After one of their store houses burnt down, museum director Grove and his assistant Pimm find everything destroyed - only one statue withstood the fire mysteriously undamaged. Suddenly ... See full summary »
After one of their store houses burnt down, museum director Grove and his assistant Pimm find everything destroyed - only one statue withstood the fire mysteriously undamaged. Suddenly Grove is lying dead on the ground - killed by the statue? Pimm finds out that the cursed statue has been created by Rabbi Loew in 16th century and will withstand every human attempt to destroy it. Pimm decides to use it to his own advantage... Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Director Herbert J. Leder purposely wanted the film to have the style of the Hammer Studio horror films that were popular during the 60's. He directed the camera work and audio effects to have the characteristics of a Hammer film. See more »
Newspaper headlines refer to the statue as a Golem even before Pimm and Perkins identify it as such. See more »
Star Roddy McDowall is credited as Roddy 'MacDowall' in the opening credits. See more »
I have been aware since childhood of this British horror movie (via large color stills taken from it found in one of my father's books) but, despite knowing of its recent DVD release in the U.S., only now did I manage to check it out on Cable TV channel TCM UK. American born writer-producer-director Leder lends his modest London-based film a colorful look reminiscent of Hammer horrors while updating the Hebrew legend of the Golem for the 20th Century. Roddy McDowall (delivering a performance that is much better than the material he has to work with) plays an ambitious but disturbed museum curator who occasionally bestows his mummified mother (whom he keeps in her favorite living-room armchair) with precious stones lifted from his workplace, ineffectually lusts after his lovely blonde colleague (former Otto Preminger protégé Jill Haworth) in a startling sequence, he envisages her lounging practically naked on his sofa before turning into his skeletal mother as he approaches her! and is constantly harassed by his superiors. When a warehouse fire conveniently highlights the lifelike presence of an indestructible sinister statue, McDowall gradually realizes what he has come in possession of and, inevitably, makes use of his own power over it to further himself in life, both socially and romantically. Unfortunately for McDowall, both Haworth and the statue are also being pursued by visiting American curator Paul Maxwell (unsubtly named Perkins if you catch my drift) who, necessarily, even gets entangled in the ongoing police investigations (one of whom is played by future Euro-Cult regular Ian McCulloch) of the piling murders surrounding the re-emergence of the Golem. Although the film is certainly entertaining fare, particularly for hardened genre fans, one cannot help but notice that several opportunities (especially for black comedy) are sorely missed along the way; the Golem's demolition of a bridge, then, is merely a weak matte painting (to say nothing of some very obvious day-for-night shots) and the climactic confrontation between the rampaging statue and the proverbial Army is somewhat risible as they keep shooting at it with bigger and bigger weapons (from bazookas to tanks) to no avail! Even 'It' seems to despair at their ineptitude as the Golem proceeds to drown itself in the nearby Thames soon after! This is all rather lame script-wise since we had previously been told that water cannot harm the 400-year old statue but, perhaps, its suicide is meant to be taken metaphorically since it has been revived for destructive purposes rather than the protective ones it had originally been created for.
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