We all ready for another terrifying foray into scary German silent horror? Good, because the next film on the list is Faust, a silent film adaptation of the classic story of selling your soul to the devil.
Anyway, Mr Angel and Mr Devil decide the do the only think angels and demons with an eternity of time to waste really can do: they sit around and make bets on the humans. If the Devil can corrupt Faust, he gets to rule over Earth. If Faust remains good, then...he doesn't get to rule over Earth. And so it's on like Donkey Kong.
The Devil sends in the plague, the plan being that Faust will get so desperate for a way to save his people, that he will be willing to turn to the Dark Side. I think the least the effeminate angel guy could have done is shoot some divine inspiration Faust's way, so he could think up a cure for the plague. I mean...this is why people make pacts with the devil. Say what you will about the Unholy Master, he takes initiative.
Faust tries his best to help the townspeople, he really does. But when he sees so many people dying so quickly, he starts to lose faith, and the Devil takes advantage of his opportunity. He offers to be Faust's servant, and to do whatever he wishes. The Devil's even business savvy enough to include a free one day trial with a soul-back guarantee.
So Faust signs the contract, heals all the gross dying people...and is quickly shunned as a warlock or something. He leaves with the devil, becomes all youngified, and goes on a tirade of debauchery that would make the Marquis de Sade go white and steady himself on the furniture.
Until he meets a beautiful girl who is as pure as the driven snow...and proceeds to ruin her. He knocks her up, which leads to a shit ton of slut-shaming and her expulsion from the town. The shots of Gretchen as she stumbles around, clutching her baby to her chest as a harsh wind blows at her cloak, are melodramatic but ultimately heartbreaking. Nearly frozen to death, she hallucinates a cradle and puts her baby in it. Men in uniform find the two of them covered in snow, the infant dead -- and they arrest her for killing her child. Because let's just add to the pile of shit this poor girl is forced to go through just because she happens to be a woman.
Faust shows up at the last minute while she is burning at the stake, and they burn together. God decides to solve the whole bet with Satan thing Huey Lewis and the News style -- through the Power of Love.
- The filmmakers make a good decision with the heavy use of fog. When you obscure the shot that much, it makes the special effects like 35-45% less shitty looking.
- "He seeks gold and the Philosopher's Stone!" Holy shit, so Faust is Voldemort?
- I love the shot of the devil with his huge black wings hovering over the city so that he pretty much blocks out the sun.
- So...all the people carting away the dead bodies of the plague victims are dressed like the KKK. Why is this? Are racists immune to the bubonic plague? Further research must be done.
- I really like how narration heavy this film is -- how much it relies on the intertitle cards to help tell the story. It cuts out a lot of horribly emphatic gesturing and lets the director focus instead on setting up some genuinely spooky shots.
- I am legitimately frightened by all the people with glowing eyes. That shit horrifies me. Well done, movie made 85 years ago.
- I love that Satan is business savvy enough to offer a free trail with a soul back guarantee.
- I'm sorry, young Faust is wearing way too much makeup. It's a little ridiculous. I mean look at this douche.
- You have to give it to this movie, though: it's got some pretty impressive special effects. I mean, come on, the zoom lens wasn't even invented yet. Or slinkies. We are talking about a pre-slinky society, yet they were able to accomplish some pretty amazing things on camera.
- This guy is totally ripping off Aladdin! He shows up at the palace with a huge parade of elephants, his magical assistant, and a turban. And now my mind is blown, because that means Robin Williams is the devil. Although some small part of me has always known that.
- Wow...the devil just offered Faust an orgy. I know that pre-code films, especially international ones, got up to some pretty crazy shenanigans, but it still surprises me when I see the word orgy in a silent film.
- But why is the devil spending all his time with this one dude? Presumably he's got other souls he needs to attend to. And what would happen if there were two people who sold their soul to the devil, and they wished for something that conflicted with the other guy's wish. Like, say two guys wished for the same girl. What happens then? Does the devil make provisions for this type of scenario? Does he have a legal department on retained for when that kind of thing happens? Wait...what am I saying? He's the devil. Of course he has a team of lawyers.
- OK, the devil needs to get rid of that ridiculous feather in his hair. He looks like a douchey, evil version of Liberace. Why is he romancing the aunt anyway? And why is everyone suddenly running around like it's an episode of Benny Hill?
- I love that it's totally cool to tie a woman up in the town square and publicly jeer her because she had sex. [political comment] Rick Santorum would love it there. [/political comment]