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 »
After being forcefully inducted as a soldier into war in 14th century Japan, his wife and mother remain living in a swamp. They eke out their living by ambushing worn-out warriors, killing ... See full summary »
Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical ... See full summary »
A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant. Only the girl's brother and a... See full summary »
A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis ... See full summary »
A trio of atmospheric horror tales about: A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past; a Russian count in the early 1800s who stumbles upon a ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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 »
Centuries have passed and the Almighty of medieval times no longer sits in his tenth sphere.
We no longer sit in church staring terrified at the frescoes of the devils.
The witch no longer flies away on her broom over the rooftops.
But isn't superstition still rampant among us?
Is there an obvious difference between the sorceress and her customer then and now?
We no longer burn our old and poor. But do they not often suffer bitterly?
And the little woman, whom we call hysterical, alone and ...
[...] See more »
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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