überlin

Berlin Crawling: 10 Halloween Horror Films

by James Glazebrook

Happy Halloween! While the Germans don’t traditionally celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, we’ve unearthed a whole cryptful of Berlin-based horror films to while away the witching hours. Scroll down for zombies, demons, masked killers, sexy vampires and sadistic neo-Nazis, all slashing and hacking their way across the Haupstadt. 

Urban Explorer (2011)

The only way this sub-Hostel torture porn could only be more gimmicky is if it featured teenage vampires doing parkour. Capitalising on the buzz around urban exploring, and Berlin as the ultimate “urbex” destination, it does little to help the local tourist board by reinforcing dangerous German stereotypes. On their quest to discover Hitler’s bunker, a group of tourists fall victim to a sadistic neo-Nazi. (Because Germans = Nazis.) But I imagine this film is a far more terrifying viewing experience for native Berliners, due to its horrifyingly accurate portrayal of invading douchebag Touris. The best part? Spotting our local U-Bahn station at the end.

Demons (1985)

The U-Bahn is the starting point for Demons, co-written and produced by Italian master Dario Argento. A university student is pursued by a mysterious masked man who, instead of attacking her, offers her tickets to a horror film screening at a newly-renovated West Berlin cinema. Once there, art imitates art as the captive audience becomes prey for the Dèmoni of the original Italian title. Cue gore, gore and yet more gore, backed by a soundtrack featuring longtime Argento collaborator (and Goblin member) Claudio Simonetti, German metal mainstays Scorpions and Accept, Billy Idol and, um, Mötley Crüe.

Yellow the Movie

Yellow (2012)

A masked man also looms large in this short film inspired by Argento, and his fellow directors from the Giallo genre. Crowdfunded and shot in Berlin earlier this year, Yellow combines the slicked-streets, neon aesthetic of Michael Mann and Drive with old school Italian bloodletting. It oozes class, from the stunning opening sequence of Berlin from above, to the neo-Italo soundtrack from Antoni Maiovvi, to the poster illustrated by Graham Humphreys (Evil Dead). Currently doing the rounds at the world’s top horror film festivals, as well as Social Media Week here in Berlin, this is worth seeing the first chance you get.

Der Teufel von Rudow

Der Teufel von Rudow (2004)

Another indie production, The Devil of Rudow does little to mask its budget limitations. A hokey romp through a southern suburb of Berlin, this is an old-fashioned scare story slightly updated with modern hole-in-hand technology, a butt-kicking female lead and knowing gags: “It’s quiet… almost too quiet!” A must-miss.

Nekromantik

Nekromantik (1987)

How’s this for an elevator pitch? “A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.” My favourite part of that IMDB synopsis is the term “full corpse”, although film watchdogs would disagree, having banned the film from almost every country in the world. Arguably a serious social commentary, but undeniably grisly and transgressive, Nekromantik has become something of a cult classic.

Anatomy 2 Franka Potente

Anatomy 2 (2003)

Anyone who’s seen Run Lola Run or the Bourne trilogy could be forgiven for thinking of Franke Potente as a credible, bankable German actress. But not anyone who’s seen the medical horror Anatomie or its Berlin-based sequel. Potente revises her role as a medical student-slash-investigator of creepy goings-on, to uncover a secret society performing human experiments with bionic muscles, with horrific-slash-hilarious consequences.

We Are The Night

We Are The Night (2010)

Franka Potente was originally down to direct this sexy vampire thriller with the tagline “Immortal. Insatiable.” However, in the ten years it took to make it, writer Dennis Gansel took over director duties, finally releasing Wir Sind die Nacht after his (excellent) 2008 film The Wave – into a receptive, post-Twilight world. As far as teen trash goes, this looks eminently watchable, not least for some stunning shots of abandoned Berlin, including Spreepark and Teufelsburg.

Rammbock

Rammbock: The Berlin Undead (2010)

[REC] meets Shaun of the Dead. “Hide and seek. With zombies.” Whatever description you choose for this enjoyable siege movie won’t be as deep as director Marvin Kren’s: “I am more interested by stories with a pessimistic point of view of our society, and zombie movies always depict a world that is bad. It’s never been our intention to just do a film about the living dead; instead, we were more intrigued by the way people in Germany and Europe would react to that scenario. My generation would never take weapons and react like Americans would do; it’s not part of our culture. We would most probably panic at first and then try to find a way to escape alive out of this bad situation.” (Fangoria)

Asudem (2007)

What. The. Freak. This über-low-budget fantasy shot in desaturated near-black-and-white tells the surreal story of a woman pursued through the woods (or is that Görlitzer Park?), after consuming some magic mushrooms. And something about Satan experiencing a heavenly vision. Oh, and the title is “Medusa” backwards. Seriously, WTF.

Possession (1981)

Last but not least, the most critically-acclaimed film in this list, Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession. An agonising portrayal of a dying relationship, that slowly spirals into occult happenings and Cronenburg-esque body horror, it features a hysterical, Cannes award-winning performance from Isabelle Adjani and some of Sam Neill’s hammiest moments. A deeply unsettling watch, Possession is worth sticking with if only for a glimpse at early 80s Berlin, especially the apartment location on a street divided by the Wall. Warning: this trailer contains mad spoilers.

