Der Fan / The Fan (West German New Wave Horror Thriller)


You ever go to a concert and see that lost soul in the corner with the faraway thousand-yard stare? Yeah, I think you have…this movie is about one of those. Long unseen for many years aside from those of us unlucky enough to discover it in the Adult section of the video store (where it snuck out under the name Trance) and scholars such as Chas Balun and Kier-La Janisse, Eckhardt Schmidt’s Der Fan is a New Wave exercise in plastic pathology that will feed you your own guts. Simone (Desiree Nosilbuch) is a shy, socially awkward and strangely beautiful young girl with one thing on her mind: Enigmatic Bowie/Gary Numan-style New Wave musician R (Bodo Staiger of the German pop group Rheingold, who also provide the glacial and chilling soundtrack) and getting him to acknowledge her existence. Simone writes him letters daily, covers her walls with his visage and practically stalks the mailman in her need for R’s acknowledgement. Infatuation has become obsession, and it’s absolutely painful to watch. Take heed and be forewarned, because by the time Simone lights out to Berlin in pursuit of R… it’s only gonna get worse from there.


Der Fan is an unsung masterpiece of proportions you couldn’t even imagine. This movie takes the concept of erotomania and pushes it to it’s theological and physical extreme. I’ve been careful to not reveal too much about the plot because the last forty minutes are so wild, unpredictable, and genuinely shocking that going in blind is the best way. Schmidt proves himself a director of massive talent and a certain idiosyncrasy that makes me wish he’d done more movies that reached these shores. As far as the acting goes, most of it is serviceable save for Nosilbuch’s dedicated and fearless performance as Simone. It’s a shame she distanced herself from the film when she became a popular TV star in Germany. Mondo Macabro brings Der Fan in a package that’s satisfying despite the lack of extra features. The A/V quality is perfect, preserving the film’s mix between the New Wave stylings of the Cinema Du Look favored by French directors of the time such as Luc Besson and the late Jean-Jacques Beneix with the gritty realism of Fassbinder, Wenders and Herzog. There are two audio options (the original German and a English dub best left untouched) and very clear and precise subtitles. The only real extra of note is an extensive interview with Eckhardt Schmidt about the making of the film and the many woes encountered in its post-production (including a regrettable attempt by Nosilbuch to prevent the film’s release) along with some standard Teutonic weirdness. In closing, you’re damn straight this is essential viewing. If you’ve never seen this before and have a taste for the wild side of World Cinema, get off your ass and get this thing as soon as you’re done reading this review. Just try to treat your postman with a little respect, okay?


Mondo Macabro Official Blu-ray Purchase

Written by David, Comptroller of Your Last Scrap of Existence

Der Fan (2022, Blu-ray)
Eckhart Schmidt
4.5 / 5