Blu-ray Review: The Fan (1981)

November 22, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Douglas (Michael fuckin’ Biehn baby), a record salesman by trade, has a side gig absolutely obsessing over actress Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall). Nothing wrong with a lil’ celebrity crush right? Well, not in this case because ol’ Doug is crazy as a shithouse rat, and when his letters begin to be rebuked by Sally’s secretary Belle (Maureen Stapleton) he gets even more crazed… like slashin’ and/or putting the murder biz on those closest to her while she rehearses one of the cheesiest musicals ever created. Soon, our heroine spends every waking moment fearing for her life as the body count around her continues to rise… will she be able to survive her ordeal and bring horrendous theater to the masses?

Let’s kick out the jams with some positivity for The Fan. Adapted by Priscilla Chapman and John Hartwell from the novel by the same name from author Bob Randall, this film delivers some solid suspense and sprinkles some truly “what in the fuck?” moments throughout (especially in regards to the ever deepening psychosis of our antagonist Douglas).

Speaking of Douglas, Biehn portrays a world-class psycho with complete conviction, and it’s cool to see the normally heroic actor take a turn to the dark side. In other acting goings-on, Bacall plays her role with genuine diva grandeur, and her chemistry with co-stars Stapleton, James Garner (as her ex-husband), and Hector Elizondo (as the Police Inspector assigned to her case) is undeniable.

Now as fantastic as all of that is, the real treat here is that musical I mentioned up yonder. During the course of the film we are treated to not only the rehearsals for the event, but we get to see the beast itself in all of it’s over-the-top, off-key, fondue enrobed glory. It’s spectacular in it’s absolute hilarity.

Speaking of things that are hilarious, this Scream Factory Blu-ray release contains an audio commentary moderated by Shout! Factory’s Jeff Nelson and featuring filmmaker David DeCoteau and film historian David Del Valle that is as hysterical as it is informative, and examines The Fan as high gay camp. I shit you not, this track is worth the price of admission alone cats n’ creeps!

Other special features include interviews with Biehn, director Edward Bianchi, and editor Alan Helm, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer, TV spots, and a still gallery.

Full of camp and slasher flick cliches, The Fan is a rather amazing watch… it’s cheesy as balls, but it features some fun performances and enough suspense and nonsense to make it infinitely watchable!



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