Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Day 57: The Golem

This is another last minute substitution for a modern horror review (the movie was Body, it is fine and a little predictable). Reading through my essential horror book I got for Christmas, I have been going through and watching silent horror films...pretty much all German.

Paul Wegener is the guy behind The Golem. He filmed multiple versions of the Golem story throughout his career and always played the titular creature himself. Imagine a sort of proto-Frankenstein and you have the right idea. The Golem comes from Jewish folklore about a wise Rabbi finding the word of life and using it to bring his clay construct into consciousness. The construct obeys his master except when the stars forbid it. The movie is divided into five chapters with the Golem only coming to life in the second. Earlier than that we still have the Rabbi summoning the demon Asteroth to gain the word of life. Pretty ambitious stuff for 1920.

Anyway, there is a decree from the emperor that the Jews should be removed from their ghetto and put to death. Rabbi Loew creates the Golem as a way to defend his people. The Golem has super strength but cannot speak. Meanwhile, a pretty boy knight who serves as the emperor's envoy has fallen in lust with the Rabbi's daughter. The two of them meet for an elicit tryst while the Rabbi takes the Golem to see the Emperor in hopes of stopping the genocide.

Lots of excitement and action in this one. The Golem eventually goes on a rampage. There is one very horrific image of him standing over bodies, dragging a woman by her dark hair. The effects are good and the whole thing comes off a like a Guillermo Del Toro fairy tale rather than a straight out horror movie. Still, if you like silent films, check it out.

BTW, the Golem totally looks like the guy who plays Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy.

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