THE GOLEMProduced and Written by Rob Robinson
Directed and Edited by Debora Roventini
Director of Photography - Geno Seay
Sue Stephens - Victoria Reid Taylor
Alex Stephens - Ken McFarlane
Jeremy Stephens - Steve Rozic
Fred Stephens - Pat Connelly
Golem - Derik Vanderbeken
A Golem is a creature whose origins stem from Jewish mysticism. It is created from the earth, like Adam, either from virgin soil or clay. Some scholars report that Golems appear as men on the outside, others suggest that it appears stonelike due its clay composition. Everyone agrees that the Golem lacks the intelligence to think on its own and that it obeys the will of it's creator. The special Jewish word for God must be inscribed on the creature's forehead, this is what gives it life. To return the creature back to the ground, one only needs to remove the inscription.
Over the years there have been variations on the myth, one if which is the foundation for Rob Robinson and Debora Roventini's THE GOLEM, a 40 minute short that's more a family drama than a horror film. In this variation, the heart and soul of the creature is written down on a scroll and placed inside the creature's forehead. To turn the creature back to the dust of the Earth, one has to remove the scroll.
Like zombies, the Golem is a creature that can easily be turned into a metaphor. The soulless, mindless creation could represent figureheads in puppet politics or drones who blindly follow their master. But Robinson and Roventini take a more personal approach. While the creature is used as a surrogate, it's more to reflect the personal emptiness of its creator.
When their father dies, the Stephens children, all grown up, return home to put his estate in order. There's some unresolved backstory concerning the only daughter, Sue, who left abruptly after her mother's death and refused contact with her siblings and father. This led to strife between the father and 3 remaining brothers, all of whom carry various levels of resentment towards their sister for escalating the collapse of their family.
Through the years, Sue has fought hard to create a name for herself as a writer. Her work has become her family, and years of regret come rushing to the surface once she receives the news about her father.
As the four Stephens siblings reminisce about their father and his eccentricities, the family becomes more vocal in their accusations about what led to the destruction of their family. It's this anger, this emptiness, the fuels the Golem. Before he died, the Stephens' patriarch took it upon himself to conjure the biblical entity known primarily for its destructive capabilities, obedience, and loyalty.
The question the siblings must ask themselves is why did their father creature such a monstrosity? To bring vengeance from beyond the grave? Was he crazy? Did he miss his children so much that he created a surrogate until his actual children returned home? The key to answering these questions is also what will salvage their family.
For once, it's nice to see an older group of actors on screen. In the world of microcinema, about 99% of production have casts under the age of 21 and come across more as friends goofing off in their backyard rather than attempting serious cinema. This movie proves that it's not hard to visit the local theater companies and audition talent. THE GOLEM boast credible performances by actors who obviously took the time to memorize their lines, another downfall of do-it-yourself cinema.
THE GOLEM could have worked without the creature. At its core, the movie is a domestic drama. The otherworldly climax is simply used as a metaphor for the underlying themes that could have been represented by a number of different things, none of which needed to be supernatural. The movie could also have been easily developed into a feature with more focus on the backstory and interpersonal conflicts. But Robinson and Roventini opt to keep the story short and tight, which makes for a more fulfilling viewing experience. All the fat has been trimmed and the remaining meat is what's on display. The result is an interesting film that proudly boasts the filmmaker's inspirations, classic monster movies.
Stunt Kitty Films