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Film / The Fanatic

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"Here's Moosey!"


The Fanatic is a 2019 horror movie directed by Fred Durst starring John Travolta and Devon Sawa as an autistic stalker and his idol, respectively.

Moose (Travolta) idolizes action star Hunter Dunbar. When his chance for an autograph from the man himself slips through his fingers, Moose pulls out all the stops to get what he feels entitled to. When Hunter snaps at Moose for hounding him in his private life, Moose's obsession spirals further out of control, to the point of violent retribution.

The Fanatic contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Moose accidentally kills Dunbar's housekeeper by knocking her head against a vase.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: During a heated moment, Moose and Leah come up with some creative ways to give each other the finger. Moose admits that Leah's was a good one.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: What exactly is the deal with Moose is never made clear in-universe, but Travolta said in an interview that he played him as being on the autism spectrum.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Although Hunter is arrested for the death of his house cleaner (who was actually killed by Moose accidentally), and Moose gets away with stalking hunter, sneaking into his home and terrorizing him, the ending does leave enough ambiguity as to whether Moose will actually get away with his actions or if he will get into serious legal trouble for his behavior (see Karma Houdini for more info).
  • Ambiguous Innocence:
    • Moose is a very innocent character. However, he is so innocent that some of the things he does aren't so innocent.
    • Leah is a paparazzo who has tabs on the home addresses of every celebrity in Hollywood. She breaks into lavish parties to get pictures of famous people without their knowledge and it's somewhat implied she used Moose as a distraction. She also makes a genuine effort to talk Moose out of invading Hunter's home.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Moose doesn't appear to have any meaningful relationships with anyone and his friendship with Leah is more of a working one than anything, but his fanaticism towards Hunter has him lean towards being gay, especially after he breaks into his house where he kisses him on the head while he's sleeping and later ties him up and lies next to him. Another special mention is when Moose finds a home video of Hunter with his ex-wife, Moose is noticeably hurt and jealous.
  • Anti-Villain: Moose isn't really evil or malicious, he's more stupid and oblivious than anything due to his Hollywood Autism. While he does kill somebody, it was an accident.
  • Asshole Victim: While most would consider Hunter to be the victim of Moose's torture by the end of the movie, the way he treated Moose throughout the film makes it difficult to root for him at the end. It's also implied Hunter sees himself as this, since he allows himself to be arrested, possibly because he genuinely felt a lot of guilt over mutilating Moose and mistreating him throughout the film.
  • The Atoner: At the end of the film, it's implied that Hunter willingly let himself get arrested for killing the housekeeper (despite the fact that he didn't do it) so that he could atone for mistreating and mutilating Moose.
  • Ax-Crazy: Not Moose, who despite his stalking tenancies does not have any desire to hurt or kill anyone, is more child-like and simple-minded. Hunter, on the other hand turns out to be this ironically enough, where near the end he decides to shoot off Moose's fingers with a gun, and then stabs him in the eye with a knife, and the worst part is that Moose was completely defenseless in that scene, and Hunter maimed him to satisfy his own blood-lust rather than out of self-defense. Thankfully Hunter shows remorse for what he does to Moose, but still.
  • Berserk Button: Moose does not like being called a "stalker". This is what leads to him hating Hunter when he is called that by him.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: For how off Moose is, there is a very dark side to him as shown when he throttles a guy who would not stop bullying him and wishes for Freddy Kreuger to do bad things to him. And then there is him tying up and tormenting Hunter.
  • Broken Pedestal: Moose loses all respect for Hunter and turns against him after Hunter freaks out at Moose and threatens to shove a shotgun up his backside. Even though that was because Moose came to Hunter's property a second time despite being told by Hunter never to come again. This results in Moose burning up his Hunter Dunbar collection and later sneaking into Hunter's house a second time where he ties up Hunter in his sleep and terrorizes him as revenge for being nasty to Moose.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: There's a montage of Moose trying on costumes and doing accents.
  • Bullying a Dragon: While Hunter is understandably angered with Moose for coming to his private property twice, Hunter makes a bad decision by verbally abusing and being aggressive towards Moose, which results in Moose later sneaking into Hunter's home, tying Hunter up in his bed and terrorizing him. All of that could have been avoided if Hunter didn't act like an asshole to Moose.
  • Casting Gag: Devon Sawa playing a star who is stalked by an unstable fan is an inversion of the part he played in the Eminem video "Stan".
  • Character Shilling: Moose states that Hunter Dunbar is one of the greatest actors of all time. The only movie we see Hunter acting in looks like the sort of thing that would only get released on DVD.
  • Chewing the Scenery: John Travolta does this a couple of times as Moose, the best example being the scene where Moose strangles a bully and literally spits out threats at him.
  • Conflict Ball: If Hunter had just given Moose his autograph when he was standing in the alley behind the book signing that he had agreed to turn up to instead of threatening to beat him up, this film would have been over in fifteen minutes. And as noted elsewhere, Hunter really does seem to be a dick only to Moose and no one else, which makes his casual disregard for someone who was initially asking for something very little all the more noticeable.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster above shows Moose holding a bloody knife, suggesting that he's a psychotic murderer. In the actual film however, Moose is neither mentally-ill or murderous, if anything, he is more mentally challenged and simple-minded, and he never seeks to kill anybody. He does kill Hunter's housekeeper, but even then that's by accident, and while he actually does use a knife pictured in the poster, he only uses it to pretend to stab Hunter as a way of scaring him.
