Exploitation cinema was happy to claim The Fan—recently re-released on blu-ray by Mondo Macabro—as one of its own. Early VHS covers feature the young protagonist lapping blood off of an electric carving knife. Its reputation as splatter schlock persisted with a legal dispute between the director and Desiree Nosbusch, who wanted two racy scenes removed. The image of the frenzied fangirl—mouth wide in a shriek, clawed fingers grabbing—lends itself well to a cannibalistic conclusion.
But instead, director Eckhart Schmidt went with a stark cold that doesn’t fit well in the world of hot ‘n trashy guts. Simone is cool in her passion. Her paramour’s music is almost comically cold, emotionless, droning. The opposite of an entertainer you’d expect to stir up the fever dreams of a young girl.
The focus is on the obsession, on the obsesser, and shows her power. She is more a creator and artist than the heartthrob whose hollow music has triggered inordinate, lush, thriving life in her.
Here’s something both aspirational and condemned: the pleasure of being obsessed with something, the freedom to do so when you’re young, hormonal and unbound by responsibilities.
It’s tempting to find Simone’s fixation on such a vapid figure funny. But her unwavering determination eventually alters the mood of the film, a distortion of time and space. She is dead serious. She is frighteningly resolved, single-focused. She is monkish in her devotion.
She transcends in altered states, wakes sweating from visions, out-of-body experiences, the ecstasies of Theresa. Hers is a religious and divine experience. Eating him is a ritual, not a smacking, splashing bloodbath but a solemn rite Simone undergoes with purity and grace.
The cool, glassy blues of her divine dinner lead to her rebirth, with a monk-like shaven head. It seals the visceral climax as hers, her genesis story.
The tastes of teenage girls are the most ridiculed, signify the worst of our media. There is nothing holding the fangirl back in this film, though. In The Fan, the fangirl is God.