5.8/10
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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.

Director:

Ed Bianchi (as Edward Bianchi)

Writers:

Bob Randall (novel), Priscilla Chapman | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lauren Bacall ... Sally Ross
James Garner ... Jake Berman
Maureen Stapleton ... Belle Goldman
Hector Elizondo ... Police Inspector Raphael Andrews
Michael Biehn ... Douglas Breen
Anna Maria Horsford ... Emily Stolz
Kurt Johnson ... David Branum
Feiga Martinez Feiga Martinez ... Elsa
Reed Jones Reed Jones ... Choreographer
Kaiulani Lee ... Douglas' Sister
Charles Blackwell Charles Blackwell ... John Vetta
Dwight Schultz ... Director
Dana Delany ... Saleswoman in Record Store
Terence Marinan Terence Marinan ... Young Man in Bar
Lesley Rogers Lesley Rogers ... Heidi
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The final act is murder. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trance See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Fan's first letter to Sally Ross reads: "Dear Miss Ross,

I am your greatest fan because unlike the others, I want nothing from you. The only thing that matters to me is your happiness. I have posters, playbills, and a closet jam packed with photographs covering every stage of your magnificent career. Your presence alone makes every one of your films a true cinema classic.

I don't care what time they show on television. I will gladly stay awake until any hour in the morning. I bought a gorgeous new Lucite frame for one of your most famous pictures...the one of you singing while President Truman plays the piano. I despise those desperate, pathetic people who intrude upon your privacy.

Your happiness and piece of mind must be protected. I know of all the famous men in your life, but I adore you as no other ever has or ever will. Thank you for the inspiration you have given me. You are the greatest star of all.

Your friend, Douglas Breen

P.S. Could you send me your most recent photograph as soon as possible?" See more »

Quotes

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!
See more »

Alternate Versions

At the 57:17 mark, the spoken line in all theatrical prints and previous video versions is "Dearest Bitch, See how accessible you are? How would you liked to be fucked with a meat cleaver?" The 2002 DVD release from Paramount Home Entertainment replaces that line with "Dearest Bitch, I've exhausted myself on thinking of ways to kill you." No reasons were given for this alteration. The rest of the film, including the gore, is intact. The VHS version features the original line. See more »

Connections

Featured in Sneak Previews: The Dogs of 1981 (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

IT'S TOO FUNKY IN HERE
Written by George Jackson, Walter Shaw, Brad Shapiro and Robert Miller
Performed by James Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good cast wasted on tepid thriller...
25 December 2006 | by DoylenfSee 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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