Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! In addition to covering all of my usual topics I spend each October sprinkling in neglected horror movies, stories and novels.
Isabella of Egypt is a very obscure 1812 Gothic Horror novella by Ludwig Achim Von Arnim. Under the more evocative title Alraune and the Golem it was to be filmed as a silent movie in 1919 but unfortunately it was never completed or is one of the countless silent films that have not survived to the present day (sources vary).
The story is set in the 16th Century and features the real-life Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, but in his teen years, right before he assumed the throne first of Spain and later of the H.R. Empire. The novella is not a horror classic per se, but is very eerie and features an odd variety of horrific supernatural figures in Monster Rally fashion. The story takes a variety of twists and turns too detailed for a quick synopsis but here is a look at the main characters:
ISABELLA – The main character, a teenage Gypsy girl whose father was Gypsy royalty and after he is hanged she becomes Queen of all the Gypsies. (This novel adheres to the version of Gypsy mythology which states that they were descendants of the ancient Egyptians, hence the title Isabella of Egypt even though the story takes place in various German locations.)
Isabella’s beauty spellbinds various men including the youthful Charles. The monstrous Mandragore lusts after her as well and plans to force her into an unholy union. Continue reading
Here’s a look at seven of the neglected monsters Balladeer’s Blog has covered over the years. These horrific figures deserve as much love as the better known characters like Dracula or La Lorona.
First Appearance: Isabella of Egypt (1812)
Cryptid Category: Living Dead Servant
Lore: A misanthropic mercenary soldier grown disgusted with the human race accepted a bargain with Satan: in exchange for a period of years spent without shaving or bathing and wearing nothing but a bearskin he would be rewarded in the end. That reward: after finally shaving and bathing at the end of his time as a hermit he was incredibly handsome and well-built.
On top of that the Devil granted him a fortune in jewels and coins, making him the ultimate catch – physically perfect AND wealthy. In return Satan claimed the souls of the Barenhauter’s dumped former lovers, who would take their own lives in despair. (It was implied that the Barenhauter also had incomparable amatory skills on top of wealth and handsomeness.)
After death the Barenhauter paid his own price for his deal with the Devil. Anyone who came into possession of any part of his former treasure could summon him from his grave to serve them in any way they wanted (usually for evil purposes). The revenant’s perfectly-preserved body never tired and felt no pain. Continue reading