Written by Ellis Bahl & Jeff Desom

Feature film to be directed by Jeff Desom. Produced and developed by Bernard Michaux, Samsa Films, and Film Fund Luxembourg.

ES SIEHT DICH is an elevated creature feature blended with a psychological thriller.

Set in 1980s East Berlin under the shadow of the Berlin Wall, a woman recently released from Stasi imprisonment faces an ever growing onslaught of malevolent forces seemingly conspiring to destroy her.


When Director Jeff Desom approached me about co-writing a horror movie set in the GDR, my first step was to launch an intensive research phase. I scrubbed the internet for images, definitions, and first hand accounts of life under the wall, I read books and watched documentaries on GDR governance and the Stasi Police State, and I even began taking German language classes.

There are two primary monsters in ES SIEHT DICH: The Stasi - with its massive surveillance apparatus, its expansive network of informants, and its secret police tactics. The other monster is The Watcher - a hideous one-eyed squid-like creature with the ability to camouflage itself and wield dark psychic powers of persuasion. We wanted to create a monster that at once represented both the Stasi AND the Stasi’s effects on our protagonist. The monster is always watching her and it’s slowly driving her crazy, breaking her down, and leading her by the hand towards suicide. 

The scariest thing about this is that aside from the squid monster, this is not fiction. ‘Zersetzung’ (German for ‘Decomposition’) was the Stasi system of breaking a person down through gaslighting. The processing of presumed state enemies was extremely precise, so much so that the Ministry for Homeland Security issued a pamphlet detailing point by point how to psychologically break a human being to the point of committing suicide. It reads like a horror novella written by a cold and soulless computer.

Most uncannily, this methodical approach to planning an elaborate torture isn’t too different from our work as horror writers. We constantly asked ourselves: What’s the worst that could happen to our protagonist and what is the best way to execute that (no pun intended). On the one hand, the 'Zersetzung' pamphlet is a sickening document that stands as a testament to the psychological atrocities inflicted by the Stasi, but on the other hand, it was a treasure trove of all the terrible things we could put our protagonist through.

And so we did.