3 awesome depictions of the golem in art

Image for article titled 3 awesome depictions of the golem in art

Halloween is here, and although Frankenstein get all the press, we're going to showcase a lesser known (but no less distinguished) manmade man: the golem! Here are some portrayals of this Hebrew homunculus in film, comics, and music.

Advertisement

There's a certain science fictional appeal to the golem. Although Rossum's Universal Robots author Karel Čapek denied that the golem was an inspiration for his play (which first coined the term "robot"), it's unlikely that the Czech author would be completely oblivious to the folk tales about the golem of Prague, who protected Jews from pogroms in the 16th century.

German director Paul Wegener adapted this story for his 1920 expressionist classic Der Golem, also known as The Golem: How He Came into the World. Wegener made three golem films, and Der Golem was the only film to survive. This depiction of the golem (which is played by Wegener) is brought to life by a symbol on his chest instead of a word written on his forehead. Here's Wegener's film in its entirety from The Internet Archive. Thanks to Discodave for the tip!

Next up, here's a comic book portrayal of the golem. Steve Harper and Neal Adams gave the Prague golem the Seventies horror comic treatment in 1972's Weird War Tales 8. In this comic, the golem activates out of revenge instead of a commanding word. Here's "Thou Shalt Not Kill!" via Diversions of the Groovy Kind.

Finally, here's a musical tribute to the golem from the avant-garde metal supergroup Fantômas. For their 2001 album The Director's Cut, Fantômas — whose roster included Mike Patton of Faith No More and Buzz Osborne of the Melvins — covered horror and noirish films scores ranging from Rosemary's Baby to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Fantômas' cover of Karl Ernst Sasse's theme is a sludgy brew of metal guitars and Mike Patton screaming like a banshee (it's catchier than my description, trust me).

All in all, The Director's Cut is really one of the best Halloween albums one could ask for — it doesn't have the pop appeal of "The Monster Mash," but you can't worship ancient Sumerian gods to the "Monster Mash" either.

Advertisement

DISCUSSION

By
greenman1

I thought a "Golem" was a "Goyim" on which they used their "Guilt trip brainwashing" to turn into a staunch defender of Israel/Zionism.... Sat him down, showed him tons of WW2 gruesome videos, had survivors and kids of survivors tell horrible stories and wave soap and lampshades. Then he'd get really sad and guilty and then walk around picking fights with those that still bash that sad, oppressed ethnic group. Just joking;-)

Seriously, though, IMO for quasi mystic engineering the "Golem" is ancient history like an ox cart with solid wood wheels.

In the middle ages onwards they made the "Homunculus", for that reason alone I liked "Captain Planet" for his formation is exactly the alchemical ideal stripped of symbolism.

The Voudoun priests made the "Xombi" which was RL like my non-PC joke.

And we are getting into Robots and possibly real "Androids". (clones but made for man's use) On the "Mystic" side there's the "Thought Form" the "Sigil" the "Hypersigil" the "Eregore"...

So, frankly the Golem's a bit out dated...