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The German Chainsaw Massacre

GER 1990, 60 min

After the German reunification-syrup, here comes the film to wake you up! Loud and aggressive! Christoph Schlingensief’s unscrupulous response to German reunification!


On 29th November 1990 THE GERMAN CHAINSAW MASSACRE hit the German cinema screens. Christoph Schlingensief had shot his radical comment to German reunification within two weeks, shortly after 3rd October 1990. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of German history, in which a 6-headed West German family from the Ruhrpott (played by Alfred Edel, Volker Spengler, Udo Kier, Susanne Bredehöft, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt and Brigitte Kausch) butchered GDR emigrants one after the other.

Schlingensief’s breakthrough film propelled him into public consciousness as one of Germany’s most unconventional, daring and refreshing filmmakers. Shot in gloriously grainy 16mm in a stunning industrial area in Mülheim an der Ruhr, it mixes trash horror aesthetics production design by Uli Hanisch (THE INTERNATIONAL, THE PERFUME THE STORY OF A MURDERER a.o.) with Schlingensief’s experimental roots. A gory, shrieking and abrasively satirical horror movie full of political humor, exposing the free market as the meat market that it is, THE GERMAN CHAINSAW MASSACRE rightfully deserves its status as an enduring cult film.

THE GERMAN CHAINSAW MASSACRE is the second part of Schlingensief’s GERMAN TRILOGIE, which also includes 100 YEARS OF ADOLF HITLER (1989) and TERROR 2000 (1992).


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Language: German, Subtitles: English, French, Polish, Spanish

Awards and Festivals

- Internationale Hofer Filmtage 1990


Director and Screenplay
Christoph Schlingensief
Karina Fallenstein, Susanne Bredehöft, Artur Albrecht, Volker Spengler, Alfred Edel, Brigitte Kausch-Kuhlbrodt, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Reinald Schnell, Udo Kier, Irm Hermann, Eva-Maria Kurz, Ingrid Raguschke, Mike Wiedemann, Renate Koehler, Volker Bertzky, Irmgard Freifrau Baronin von Berswordt-Wallrabe, Dieter Lersch, Biber G. Jakob, Christoph Schneiderbanger
Director of Photography
Christoph Schlingensief, Voxi Bärenklau
Camera Assistant
Ralf Malwitz, Günther Hablik
Ariane Traub
Assistant Editor
Christoph Schlingensief (Thekla von Mühlheim)
Jacques Arr
Production Design, Title, Poster
Uli Hanisch
Sven Dülfer
Costume Design
Ariane Traub
Make-up Artist
Melanie Schumacher
Sound, Still Photos
Eckhard Kuchenbecker
Special Effects
Thomas Göttemann
Light Design
Voxi Bärenklau
Francisco Larrin, Hans von Sonntag
Stephan Konken
Artur Albrecht
Philipp Homberg
Assistant Director
Udo Kier
Production Coordinator
Rüdiger Jordan, Melanie Schumacher, Dirk Piepenbring
Production Manager
Christian Fürst
Christoph Schlingensief
Produced by
DEM Film
In Co-production with
Rhewes Filmproduktion
Funded by
means of cultural film funding in NRW and Hamburg
German Premiere
26.10.1990, Hof, Internationale Filmtage
German theatrical release


Restored film, 2K scan, original theatrical versionExtras„Ich rieche Menschenfleisch“ (, 1993, 24 min – English subtitles), Historic location video (1989, 5 min), Interview with Christoph Schlingensief (2002, 15 min), Interview with Production Designer Uli Hanisch (2010, 19 min), Schlingensief - film trailerLanguageGermanSubtitlesEnglish, French, Polish, SpanishCountry CodeCode-freeSystemPAL / ColorLength60 min (25 fps) + 63 min ExtrasAspect ratio16:9Sound formatDD 2.0Set-ContentDigipack (Set Content: 1), Poster-Booklet with film poster (A3), original documents, and photosRelease date23.10.2020RatingFrom 16 years

Distribution Details

Screening Format
DCP (2K, 24 fps, 5.1)
Blu-ray Disc
35mm (Mono, contact Deutsche Kinemathek)
Aspect Ratio
Normal-16mm, 1:1,38 (35mm Blow up)
English, French (DCP, BD)
Promotion Material
A3 poster (A1 rent only)
License Area
From 16 years