Around 90 to 100 years ago, Germany was the biggest horror producer. They created such classics as Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari and many more. Then World War 2 happened, and since then there were barely any famous German horror movies. Germany is still producing some scarier movies, like Krampus, Antichrist and most movies by Lars von Trier. Every now and then they still churn out Horror Movies though, and I’m going to show you five of those.
Bela Kiss: Prologue (2013)
To ease you into German films, let’s start off with a German movie almost completely in English. It’s called Bela Kiss: Prologue, and is about the real life serial killer Bela Kiss, who drained the blood of his victims and stored them in barrels filled with alcohol. In this movie a group of teenagers encounter this killer after they robbed a bank.
For horror fans, this is a fun movie, with blockbuster-like looks to it. That’s astounding since this is actually a low-budget movie, starting out as the final project of film students. Only the students themselves and one backer financed this whole movie. And it’s all in English, so you won’t even need subtitles. The acting is not the best and some of the dialogue is a bit clunky, but you can forgive all that for a fun story and because this movie was made with heart.
The Last Employee (Der letzte Angestellte) (2010)
David, played by Christian Berkel, liquidates a firm and has to fire the employees. One of these employees does not take her firing well and is soon found dead; she killed herself. Now David is haunted by his guilt, and maybe by her evil spirit.
The Last Employee sounds like such a German horror movie: a lawyer as the main character, work is life, it’s all about bureaucracy. But it works. The whole movie gives off a really creepy vibe. That’s the only way to describe it. It all sounds so realistic, but nothing feels real. That’s partly because of the surrounding creepiness, the fired employee is just crazy, David’s son collects snails. Adding to that is Christian Berkels great performance. This is surely a movie to check out, and it’s probably the first bureaucracy horror movie.
The Presence (Die Präsenz) (2014)
A Found footage film from Germany. A young couple and the boyfriends best friend take a trip to a haunted castle, to see if it really is haunted.
Another passion project by a young director, funded mostly by himself. The Presence takes Paranormal Activity and puts it where it belongs. Ghosts don’t belong in suburban homes, but in castles. Other than that, it feels just like a Paranormal Activity movie, just in German. And it manages to be quite scary.
German Angst (2015)
In this anthology film we get three stories set in Berlin. The first story, The Final Girl, is about a girl experimenting on her “guinea pig”. In the second story, Make a Wish, a deaf and mute couple has to deal with a group of Nazis trying to give them a hard time. The final story, Die Alraune, is about a photographer joining a secret sex-club that changes his life forever.
German Angst is most famous for the director of the first short story, Jörg Buttgereit, the director of Nekromantik. While the other movies on this list were good because they were scary, German Angst is mostly gory and brutal. The stories all fit into the horror genre and the last story is pretty scary. But the directors of this movie also added great gore-effects that put the cherry on top of the blood soaked ice cream.
Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh, ich seh) (2014)
Two boys live with their single mother, who just came back from a nose operation. Soon they start to wonder if she is really their mother.
Even though it’s technically not a German movie (it was made in Austria), it is in German and still close enough to fit this list. It’s arguably the scariest movie on this list, as well made as all of the above, but just a notch better. The movie keeps you thinking. I cannot recommend this enough, and I’m sure you’ll forget about the subtitles once the story begins!.
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