Whilst a certain percentage of stalkers might not really come under the banner of ‘horror’, there are certainly a few that are more than a bit scary. Documentary I Think We’re Alone Now (2008) showcases two huge fans of the 1980s pop-star Tiffany, fifty year old Jeff Turner and thirty-eight year old Kelly McCormick, as they reveal just how much they love the singer.
There are elements of the picture that certainly come across as rather scary but the overwhelming feeling that you are left with is one of sincere sadness. Jeff Turner has aspergers syndrome, has never had a girlfriend and has clearly struggled to make friends or maintain few existing relationships long enough to really last. Yet Turner is convinced that spiritually him and Tiffany have some sort of pseudo relationship and that she loves him (her Playboy shot was a ‘silent gesture of her love for him’ because she is married according to Jeff…). Turner was once arrested for trying to give Tiffany chrysanthemums and a samurai sword and was ordered to stay away from her on another occasion for three years. He also uses a radionics machine to spiritually communicate with the singer. As we walk around his house we see stacks of magazines and cuttings related to the redhead and Turner constantly refers to her as ‘his close friend’. The truth is he isn’t and its very easy to see why a seventeen year old Tiffany would have been scared shitless of him in the late 80s. Whilst it is very hard to completely empathise with a scenario that you really do not know anything about, it does seem that the media has sensationalized and labelled Turner as a stalker in somewhat of a derogatory way. Whilst he does seem very obsessive (and one can understand why you’d be a bit terrified if someone you didn’t know showed up out of nowhere to give you a sword whilst professing their love for you), he does come across as nothing more than a big softie – an honest fan that happens to know a lot. During the documentary itself we see the singer give him a lot of time, something the director Sean Donnelly feels Tiffany may have come to peace with the older she has become.
Stalker number two, Kelly McCormick, is a different kettle of fish altogether. Someone who identifies herself as intersex (although would seem to be a woman trapped in a man’s body as opposed to having some form of hermaphrodism) and has clearly faced many difficulties in her life. McCormick isn’t just a fan, she is in love with Tiffany and believes they are destined to be together. What makes her all the more of an interesting case is that she is mentally and emotionally unstable (she refers to it as a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she was involved in an accident which left her in a coma and felt she was visited by Tiffany herself which led to her waking up) and far more psychosexually and emotionally involved with her Tiffany obsession than Turner. McCormick appears more than unhinged on a few occasions and I feel that this is where some claims of exploitation of the director’s part arise from. Whilst one can understand why people might view it that way, I think Kelly’s behaviour, at times, speaks for itself and she probably doesn’t do herself any justice in her behaviour and beliefs. That said, one can’t help but feel like she shouldn’t be a part of a documentary with this sort of focus, rather seeking help or being helped in a more proactive way.
Creepy feelings aside, I Think We’re Alone Now is a great portrait of just how much some people can really touch our lives and make a difference in way’s that they might not expect. Whilst serious stalkers are dangerous, it’s not hard to admire the fact both McCormick and Turner have stayed such loyal fans for so long in an industry that is incredibly fickle at times. Without fans, where would many people in this world really be….?