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[Review] GOLEM [Warped Dimension Online Film Festival]: Clay Avenger from Jewish Folklore Rises Again in Effective Horror Short

In only about 4 minutes not counting credits, writer/director Ryan Cauchi’s Australian short horror film Golem spins an action-packed tale about the titular anthropomorphic clay creature from Jewish folklore while also setting the stage for a much larger story. The result is a gripping short creature feature boasting some fun monster effects.

The set-up is simple: during World War II, a Nazi officer (Jaimie Leonarder) and two soldiers (Matt Rudduck and Matt Clayton) storm a synagogue, searching for a rabbi (Steve Maresca). In the basement, the officer finds a miniature golem figure and crushes it — only to find that the rabbi has formed a much larger version intent on ridding the land of Nazis. 

The visual effects and art department teams have crafted an impressive golem using stop-motion animation, — which monster kids like yours truly will take over CGI beasts anytime — and Cauchi uses the animated creature in tandem with actual WWII footage. The approach is a lot of fun, hearkening back to the effects of Willis O’ Brien, Ray Harryhausen, and others.

The short also features Rachael Brown in a role that is best left unspoiled. She and the other actors all turn in fine work, with the little dialogue in the film used to solid effect.

Fans of stop-motion animation and creature features should seek out Cauchi’s Golem, and hope that a full-length version of this story might be headed our way in the future.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Golem screens as part of Warped Dimension live-streamed online film festival — presented by Another Hole in the Head — which takes place online from May 7–9, 2021. For more information, visit www.AHITH.com.

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.