them throughout the area, with an epilogue that she’s pregnant with his baby, and that she views that baby as his reincarnation.

So, I have to admit that I wasn’t born when this film came out, so I can’t speak for the cultural esthetic for this portion of the 1980s. That said Nosbusch feels like the archetypal infatuated teen girl cranked up to stalker-with-a-crush – writing letters to the celeb she loves, asking for him to send her “subtle” signals in a way that only they will know, assuming that she’s the only one writing, or that her love is the only one that’s true.

Consequently, as things go less and less her way, she becomes more and more unhinged, and either through an excellent acting decision or great direction, this frustration is played less as explosive outbursts, and more like it’s being internalized – Simone becomes more withdrawn. This ratchets up the tension as we, as the audience, can see that Simone is clearly become not a ticking time bomb, but a bottle of nitroglycerine or a bunch of old sticks of dynamite – waiting to go off at the slightest bump.

That said, the film has it’s moments that feel really… off. The most notable one is the sex scene between R and Simone. The scene feels like a non-starter, less like they actually have sex, and more that the twist was going to be that R was impotent or that Simone didn’t push his buttons in some manner and that was going to lead to his demise. However, there are other bits outside of that – Simone and her family have a level of chemistry that is comparable to The Room. They don’t have any of the kind of relationship that you’d expect from parents and their children. While I understand the film’s primary perspective is Simone’s, it would have been nice to have someone actually reacting to her escalating behavior. The closest we get is the mailman.

The film is alright, and people who enjoyed the way The Neon Demon worked might enjoy this film. However, it’s very artsy for an exploitation film, and that may throw you off.

The film is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack from