Deep in the annals of obscure German cinema lies The Golem: How He Came into the World, a 1920 silent horror film about the Jewish mythical Golem and, well, how he came into the world.
Directed by Paul Wegener, a German Expressionist, The Golem is set in the Jewish ghetto of medieval Prague. The film begins with famed Rabbi Loew reading in the stars that disaster is coming for the Jews. Sure enough, the Holy Roman Emperor issues a royal decree declaring that all Jews must vacate the city by month’s end. Loew then creates the golem out of clay, old fashion prayer, and, obviously, an amulet of Astaroth, a Crowned Prince of Hell, to defend the Jews.
Lest this sound too silly for words, the film is widely regarded as a hallmark of German Expressionism, with special emphasis on outstanding set design and cinematography.
Once you’ve watched the original, though, be sure to check out the version featuring a soundtrack by Black Francis of Pixies fame, beloved indie rock outfit of the 1980s and 90s. Of this version, one critic wrote, “The golem doesn’t lumber and skulk so much as swagger and be-bop and damn near line-dance.”