Last year, Mondo Macabro made an impressive maiden voyage into the land of high definition with a blu-ray/DVD combo set of the Italian film The Slave. It turns out their followup is even better: their blu-ray/DVD set of The Fan takes a film long desired by cult movie fans in the U.S. and gives it a handsome treatment with extras that will help new viewers place it in the proper context.
Things start off nicely with a good-looking anamorphic transfer, presented in high definition on the blu-ray. The transfer hits the right blend of glossy details and vivid colors. In a first for a U.S. release, the German mono track is provided in addition to the mono English dub track (both presented in lossless form on the blu-ray). Both tracks sound crisp and free of distortion but Schlockmania recommends the German track for the most authentic experience – English subtitles are included with it.
A small but worthwhile complement of extras are included. The most notable is a twenty minute interview with writer/director Eckhart Schmidt. He reveals himself to be a fascinating and opinionated character as he discusses several aspects of the film. Topics he covers include his love of film as an art form that combines all other art forms, how he identifies with the female viewpoint in all stories he tells and a refreshing stance on film critics.
More interestingly, Schmidt gets into the themes the film is designed to explore, which surprisingly include a meditation on National Socialism as well as the perils of the fan/star relationship, and how Nosbusch’s desire to have the film re-edited led to a court battle and ultimately a reconciliation. This segment not only offers insight into the film but is likely to enhance a fan’s appreciation for it.
There are also a trio of text supplements that offer additional insight into the film via some well-written essays. “About The Film” offers a concise, three-page account of how The Fan came to be and its history. A set of bios for Schmidt, Nosbusch and Staiger are even more interesting: you’ll discover how Schmidt actually came from a background of light comedy and some details on Staiger’s music career, including a brief interview. However it’s Nosbusch’s bio that makes the most gripping read, revealing she was a massive celebrity in Germany from her teen years and once had to escape the amorous attentions of a lusty Klaus Kinski!
The last essay, entitled “Rheingold and The German New Wave,” clues non-German viewers into the brief but noteworthy life of homegrown new wave music in Germany, including the important role that Rheingold played in it. Mondo Macabro is one of the few labels that still bothers with text supplements on their discs and they are always worth reading so fans should definitely check these out.
The final bonus inclusion is the “More From Mondo Macabro” clip reel: as always, it is an eye-popping experience filled with shocks, sex and full-throttle weirdness. One can only hope more of the old titles depicted in get revisited by the label for a HD makeover.
In short, this set is a must for any cult movie fan who can appreciate a quality crossover between horror and the arthouse. This set of The Fan is a handsomely mounted and educational experience for anyone who fits into that audience.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Fan, click here.