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Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)
"Häxan" (original title)

 -  Horror  -  27 May 1929 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,942 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 62 critic

A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maren Pedersen ...
Heksen / The Witch
Clara Pontoppidan ...
Nonne / Nun
Elith Pio ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge (The Young Monk)
Oscar Stribolt ...
Graabroder / Doctor (The Fat Monk)
Tora Teje ...
En hysterisk kvinde / Modern Hysteric (The Kelptomaniac)
John Andersen ...
Chief Inquisitor (as Johs Andersen)
Benjamin Christensen ...
Djævlen / The Devil
Poul Reumert ...
Juveler / Jeweler
Karen Winther ...
Anna
Kate Fabian ...
Gammel jomfru / Old Maid
Else Vermehren ...
Nonne / Nun
Astrid Holm ...
Anna
Johannes Andersen ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge
Gerda Madsen ...
Nonne / Nun
Aage Hertel ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge
Edit

Storyline

A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan cultures in the Middle Ages regarding their vision of demons and witches. Then there is a dramatization of the situation of the witches in the Middle Ages, witchcraft and witch-hunts. Finally the film compares the behavior of hysteria of contemporary (1921) women with the behavior of the witches in the Middle Ages, concluding that they are very similar. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

witchcraft | demon | hysteria | pagan | monk | See more »

Taglines:

Benjamin Christensens stora film.

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 May 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

SEK 2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1968 re-release) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to playing the devil, director Benjamin Christensen also has a brief appearance as Christ. He also appears as himself in the very first shot of the film. See more »

Goofs

The kleptomaniac and the jeweler enter through a door on the right-hand side of the room. In the next shot, they are standing on the left side on the room, and the objects on the shelf behind them have changed position. The shot in which they enter is flipped (look closely at the buttons on the actors' clothes). See more »

Quotes

Title Card: Centuries have passed and the Almighty of medieval times no longer sits in his tenth sphere.
Title Card: We no longer sit in church staring terrified at the frescoes of the devils.
Title Card: The witch no longer flies away on her broom over the rooftops.
Title Card: But isn't superstition still rampant among us?
Title Card: Is there an obvious difference between the sorceress and her customer then and now?
Title Card: We no longer burn our old and poor. But do they not often suffer bitterly?
Title Card: And the little woman, whom we call hysterical, alone and ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Benjamin Christensen personally thanks his cinematographer and art director through the opening titles. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Atmospheric, nightmarish, and even a bit silly
4 February 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Directed by Scandinavian filmmaker Benjamin Christensen, ‘Haxan' / ‘Witchcraft Through the Ages' (1922) is a head-trippy silent film depicting black magic, witchcraft, and demonology from the middle ages to the 20th century. Shot and presented in documentary form, the film is more akin to a pseudo-scholarly lecture with moving visual aids. Not as intense or as shocking today as upon its initial release, the film is filled with nightmarish images that are certainly profane and explicit, but also humorous and downright silly.

Yes, sex goes hand-in-hand with Satan, and Christensen's flamboyant portrayal of the aforementioned character, complete with flicking, wanton tongue, drives home the point (well, that and a peppering of nudity). Unique to say the least, ‘Haxan' is a rather weird curio of a film with some incredibly atmospheric, somewhat graphic images, esp. for that era.

The Criterion dvd includes the silent original and the 1968 re-release with an electric jazz-fusion score by Jean Luc Ponty and narration by William S. Burroughs. Burroughs' voice is a treat in itself, and the jazz-fusion score is absolutely frenetic. --- david ross smith


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