Have you seen any of these horrorshows? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Music Montag: Nirvana, Broadcast, Christiane F

by James Glazebrook

Okarola

Nirvana + Broadcast + Christiane F. A mashup match made in heaven, shot in 1980s Berlin, and mixed and edited here this year. Thanks Okarola for this wonderful piece of work; RIP Kurt Cobain and Trish Keenan.

Ask überlin: How do I find a job in Berlin?

by James Glazebrook

Many of the respondents to our recent Ask überlin… ANYTHING! post have stumbled upon a Berlin paradox. Everyone wants to move here, but they can’t because there aren’t any jobs. However, if there were jobs here, it would no longer be cheap, or thrilling, or otherwise attractive to people like us. In the words of Adam Fletcher, “it’d be Munich.” We anticipated the advice of his You know you’re a Berliner when... post before we moved here:

Don’t move here unless you already have a way to sustain yourself, even if you will need vastly less money than in other cities. €1k a month is enough to live reasonably well. So work online. Freelance. Do a startup. Take a year out and write that book. Do “projects”.

Because of nature of our work (creative, online), we’re only really qualified to help people get jobs in startups. If you’re one of these bright sparks, check out Berlin Startup Jobs and, if you speak German, Creative City Berlin and Creative Set. Also sign up to Watson Jobs‘ newsletter for job vacancies and internships, and pester your favourite companies until they give in and give you some work ;) But no matter what you plan to do, you might have to do the Berlin thing and work a subsistence job (or five) until your Berlin dreams take off.

by Josh Bauman

by Josh Bauman

In an attempt to help those interested in real jobs – or what Chris calls “a decent career” – we did a little research on monster.de. From the many thousands of jobs on offer, about 200 were in the education sector (Chris is a trained Careers Advisor) and about 40 in nursing. We can’t answer these related questions…

Is it true that Germans don’t think much of their nurses?
Does having an English degree carry any sort of advantage when applying for jobs?

…but we should repeat Patrick’s word of caution: “If you don’t speak passable German I think your options are pretty limited.” For some thoughts and tips about learning the local language, read Ask überlin: Do I need to learn German?

Also on the topic of making a living in Berlin, Ryan asks:

Do you (or anyone else who may be reading) have any tips or recommendations for cheap, relatively hassle-free German health insurance?

This is a question we’re still trying to find an answer to, nearly two years into our life here. Of course we have health insurance (it’s required by law), but frankly, we’ve been ripped off! We have some leads, and will let you know how they develop, but we’ll leave you with the greatest tip we’ve ever been given on the subject: if you come from an EU country with a public healthcare system, you can transfer onto public insurance here. BUT once you go private, you can’t go back. Here is the NHS information we wished we’d known before we moved…

Help a Berliner out. Do you have any top tips for finding affordable health insurance in Berlin… or a job?

The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park

by James Glazebrook

The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park is appropriately epic. A tribute to the 80,000 Red Army soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin (1945), and the final resting place for 5,000 of them, the Soviet War Memorial at Treptow is bigger than most public parks. A 12m tall statue is flanked by 16 stone sarcophagi (one for each of the Soviet Republics), and two enormous kneeling soldiers clutching their helmets in their hands. The red roses placed at the memorial serve as a reminder that people still live that owe their lives and liberty to these men, and it’s impossible for Western visitors not to be jarred by the Soviet commitment to stop the Nazis, a sacrifice that far outstripped ours. As ever, for moving (in both senses of the word) images, see Good Hard Working People’s one minute video, which provides historical context as well as a very personal emotional response.

Big Gig Giveaway: Cloud Nothings and Alabama Shakes

by James Glazebrook

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we’re running any open competitions] 

Does our generosity know no bounds? Last week it was How To Dress Well tickets, and now it’s Cloud Nothings and Alabama Shakes. Both Yankee rock acts are in town on Monday 5th November, and we have 2 pairs of tickets to give away to each gig. That’s… wait… 2 X 2… X 2…… that’s 8 tickets we’re giving away here! Scroll down to find out how to win 2 tickets to either Cloud Nothings at Postbahnhof or Alabama Shakes at Astra Kulturhaus. Viel Glück! 

HOW TO WIN 2 X TICKETS TO CLOUD NOTHINGS OR ALABAMA SHAKES:

– Follow @uberlinblog on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/uberlinblog)
(If you are already following no need to unfollow and refollow)

– Tweet ONE of the messages you see highlighted below ONCE!
(There is no advantage to tweeting more than once. And you can’t enter both draws because you can’t be at two shows at once!)

Note: Twitter has changed its policy to no longer allow disabling of link shortening – so if you need to use a different link to get to this page that’s fine. As long as people end up on this page – that’s all that matters. The rest of each tweet must be identical to the one below.

