Year: 1916

Production: Deutsche Bioscop

Director: Otto Rippert

Starring: Olaf Fonss, Friedrich Kuhne

Screenwriter: Otto Rippert and Robert Neuss

Based on a story by Robert Reinert

Serial film, 6 episodes, total length 401 minutes; B/W

This 6-part silent German serial, the most popular of the WWI period, tells of an artificial man created by a scientist (Kuhne) who wants to make a perfect creature of pure reason. But the result, Homunculus (the Danish actor Fonss), 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.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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