Feet of Clay
The silent film classics lay the foundation for the modern Horror genre. As a cinephile, a history buff, and a Horror mark, I have a great appreciation for those “silent screamers.” THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. NOSFERATU. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. And Paul Wegener’s GOLEM trilogy. Wegener co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in the films, which were based upon the legend of the Golem of Prague. They are beautiful, stunning pieces of cinematic Art, and feature a “monster” created to protect and defend Jewish people from persecution.
That only increases the bitterness of the irony that Wegener would, in later years, become a Nazi. He was never a soldier, but he did work for the Nazis, creating pro-Nazi propaganda films for them. Ugh.
I work not infrequently in Huntsville, Alabama, home of NASA and the military base Redstone Arsenal, where, in the days after World War Two, Verner Von Braun worked to develop the technology that put a man on the moon. Von Braun is, understandably, something of a local hero. The people of Huntsville don’t like to think about the fact that, prior to coming to work in America at the, ahem, invitation of the US government, he did the same work for the Nazis.
I don’t like to think about how Wegener ended up, either, when I’m watching THE GOLEM. As far as I’m concerned, the real Paul Wegener died shortly after completing the last of his GOLEM movies and was replaced by an evil doppelganger. The same way the real Bill Cosby died in 1989.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!