Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Devlin's Domain - The Fan ( Der Fan )

A few months ago I reviewed a documentary called I Think We're Alone Now that was about deranged people with an unhealthy obsession with the 80s pop singer, Tiffany. They say reality is often stranger than fiction, but in this case the fiction is coming from Germany. Leave it to the Germans to take a tale of an obsessed fan to the absolute extreme. I assure you that this is a nightmare worth having.

There have been several cases of obsessed fans crossing the line over the years. For the most part, celebrities come out of it safe yet frightened. Taylor Swift, Sandra Bullock, and Justin Beiber have all had to deal with intruders entering their homes. They were lucky enough to come out of it unharmed, but others have not been so lucky. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, Rebecca Schaeffer, Dimebag Darrell, and Christina Grimmie are just a few that met their fate at the hands of one of their fans. The big downside to being rich and famous is all the unwanted, and potentially lethal, attention you're bound to encounter.

Now in that previous review I covered various forms of Celebrity Worship Syndrome that I won't bother going on about here. It was more relevant for the documentary due to it being about real people with a very real problem. This time the story all spills from the imagination of writer/director, Eckhart Schmidt. Schmidt wrote for a German music magazine earlier in his career, which inspired him to write such a story.

In this story, Schmidt not only portrays an extreme case of celebrity worship, but likens it to the relationship the Germans had with Hitler. There are a lot of subtle nods to the SS throughout the film. The musicians dress in militant attire and the SS symbol is snuck into certain places. He says the film is about how musicians confess their love through song and the fans fall in love with something that ultimately won't love them back. Of course, in this story, that realization doesn't settle well with our main character. She is....

The Fan ( Der Fan )

Desiree Nosbusch plays Simone, an alienated teenage girl that's going through teenage girl things. She lives with both parents, who seem pretty average, and tends to spend her free time alone in her room obsessing over her celebrity crush, R. R is a famous pop musician who plays some odd, German, new-wave music. Simone is always listening to his music and has images of him all over her room. It's nothing particularly odd for a girl that age, but it gets weirder.

Simone starts writing letters to R quite often and becomes violent when the postman never brings her return letters. It's a one way conversation and it's pretty obvious that R is basically discarding her mail. Her instability becomes more and more evident as the film moves on at it's glacial yet dreadful pace. Everything seems to be okay, but there's a sense that something horrible awaits ahead.

Simone's patience wears thin when she never receives a response from R and she decides to track him down in person. She knows where his next live event is and decides to run away from home to meet him there. She uses public transportation and hitchhiking to get to her destination. A pretty dangerous journey for a young girl, but she finally makes it. And once she's face to face with R she becomes star-struck. He notices her standing in awe and goes to sign an autograph for her, when she passes out.

Simone is surprised to wake up backstage with R staring at her. He's become slightly smitten with her and flattered that she fainted from his presence. He invites her to stay for the show as his special guests and they spend some time getting to know each other. Simone is overwhelmed with excitement when she finally gets to see them perform live and in person. Others around R aren't so excited about Simone's presence there though.

Against the other band member's wishes, R decides to take Simone home to his place for the night. They chat a little before R starts to progress their encounter into a sexual place. I was surprised to see the actress go full nude for this scene, considering she looked so young. Apparently the laws in Germany are a bit different in this area, as the actress was only 16 when this was filmed. Considering her age, she did a phenomenal job acting under the circumstances, as she spends the majority of the third act nude. Simone has a transcendent sexual encounter with R which takes a drastic mood change when he informs her that he is leaving. I highly recommend watching this movie before reading further, because I'm about to get into the grisly details.

Simone feels like she finally connected to another human being, but for R it's just another night with another girl. He says he's leaving on a tour and she can stay at the house if she wants. She gets completely overtaken with rage and hammers R in the back of the head with a trophy, which punctures his skull. At first I was expecting this to be a crime of passion that she would attempt to escape from, but she keeps going. She hacks him up into pieces and starts to consume his body a piece at a time. Here we see the full, chilling, extent of her obsession. She consumes the flesh, the meat, and the organs. She even grinds the bones to dust and consumes them too.

If she couldn't have him in life, she will now have him in death and he will be a part of her until she dies. After disposing of the corpse and cleaning the house down she's left with nothing to do but return home. She shaves her head before coming home so she looks even more like a maniac and before the credits roll, it's revealed that she's pregnant. It's frightening to imagine what may come of that baby. Not the most stable mother she could be and there's probably a looming threat of incest in the future.

The plot is thin in this movie, which isn't a negative thing at all. The story is told well and paced well in my opinion. On first viewing, I had no idea how far this movie was  going to go. You just get so comfortable in the story and it feels like more of a romance than horror, until it hits you like a pile of bricks. Bodo Steiger was great as the mysterious and eccentric pop singer, R. Desiree Nosbusch put in a phenomenal and tortured performance for a girl so young. Overall I really loved this film and highly recommend.

The current score for this film on IMDB is 6.5, which I would raise to about an 8.5. The film blew me away initially, and I hope it holds up to multiple viewings. Stay tuned for another edition of Devlin's Domain where I review another film certain to disturb.

About Me: I have a couple of different aliases, but for this column I will use my middle name. I am Devlin and I currently reside in Atlanta, GA. 33 years of age and still feeling immortal. Former Rockstar, current Pro Wrestler and hell, I'm still a Rockstar at heart. I got my first taste of obscure cinema when I was about 8 years old. My Dad would take us to the video store every weekend to stock up on classic horror films to watch on his projector. They were mostly harmless, PG-rated horror films like the great Universal monster movies. Then one night he rented a movie for himself to watch after we had gone to bed. I was so intrigued by this film that I wasn't allowed to see. I begged and begged and he eventually caved. That night I was exposed to a film unlike anything I had seen before. Ever since that night I wanted to find more films that gave me that same sensation. I wanted to feel shock and disgust. I found my place in the Horror aisle. The film I watched was Faces of Death. Thanks Dad.  

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