Arguably no country did more to shape the face of early horror movies than Germany. The country has been a vital contributor to the history of cinema right from the beginning, hitting the ground running when the first cinema for a paying audience in the world was opened in 1895 in Berlin.
It wasn't until the 1920s, though, that German horror - and German Expressionism - hit its creative stride. During this time, a stable of German actors, writers and directors pushed Expressionism to international acclaim. And while the country's primary contributions to the genre lie in its early years, the story of German horror movies extends all the way up to the present day.
With that being said, this list today will be shining a light on some of Germany's greatest offerings to the horror genre - well-known horror films both old and new, underground Eurosleaze and many other underrated and undiscovered gems. Horror flicks for adventurous viewers who aren't afraid of subtitles (or dubbed voice acting).
These films and their stories range from an obsessed fangirl who's far worse (and more violent) than the weirdo in Eminem's Stan video to a kinky couple who like to get frisky with rotting cadavers - and they're all very much worth your time.
Minor and gruesome spoilers ahead.
20. Mark Of The Devil (1970)
In 18th century Austria, a crap-kicking witch-hunter (Reggie Nalder) rules his local jurisdiction with a hateful, iron fist. Anyone he deems a witch is tried as one and then executed, and any local girl that catches his eye is likely to be imprisoned, tortured, and raped beforehand.
And most horrifying of all is that this guy isn’t even the grand inquisitor; that would be Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom), a witch-hunter with the approval of the crown who’s coming to take over. Cumberland proves to be every bit as ruthless as his predecessor, and his behavior is so alarming that his apprentice (Udo Kier), a local gentleman, eventually rebels against his master after falling in love with a girl who is wrongly sentenced to the stake.
A notorious film from the golden era of post-Witchfinder General movies that relished in showing medieval practices for what they really were, Mark Of The Devil was notable for being the first movie that was “Rated V for Violence” – or so the advertising campaign claimed.
Decades later and the film still lives up to its reputation, as it depicts everything from a women's tongue being ripped out of her head, nuns being raped, and seemingly endless beatings. It’s quite brutal.