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Das Gespenst

The Ghost

West Germany 1983
produced by
Herbert Achternbusch
directed by Herbert Achternbusch
starring Herbert Achternbusch, Annamirl Bierbichler, Werner Schroeter, Kurt Raab, Dietmar Schneider, Josef Bierbichler, Franz Baumgartner, Alois Hitzenbichler, Judit Achternbusch, Rut Achternbusch, Gabi Geist, Gunter Freyse, Ann Poppel
written by Herbert Achternbusch

Jesus Christ

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bavaria, the 1980's: One beautiful day, Jesus (Herbert Achternbusch), having fallen for the Mother Superior (Annamirl Bierbichler) of the convent he's hanging at, decides to step down from his cross to spend his life with her ... he figures they are husband and wife anyways since nuns are called the brides of the Lord, right?

The Mother Superior is quite flattered because she's in love with him as well, but figures they can't live together as Jesus and nun, so, since the German word for Mother Superior is Oberin, she makes him his Ober (German word for waiter) and has him work in the nunnery's bar.

Jesus does his best to be a good waiter, but when two policemen (Kurt Raab, Dietmar Schneider) order two glasses full of shit, Jesus accidently makes them shooting each other.

Mother Superior and Jesus try to live with each other, but that's easier said than done, due to her vow of chastity and his total ignorance of human sexuality. Eventually, their money runs out and they decide to seperate to make it on their own, but when Jesus' naivity messes up the married life of a salesman (Franz Baumgartner) and his wife (Gabi Geist), who cheats on him with a priest (Alois Hitzenbichler), he gets so confused he turns into a snake and lacks the power to turn back.

Ultimately, Mother Superior finds Jesus in his snake-state and tries to turn into one as well, to finally be able to live with him as equal partner ... but instead turns into a bird of prey.


Upon it's release, this little Jesus-comedy caused quite a scandal in director/writer/star Herbert Achternbusch's native Bavaria, the one Catholic county in Protestant Germany - and this scandal did nothing but give the film some extra publicity it wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

But was the scandal justified?

Not really. Das Gespenst is a satire less about Jesus himself - played as a naive and phlegmatic but loveable character by Achternbusch - than about religion and the public's perception of religion as such.

That said, is Das Gespenst a good film?

Well, to really enjoy the movie you have to be in a certain Bavarian state of mind, the comedy of the film isn't your typical laugh-a-ton but a weird, at times surreal blend of various kinds of humour from fart jokes to philosophical allusions, and Achternbusch refuses to favour one over the other. And the film's carefully orchestrated long takes and static camera set-ups give the film an extra dimension (not only aesthetically) that your typical slick comedy usually lacks, making this a weird, slightly surreal experience.

That said, Das Gespenst is by no means perfect, but if you look beyond its scandalous layer and have a little patience, you will find it quite an interesting movie.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD