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KINO favorites: Top 10 science fiction films from Germany

Scott Roxborough
December 2, 2016

Dystopian visions, futuristic fairytales and hands down the coolest sci-fi dance scene in movie history made our list of best sci-fi films to come out of Germany. "Metropolis," of course, was the mother of them all.

Film still Pandorum
Image: picture-alliance/Mary Evans Picture Library

The future, for most German filmmakers, has rarely seemed as interesting as the past. There are German movies, it seems, about every minute aspect of the rise of National Socialism and the horrors of World War II, but good German sci-fi films are hard to find.

So for our KINO favorites edition on the best in German sci-fi, we had to go digging through the archives for forgotten gems and scan more recent attempts to imagine the world of tomorrow.

What we discovered was cult gold, a midnight-movie goers' delight. Some of KINO's previous favorite lists have tended toward the high-brow, but our sci-fi selection is unabashedly pulp.

We've got a silent thriller featuring a pianist possessed by the transplanted hands of a murderer, a paranoid horror tale set on a shuttle in deep space, and a post-apocalyptic drama that plays out on (literally) scorched earth. (Spoiler alert: It also involves cannibals!)

Our list includes features from as far back as 1924 and as recent as 2015. If there's a common theme in German sci-fi, past and present, it seems to be fear. The future that awaits us in these films is a catalogue of horrors: environmental disaster and dictatorial mind-control, wars over natural resources and atomic annihilation. 

Thankfully, with the exception of a few state-of-the-art features (and one amazing low-budget debut from "Independence Day" director Roland Emmerich), our selection also includes some of the cheesiest special effects known to man, and, in one case, a vision of the future of dance that has to be seen to be believed.

Check out our picks and let us know what you think. And yes, we have seen Fritz Lang's groundbreaking 1927 sci-fi masterpiece, "Metropolis." It was one of our KINO German drama favorites. But we think "Metropolis," as the mother of all sci-fi movies, is in a class of its own.

Without "Metropolis," this list of favorites, and, arguably every other great sci-fi film out there, would never have been the same.