Monday, October 2, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Golem (1920, 2020)

The Golem 1920
It is not very often you can find two related movies that are 100 years apart. However, this is something that will become more and more common.  Today's Re-animated movies are the classic The Golem (Der Golem) and 2020's The Golem.

Both movie deal with the old Jewish legend of the Golem as a being made of clay and imbued with the word of Life/God to become a protector to the people. But if the Golem is kept around too long it also brings destruction to all those around it. 

The Golem: How He Came into the World (German: Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam) (1920)

This movie is a classic in every sense of the word. It is slow, black & white and silent, but worth watching. You can easily see some of the design choices that would later go into the Frankenstein movies from Universal Studios. 

In this one, the golem is created to protect the Jewish people of Prague. A warning is given that if the Golem is still animated when the planets enter the house of Uranus the evil spirit of Astaroth will take it over. 

There is a bit where the Rabbi who animated the Golem uses it to impress the Emperor and save all his people when his place collapses. As expected the Golem turns to evil and begins killing people. Well, he kills a knight of the Emperor who has been sleeping with a girl (Miriam) who the Rabbi's apprentice wants. In the end the Golem is "shut down" by a girl who removes the scroll from his chest (not mouth as in the legends).

The Golem 2020
The Golem (2018, 2020)

This is an English-language Israeli movie set during the Black Death. We see Hannah visiting a healer where we learn it was 7 years ago when her child had died. She sneaks off to listen to the Rabbi preach about the Kaballah (forbidden at the time). Her husband knows, but while not exactly understanding he is supportive. During her sister's wedding men from a nearby village bring in a plague-stricken girl. They blame the Jewish people and their sorceries for the plague. 

Hannah decides to use the book her husband smuggled for her to create a Golem to protect the village from these men.  We are given scenes where the Golem, in the form of her dead son, just beat the living shit out of these men; especially a group that attack Hannah alone and try to hang her.

In this we get the same story where the Golem protects, but after a bit it begins to turn on everyone. Int this case it seems to be connected to Hannah, who can feel it when the Golem-boy gets shot and sends it (unconsciously) to kill the woman she thinks her husband it having an affair with. 

The men leave when the daughter of their leader gets better, but come back to burn the village down after his daughter dies. The Golem wipes them all out and Hannah asks the golem to stop so she can remove the scroll from it's mouth. 

It is a good flick but only horror in the broad sense of the word. Hani Furstenberg as Hannah was rather great, to be honest, and the movie rides on her performances.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 3
First Time Views: 2

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge


PT Dilloway said...

I never watched the movie but the golem of Prague featured prominently in Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Shipping the golem out of the city was actually how Joe Kavalier escaped the Nazis.

And there was a Simpsons Halloween episode segment featuring a golem. And a couple of Discworld books too.

I wrote a story called The Golem once only it was a little more Weird Science than this as the golem was a woman made by a lonely teenage boy.

Pun Isaac said...

I've not seen the original (which is something that needs to change), but own a copy of the newer film. I enjoyed it. I agree, it's not really a horror film, but it has some great performances.