Reboot, a non-profit that works to expand upon the Jewish identity, has rescored the 1920 silent German Expression classic The Golem: How He Came Into The World, with the help of musicians like Meg Baird and members of bands like Boredoms, the Flaming Lips and The Dead C.
The Golem: How He Came Into The World, was a proto-horror film based on Jewish folklore, and featured a manmade monster coming to life and wreaking havoc throughout medieval Prague. Its style and plot would go on to inspire the main pillars of horror cinema that would come within the next decade, especially James Whale’s Frankenstein. Along with films like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Golem is one of the main foundation blocks of the horror genre.
What makes The Golem particularly interesting, though, is how this popular and successful film portrayed Jewish identity and Jewish culture in Europe prior to World War II. The main characters are almost all Jewish and the titular monster was created in defense of the Jewish people when the Holy Rome Emperor wanted them banished from the city. This film was important for Jewish representation at the time, showing that Jewish characters and stories could be just as important and just as interesting as any other in mainstream cinema. This is why The Golem was a perfect choice for Reboot to rescore and screen on YouTube to discuss and re-analyze themes on Jewish identity and perspectives.
Reboot broke the film up into eight different segments, and each section features a different artist composing the accompanying soundtrack. Being a silent film, the musical accompaniment is open to a vast amount of interpretation, but the artists involved here, like ∈Y∋ from Boredoms, each built upon the movie’s already eerie and supernatural atmosphere with soundscapes that border on the dreamy and the nightmarish.
Some of the tracks, like the second piece, by Baird and fellow Heron Oblivion guitarist Charlie Saufley and storyteller and musician Jeremiah Lockwood, focus on the film’s more spiritual themes. With looping trance-inducing riffs and a shimmering crescendo full of celestial vocalizations and crashing reverberated waves of singing bowls and electric guitar, tracks like this one give the viewer a strong sense of the sacred and the mystical. Hearing music like this behind these 100 year old flickering images not only help to make them more accessible for the modern viewer, they enhance the subtext and overall supernatural mood within the original celluloid.
The film debuts on Thursday, October 28th, and will be hosted by John K. Bucher and Torri Yates-Orr of the Skeleton Keys Podcast. Click here to read more about the project and to keep abreast on the updates for the launch.
You can check out a trailer for the newly rescored film below, which features the aforementioned music by Baird, Saufley and Lockwood: