Cultural Gutter: Hebrew Horrors


I’m back on Cultural Gutter writing about the rarity of Jewish horror films. Hebrew Horrors looks at two horror films that are set within the realm of Jewish folklore: 1920’s well-regarded and somewhat controversial Der Golem, and the little-known Yiddish-language horror film The Dybbuk.

To enumerate the number of horror films that draw from Christian folklore and mysticism would result in a list long enough to qualify as a tome. To do similarly with Buddhist and Taoist folklore would result in much the same, only with a lot more Lam Ching-ying doing backflips. But if you turn the horrific cinema lens on the rich ocean of Jewish folklore, you come up with almost nothing. Oh sure, every now and then a rabbi totters on-screen to help out a priest with some esoteric passage in the Old Testament, but that is Judaism in the service of Christianity, rather than Judaism on its own tackling its own assortment of ghosts and monsters and legends.

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