Alraune (1928) (a.k.a. A Daughter of Destiny)
Reviewed on 2012 October 25
I found this freaky old thing on YouTube, and I know there are several versions out there, but the general consensus is that this silent version is the definitive film of the story. I believe it. If you’re doing Weimar-era German expressionist sci-fi horror, you’d be hard pressed to beat anything with Paul Wegener and Brigitte Helm.
Professor Jakob ten Brinken (Wegener) is brilliant as he is cold, a scientist who plays with genes as though they were dice. In another time, ten Brinken would have been a hired gun for Monsanto. His ultimate quest is to make a soulless human, one derived from combining the mandrake root (seriously, Google the occult myths about that) with a “low woman”. A prostitute is recruited for this unholy alliance, and thus Alraune (Helm) is born.
For a woman who’s essentially half zucchini, Alraune has a ridiculous effect on men, enjoying their attention and whatever havoc she can wreak. The professor enjoys his bragging rights, until he also starts falling in love with the monster.
It goes without saying that this isn’t for everyone. Mr. Shukti snickered when he heard about the plot to create a soulless beautiful woman, saying “aren’t they all?” I enjoyed it myself, from the outrageous story to the score and the acting from Helm and Wegener. It’s also a nice little creepy tale for this time of year.
Three chocolate morsels. And you thought Damien Thorne would have had a hard time filling out his birth certificate.