From the undead to sex with the dead in 5 movies

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From the undead to sex with the dead in 5 movies
Nosferatu. Photo: DPA

It should come as no surprise that a country where children are brought up on tales of death and torture makes great horror movies. For Halloween, The Local takes you through a creepy history of German gore.


Nosferatu (1922)

Full name "Nosferatu: a Symphony of Horror", this film almost never saw the light of day - much like its vampire lead character.

Dracula author Bram Stoker's heirs sued due to the likeness to his book and a court ordered that all copies be destroyed.

But a few survived – and just as well,as F. W. Murnau's now legendary film is one of the most influential horror movies of all time and a rich vein of inspiration for Count-less bloodsucking flicks ever since.

And its power to bewitch and bewilder was proven again this year when Murnau's head mysteriously disappeared from his grave near Berlin.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

Speaking of Nosferatu copies, this one didn't even bother to change the name. But we'll forgive it since it's directed by the great Werner Herzog and stars the scariest actor of all time, Klaus Kinski.

If Kinski were cast in a Jane Austen novella he'd still manage to give you nightmares, and he certainly doesn't disappoint in this towering performance as Count Dracula paying a visit to the quiet German town of Wismar.

Nobody can create an unsettling atmosphere quite like Herzog. This film is a must see.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Delving back into the Weimar Republic to find another silent masterpiece, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has been described as the father of all horror movies.

In its highly stylised sets this film was a forerunner to everything from Psycho to Sin City, and despite its lack of dialogue had a sophisticated artistic point behind it - the hypnotist who controls a sleepwalker to commit murders was an allegory for the relationship between the German government and its people in the First World War.

Urban Explorer (2011)

If you fancy something a little less high brow, why not try Urban Explorer, the story of four young tourists who decide to go on a very alternative tour of Berlin – by breaking into a network of Nazi bunkers. The group get lost and fall into the hands of a psychopathic ex-GDR soldier.

And if seeing 21st Century Berlin as the backdrop for well worn horror clichés is your thing, recent releases also include zombie flick Rammbock (2010) and vampire thriller Wir Sind Die Nacht (2010) (which actually contains a respectable cast.)

Nekromantik (1987)

For German cinema that managed to combine subversiveness and a complete lack of taste, look no further than Jörg Buttergeit's Nekromantic.

It's the story of a street cleaner who brings a corpse he finds while working back to his wife for them to perform their darkest sexual fantasies on. Unfortunately for the street cleaner, the menage a trois quickly turns rotten.

Or if you fancy something totally different from the same director, check out Schramm (1993) - the story of a lonely taxi driver who performs weird sexual acts on the corpses of his customers. Okay, we think you get what he's all about.

So, fetch your spookiest snacks and your favourite pillow to cower behind - this weekend, it's time to feast on the celluloid morsels of a country with a truly dark psychology.



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