Homunculus Part IV (1916)

Article #465 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-23-2002
Posting date: 11-16-2002

Plot description may follow someday when I understand German.

Someday I hope to read up on silent serials; from what I’ve been able to gather so far, early serials were a somewhat different animal than the “twelve eighteen-minute episodes that appear after the short subjects but before the movie” creature that we are largely familiar with. HOMUNCULUS was a German serial that had six episodes and ran in its totality about seven hours; in other words, each of its episodes ran about the length of a short movie; in one sense, it’s more akin to the modern TV miniseries than to a serial. IMDB gives each of the episodes a different listing, and that’s how I’m going to handle them, but don’t worry; you’re not about to get a whole string of “I can’t understand this; it’s all in German” MOTDs. That’s because episodes one, three, five and six are lost to the world, and only a fragment survives of episode two. Episode four is the only complete episode, and I can’t understand it, because it’s all in German. Still, there were a couple times that visions of the 1931 FRANKENSTEIN popped into my mind; there are a few sequences of villagers running around in that monster-hunting fashion so common to the Frankenstein movies, and there’s a sequence showing the remains of a fire that looks for all the world like it took place at a mill. The Homunculus himself looks human enough; it is his lack of a human soul that made him monstrous. This is another one that goes into the “further research necessary” category.


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