Boo! There’s not enough bold or italics in the world to make me scary. Sure, I’ve been living among you ... watching, observing ... for over a year, but that’s more creepy than scary. Hi! I’m Stephanie Belsky, by the way — founder of Love of Good, relatively new Metro Detroit resident and rebbetzin of The Well — and, as of last week, rep for Reboot Detroit.
Since you asked, my all-time top Halloween movies:
Practical Magic. Sandy B & Nicole Kidman doing magic? Plus, Mark Feuerstein? Midnight margaritas?! Yes please.
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes, I love Christmas. Don’t judge me.
Hocus Pocus. Bette Midler, SJP and Kathy Najimy as 300-hundred-year-old witches. If you’re not sold, we’re not friends.
And this year, I can add The Golem to my list. Mysticism, Jewish folklore, spirituality and astrology all come together in Reboot’s new rescore of The Golem. Just in time for Halloween — and to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the theatrical release of Paul Wegener’s cinematic classic The Golem — Reboot has rescored the film and put its own Jewish mystical spin on this iconic piece.
Reboot is releasing the film in an eight-part episodic series with new scores by renowned musicians and hosted by pre-eminent scholars, composers and film historians discussing the significance of the film and its music and taking a deep dive into Jewish history, occultism, Hollywoodism, traditions and astrology. The series unpacks the themes, ideas and underlying meanings found in this new presentation of The Golem and what it might have to say to us today.
So what the what is a Golem?
For those unfamiliar, the golem is our very own Jewish Frankenstein. Ironic considering Jews don’t celebrate Halloween — except that of course many of us do. The golem is a creature from Jewish folklore made of clay brought to life by a rabbi with magic in 16th century Prague. And unlike Frankenstein, this monster served a bigger purpose: to protect the Jews from persecution.
The legend inspired the film of the same name, which directly influenced many moments in the Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein. It also helped create one of the most well-known Jewish fables about the occult and the dark shadows that hide some profound Jewish ideas.
Among the many talented musicians, composers, scholars and film historians that brought Reboot’s “reboot” to life (all puns very much intended), are some familiar Michiganders, which is a word I recently learned and makes me bubblier than a fresh bottle of Vernors...
Gretchen Gonzales Davidson. Gretchen Gonzales Davidson grew up in Flint, MI. She graduated from Michigan State University with a dual-degree in Anthropology and Environmental Policy. She moved to Detroit in 1998 as a musician, where she played in numerous bands. Gretchen has an event production company and serves on numerous boards including Detroit Children’s Fund, Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Cranbrook Academy of Art, CultureLab Detroit and Reboot. She and her husband Ethan have three boys.
Maya Barzilai. Maya Barzilai is associate professor of Hebrew literature and Jewish cultures at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include Weimar cinema, German Jewish culture and thought, Hebrew modernism, and translation studies. She is author of Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters (NYU Press, 2016) and Golem, How He Came into the World (Camden House, 2020).
Dr. Justin Sledge. Dr. Justin Sledge (MA, religious studies, PhD, philosophy) studies the relationship between philosophy and Western Esotericism including magic, alchemy, kabbalah, hermetic philosophy, and occult forms of spirituality and mysticism. He is the host of Esoterica, a youtube channel focusing on the arcane in history, philosophy and religion.
Nate Young. Wolf Eyes is an American experimental music group from Detroit, formed in 1996 by Nate Young. Currently a duo, Wolf Eyes are a prominent act within contemporary noise music.
All eight episodes of The Golem Rescored are live TODAY on Reboot. Be a good ghoul and watch. Happy Challaween!