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The Fan (1981)

Douglas, a record salesman, is an obsessive fan of actress Sally Ross. When his letters are rejected, he strikes out at her and her loved ones.


(as Edward Bianchi)


(novel), | 1 more credit »

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emily Stolz
David Branum
Feiga Martinez ...
Reed Jones ...
Douglas' Sister
Charles Blackwell ...
John Vetta
Saleswoman in Record Store
Terence Marinan ...
Young Man in Bar
Lesley Rogers ...


Douglas is a lonesome record salesman and a true fan of the actress Sally Ross. Every day he writes her gleaming letters of love. But the only response he gets are formal letters. So his love turns into hatred. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The final act is murder. See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 May 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trance  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The 30th May 1979 edition of show-business trade paper 'Variety' reported that the screenwriter on this film was Norman Wexler, who had scripted producer Robert Stigwood's disco smash movie Saturday Night Fever (1977), and the director was Waris Hussein. Neither Wexler nor Hussein are billed in their respective capacities on this picture. Moreover, the 8th February 1980 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety' reported 'Diana Hammond' was the screenwriter on this picture and again does not appear in the credits for the film. In the end, the movie was directed by Ed Bianchi after Hussein had left the film, with screenwriter credits going to John Hartwell and Priscilla Chapman. See more »


Jake: Oh come on, babe, what's the matter?
Sally Ross: What's the matter? I've got a show to do in five days, the lighting man appears to be learning on the set, my secretary has been attacked, David is dead, and oh yes, there is some fruit cake out there who wants to kill me. Now to satisfy you more, will you please get the hell out of here!
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Referenced in Remington Steele: Cast in Steele (1984) See more »


Written by Rufus Thomas and Jerry Dammers
Performed by The Specials
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User Reviews

Good cast wasted on tepid thriller...
25 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

THE FAN is based on a book of the same name and had the producers left the story intact without changing so many things (including the ending), they might have had a more profitable thriller on their hands.

Horror fans in 1981 were expecting much more gore from their slasher flicks than THE FAN was willing to exploit, being that the story is about an obsessed fan with only one thing on his mind when he is rejected. His vengeance is a blood-thirsty one, but the script is too slow and talky for its own good, pretending to have psychological overtones when it really just wants to get the nasty business over with.

LAUREN BACALL plays a variation of herself as an aging drama queen, a Broadway actress with modest musical talent, who is burdened with a stream of fan letters from an unbalanced admirer. MAUREEN STAPLETON is the secretary who has to bear the brunt of Bacall's rudeness and JAMES GARNER is her amiable ex-husband who has little to do when most of the film's focus is on the fan, played by MICHAEL BIEHN.

Summing up: Best described by Leonard Maltin as "an exploitation cheapie in dress clothes", it's not as good as the cast would suggest.

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