The Paz brothers, known for their supernatural film JeruZalem (review), have a new film on its way titled The Golem. I sat down for a chat with Yoav Paz, one half of the writing and directing duo, to talk about JeruZalem, The Golem and much more.
Horror Fuel: “I really enjoyed JeruZalem. It’s a great, unique film. Was it actually filmed in Jerusalem?
Yoav Paz: “It was. Some of it was filmed in Nazareth and other old cities. It was just an hour’s drive from where I live in Telavive, driving there is like driving to a different country.
We are working on the sequel which will also be filmed there. We are almost done with the script.”
Horror Fuel: “That is fantastic news! I can’t wait to see it! Was it hard to arrange to film in those cities?”
Yoav Paz: “We kept a low profile with a little crew. We shot a lot in the streets and in the holy places.”
Horror Fuel: “Where did the idea for JeruZalem come from?”
Yoav Paz: “Doron and I wanted to explore the dark Jewish mythology. For years we wanted to do a resurrection film and cover prophecies. JeruZalem is our religious twist on zombies. The city is over 1,000 years old. There have been so many horrible deaths and so much suffering. You can feel it.
We had a small budget and did everything ourselves and with the help of friends. It was really exciting to see it go that big.
We’re working on a sequel to JeruZalem now. It’s also set in Jerusalem at the same time as the first film but from a different angle, a different point of view.
Horror Fuel: “That’s exciting news! I look forward to seeing it.
Your film The Golem just premiered at Screamfest.”
Yoav Paz: “We’re very proud of The Golem. It’s been to several festivals. The next will be in Mexico. It’s getting great responses. People are being moved. This is what we are aiming for. It will be out this February.
It features a dark Jewish mythology about a creature. The legends say that when Jews were in danger a Rabi could make a Golem out of clay and mud to protect them. Golems were the basis for Frankenstein and other creatures. The mythology is ancient.
In the original stories, a Rabi makes the golem. The twist is that a woman makes the golem. A woman was not allowed to study the bible in those days. Now it’s still separated. Even now in synagogs, women have to sit in a different section. When I was in film school, a lot of my filmmaker friends were scared to make horror films. It was our first year and all of the teachers wanted realistic films. Until now, the majority has been dramas and comedies. That is starting to change.
In The Golem, the female lead is very brilliant. She hides under the synagog to listen and she studies the Bible in secret, only her husband knows, because it wasn’t allowed then. When the village is in danger she creates the creature. The ceremony we use in the film is real. People could try to make one themselves [laughter].
We shot in a village like where our grandparents lived. We got to see the culture from my grandparents’ world before there were the internet and smartphones.
Horror Fuel: “It’s amazing that you got to experience your grandparents’ world. Hopefully, we won’t end up with a bunch of golems running around when your movie comes out [laughter].
It’s is surprising that we haven’t seen more horror films from Jewish myths. My maternal grandmother’s side was Jewish. I’d love to learn more about the mythology and culture.
If you had to pick three words to describe The Golem what would they be?”
Yoav Paz: “Dark. Jewish. Legend.
Did you know that there was another movie called The Golem? It was one of the first horror movies? It was made in 1920. It was very scary for the time, but no one touched the legend for 100 years, except for some TV episodes. It’s the Jewish Frankenstein.”
Horror Fuel: “It is strange that no one has made a movie about them since then. I think that it’s fantastic that you are exploring that mythology and history.”
Yoav Paz: “It’s going to be epic.”
I’m glad to see that filmmakers like Yoav and his brother Doron are digging into the rich history and mythology of the Jewish people.
I can’t wait to see the sequel to JeruZalem, which really is a fantastic film and happens to be streaming on Amazon Prime right now. We’ll keep you posted on the sequel. Be sure to follow JeruZalem on Facebook for updates and more.