  • Death by Falling Over: The fate of the housekeeper.
  • Downer Ending: Hunter is falsely arrested for killing his own housekeeper and for attacking Moose (although it's implied that he lets himself get arrested out of guilt for hurting Moose) while Moose gets away everything he did to Hunter despite losing an eye and all of his fingers on his right hand.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Moose's coworker, Todd, who is a scumbag con-artist and a Jerkass, asks Moose to help him out with ripping tourists off, only for Moose to refuse, being disgusted by the idea of it.
  • Eye Scream: Moose gets stabbed in the eye by Hunter at the end of the movie.
  • Failed a Spot Check: After Moose accidentally kills the housekeeper, her body stays out in the middle of Hunter's backyard for days. It isn't until the end of the movie where the gardener finds the body and calls the cops for help.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Leah is not actually present in many scenes, but she's the narrator anyway.
  • Fingore: Moose gets all the fingers on his right hand shot off by Hunter at the end.
  • Gag Haircut: Moose's haircut is a bizarre mixture of a bowlcut and a mullet, which just makes him look ridiculous.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!!: Moose never swears. The farthest he goes is saying "freaking".
  • Harmless Villain: While he does kill hunter's housemaid (by accident) and ties up Hunter to terrorize him, Moose isn't really malicious or sadistic.
  • Hero Antagonist: Hunter was probably intended to be this, however the "Hero" part is questionable because of his cruel treatment of Moose.
  • Hollywood Autism: Moose's autism is portrayed extremely unrealistically, with his lack of social skills being turned up to eleven to the point where the portrayal crosses from hilarious into outright offensive.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Moose, of course. Pretty much any disappointment or shock can drive him to tears and wailing.
  • Insistent Terminology: Moose denies that he's a "stalker" of Hunter and prefers to be called a "fan". He never points out the difference between the two.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Leah is young enough to be Moose's daughter yet is genial enough with him to share secret information about Hunter with him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Hunter Dunbar isn't particularly nice towards Moose. Though when Moose finds out where Hunter lives and even goes to his house, it's easy to understand why Hunter becomes more angry and aggressive to him. And Hunter is completely justified in telling Moose that going to actors' private residences is wrong.
  • Jerkass to One: The only person Hunter is genuinely nasty to is Moose, and even then, it's because Moose is stalking him. Towards everyone else, however, Hunter is shown to be quite friendly.
  • Karma Houdini: Moose completely gets away with accidentally killing the housekeeper, breaking into Hunter's house, tying Hunter to his bed and pretending to stab him with a knife. The only thing he loses is his right eye and the fingers on his right hand while Hunter gets arrested for killing the housekeeper despite being innocent.
    • That being said, Moose did post photos of himself next to Hunter while he was sleeping after sneaking into his house on social media for everyone to see, and Hunter is likely to tell the authorities what Moose did, though considering Hunter allowed himself to be arrested to atone for mutilating Moose, it's unclear if he will actually tell them or not, so Moose's fate is actually ambiguous, since he is very likely to get into big trouble.
  • Leave the Camera Running: There are lots of extended takes of Moose doing wacky things such as playing around in Hunter's house or awkwardly preparing for a meet with him.
  • Loony Fan: Moose.
  • Manchild: Moose. Although some would argue that he's a Psychopathic Manchild, namely due to the questionable things he does, what prevents Moose from being psychopathic, however, is that he is neither intentionally malicious or even murderous, and his stalking towards Hunter is more due to the fact that Moose is incredibly innocent, child-like and oblivious.
  • Mood Whiplash: There is a rather comical scene in the movie after Moose breaks into Hunter's house, to which he childishly play with a pair of deer antlers, haphazardly plays the piano, and rummages through Hunter's fridge. A funny scene that was directly after a scene where Moose murders the housekeeper by accident.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Hunter shoots off Moose's fingers then stabs him in the eye, Hunter is visibly horrified and shocked by what he's done, realizing he's gone too far. He is even kind enough to wrap Moose's hand in a bandage.
  • Noodle Incident: After killing Dunbar's housekeeper and seeing the blood from her nose, Moose randomly mentions having a nosebleed and how it "wasn't fun".
  • No Social Skills: Moose! Not only does he have absolutely no understanding that he's doing anything wrong, but he generally just doesn't understand much about how human interaction is supposed to work.
    • This proves to be a Fatal Flaw in the climax, as Hunter manages to talk Moose into letting him go by suddenly acting unnaturally friendly. Once he's free, Hunter puts Moose through all sorts of Hell.
  • Obliviously Evil: Moose doesn't seem to understand that the things he does (stalking, invading people's houses) is wrong.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stalker Without A Crush: Moose towards Hunter Dunbar. And the "without" part is questionable considering the things he does to him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Moose, dear god Moose... he has almost zero common sense and is just incapable of understanding the consequences of what he does. He not only think it's okay to intrude in someone's private home, but also take photos of himself within said person's home and broadcast those photos online for everyone to see on social media. Though this is deconstructed, in that he miraculously gets away with it all by luck, though he does lose an eye and fingers.
  • Verbal Tic: As expected from Moose if he's actually on the autism spectrum. One scene has him repeat the word "poppycock" to himself while he's dressing up as a British bobby.
  • Villainous BSoD: Hunter goes through this after mutilating Moose by shooting off his fingers and stabbing him in the eye. Not only is he remorseful for what he did to Moose, but after letting Moose go, Hunter sits by himself feeling traumatized by his sadistic actions towards Moose.
  • Villain Protagonist: Moose is an interesting example. He doesn't actually intend on hurting or killing anyone, and he isn't even evil, as much as he is mentally challenged. However, he still counts as this because of his stalking tenancies to Hunter.