Here are the tweets:

WOOT! I’m so going to win tickets to Cloud Nothings in #Berlin! Find out how to enter here: http://bit.ly/Rvoo7d #uberwin

WOOT! I’m so going to win tickets to Alabama Shakes in #Berlin! Find out how to enter here: http://bit.ly/Rvoo7d #uberwin

You have until 6pm on Friday 2nd November to enter. Get tweeting!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. You must be following @uberlinblog (http://www.twitter.com/uberlinblog) on Twitter.
3. You must send out the above tweet EXACTLY as it appears. A failure to do so will disqualify you.
4. We will announced the winners via Twitter on Saturday 3rd November.
5. If users make lots of Twitter accounts in order to enter a contest more than once, they’re liable to get all of their accounts suspended. Anyone found using multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be ineligible.

We will keep a record of each tweet in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner. Good luck!

Music Montag: Rampue

by Guest Blogger

Natalye Childress of Berlin Beat introduces us to some hot new music.

While you have no doubt been lamenting the disappearance of summer, let’s stop trying to catch those fleeting glimpses of sunshine and get real: colder weather is here, and it’s here to stay (well, at least for another six months). That said, there is no better way to embrace the rainy season than with a song boasting cool, stripped-down beats over the gloomy background of a cloudy sky.

Berlin’s Rampue has been making music for more than a decade, but in recent years it has undergone a transformation. Shedding his 8-bit skin and adopting a more sophisticated deep house sound, he recently released Turn Around, a four-track EP that clocks in at just under 30 minutes, showcasing his new-found direction. The artist, whose music is available on Berlin labels Audiolith and Dantze, will keep busy through the end of the year with both DJ and live sets around Germany. Coming up: a live performance at Ritter Butzke on the 27th.

Ask überlin: Do I need to learn German?

by James Glazebrook

Of all the questions to pop up in response to our recent Ask überlin… ANYTHING! post, the one that really jumped out was Nana’s:

Is it possible to live in Berlin without knowing a word in German?

The scary thing is that the short answer is “Yes, quite possible”. We know people here who survive on very little German: they work at international companies where the official language is English, only hang out with other expats, and do the whole nod-and-smile thing at supermarket checkouts. Some of them just haven’t got round to learning the language yet, but some don’t ever plan to.

The problem with this is, like Patrick comments, “your ability to work and interact with people is going to be much more limited.” What happens if you lose your startup job and can’t find another? Or need to get your sink fixed? Or get sick of socialising with douchebags like me?

Our advice would be: don’t worry about the language thing before you move to Berlin, and don’t let it put you off coming. But when you’re settled, make steps to learn German. Like Expath’s Tia Robinson writes in this great post for VentureVillage, “you can be one of the thousands of Berlin expats bumbling around… But why not take advantage of being immersed in German language and culture?”

Scroll down for some top tips to avoid becoming this guy:

Language schools

We’ve sampled a few different language schools, and some private tutors, and our favourite is Sprachsalon Berlin in Neukölln. The teachers are great, engaging in German and resorting to English to explain the most difficult concepts, the classes are small (we learned first with a total of four students, then just the two of us) and, above all, the fees are very reasonable.

If you want some other options, check out this Exberliner article or wait for someone more experienced than us to comment below!

Online learning tools

Again, we checked out a bunch of online learning tools and stopped at one that works for us: Duolingo. Read what we wrote about Duolingo when it was still in private beta here, and sign up here.

VentureVillage included Duolingo in their 7 cool new ways to learn German, along with some other interesting resources worth checking out – including our Daily Deutsch tweets and illustrations! The list also mentions Meetup.com as a way to meet and speak to “real Germans in the real world”, which could be useful for Alex, who asked us:

any suggestions on how to “fit in” (ie not seem like a typical American/Brit/whatever living in Berlin)? I have a good comprehension of the language, but really want to try to assimilate as much as possible.

by Josh Bauman

by Josh Bauman

Other resources

We’ve heard great things about tandem learning, one-on-one language exchange with a German who wants to learn English (or another language), but we’ve both been playing email tag with our partners, so we can’t yet recommend the institution that’s connected us. And we’ve only just discovered the following:

Zattoo – live stream German TV and radio, and watch Spiegel TV on demand, for free.
Deutsche Welle media centre – get the news and other current affairs programmes as audio and video.
Learn German for Freekostenlos audio lessons on the Open Culture website.
Radiant-Flux – Patrick Wilken’s own blog tackles the issue of “Deutsch lernen”. This epic post is well worth reading for a different approach to language learning and the tactics to go with it.

We reckon that one of the easiest ways to “open your ears” to the language is to listen to local music (with vocals; German hip hop is actually pretty decent) and watch German TV and films, or English-language stuff dubbed into German.

On that note, does anyone have an answer for Paula?

Does anyone know a good website where you can stream German movies with English subtitles? Trying to show my boyfriends some German movies in prep of our big move but it’s hard to find sites that host movies with voiceover / subtitles. Any recommendations?

Help a Berliner out. Do you have any top tips for ways in which to learn German, or places to do so?