Homunculus

Tagged: Film

Serial film (1916; vt Homunculus der Führer). Deutsche Bioscop. Directed by Otto Rippert. Script by Otto and Robert Neuss, based on a story by Robert Reinert. Cast includes Olaf Fønss and Friedrich Kühne. Six episodes; total length 401 minutes. Black and white.

This six-part silent German serial, the most popular of the World War One period, tells of an artificial man created by a scientist (Kühne) who wants to make a perfect creature of pure reason. But the result, Homunculus (the Danish actor Fønss), resents the fact that he is not a real human being (and has no soul); after being driven from country to country he becomes the dictator of a large, unnamed nation and plans to conquer the world, being finally destroyed by a convenient bolt of lightning. Homunculus contains seminal themes of the Gothic variety, foreshadowing many sf/Horror films: the archetypal Mad Scientist, the inherent evil of Technology and scientific progress, superhuman Androids, conquest of the world and a fiery, apocalyptic climax. [JB]

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