7.7/10
9,743
78 user 92 critic

Häxan (1922)

Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life.

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg
Vampyr (1932)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Alice Nevalinga, Cunayou
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh
The Golem (1920)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Directors: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Stars: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch
Nosferatu (1922)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim
La roue (1923)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Séverin-Mars, Ivy Close, Gabriel de Gravone
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

Part history lesson followed by re-enactments with actors, this film takes depicts the history of witchcraft from its earliest days through to the present day (in this case,1922 or thereabouts). The result is a documentary-like film that must be among the first to use re-enactments as a visual and narrative tool. From pagan worship to satanic rites to hysteria, the film takes you on a journey through the ages with highly effective visual sequences. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Benjamin Christensens stora film.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Sweden | Denmark

Language:

Swedish | Danish

Release Date:

27 May 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Häxan See more »

Filming Locations:

Copenhagen, Denmark See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

SEK 2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1968 re-release) | (DVD) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Silent

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to the type of emulsion of the film stock used, the blue in many of the actors' blue eyes did not register, giving their eyes a glazed, unnatural appearance. See more »

Goofs

The skeletal horse-like creature wandering around during the sabbath is clearly being moved about by a couple of stage hands, hidden under the blanket that covers its "body". The feet of the crew member at the front of the monster are visible in one shot. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: Poor little hysterical witch! In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church. Now it is with the law.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Reissued in 1968 with a jazz score featuring and narration by author . See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Häxan (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

HAXAN (1922) ***1/2
13 June 2004 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

After many tribulations and false starts (including having my Order cancelled by the retailer due to lack of funds on my Credit Card and having the DVD stolen - by some stingy customs official, I presume – when it was finally shipped!), I recently managed to sit down and watch in its entirety, The Criterion Collection's DVD of Benjamin Christensen's HAXAN.

What an amazing film! What a fabulous disc! Apart from featuring a beautifully restored, tinted version of the original, full-length semi-documentary and its 1967 'revamping' for US audiences (redundant perhaps, but it is still nice to be able to compare the images in black and white), it also contains one of the best Audio Commentaries I have ever listened to. It is the work of Casper Tybjerg who also recorded an equally impressive one for the Criterion DVD of Carl Theodor Dreyer's THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC.

I think it is opportune that I mention the Dreyer film at this point because there are undeniable similarities between Christensen's film (released in 1922) and Dreyer's 'symphony of faces' (from 1928) and also his DAY OF WRATH (1943). HAXAN features two lengthy interrogation scenes involving devious clergymen and an old crone accused of witchcraft, which accusations turn out to have been true (as in DAY OF WRATH) and another one where an innocent waif is trapped into admitting her guilt (as in THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC). This is not to say that Dreyer 'lifted' these passages from Christensen's film – actually Dreyer is one of my favorite film directors and I consider THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC to be one of the greatest films ever made – but rather that he admired his work enough to pay homage to him in his later films. HAXAN also features an extensive use of close ups in its interrogation scenes, which were of course the hallmark of Dreyer's entire Joan of Arc film. Its influence may also be traced to the narrative structure of Luis Bunuel's anarchic classic of surrealism, L'AGE D'OR (1930), which testifies that Benjamin Christensen is a major artist, one who was held in high esteem by his peers in his day, but whose work was subsequently unjustly forgotten and vastly under-appreciated, due in part to its utter unavailability for serious evaluation.

HAXAN contains several incredible sequences depicting devil worship in a very vivid manner which still retain their power to shock today eighty years later. I do not know how Christensen was allowed to get away with it back then – and indeed the film was heavily censored in its initial showings around the world – but I guess it was evident that the director's aim was not to wallow gratuitously in sensationalism but to portray as realistic a tableau of witchcraft through the ages as was possible at the time. There are some scenes which make you wince once in a while (like the slaughter of the child with blood pouring down its legs into a chalice beneath it), but there is enough going on visually to take your mind off its undercurrent of gore and depravity. One cannot underestimate the fact that without HAXAN there would probably never have been such horror film touchstones like Rex Ingram's THE MAGICIAN (1926), Edgar G. Ulmer's THE BLACK CAT (1934), Jacques Tourneur's NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957), Mario Bava's BLACK Sunday (1960), John Moxey's THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960), Sidney Hayers' NIGHT OF THE EAGLE (1961), Terence Fisher's THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (1968), Roman Polanski's ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968), Michael Reeves' WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968), William Friedkin's THE EXORCIST (1973), Robin Hardy's THE WICKER MAN (1973), Richard Donner's THE OMEN (1976) and Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA (1976), all of which deal with diabolism or pagan worship.

It should be noted that Christensen himself gives a memorable performance as Satan, joyfully seducing a wife in bed next to her sleeping husband and gleefully terrorizing a priest during a moment of weakness. Unfortunately, HAXAN is the only film directed by Benjamin Christensen which is widely available today. But, if it is anything to go by, Casper Tybjerg's evaluation of the two movies which he directed prior to HAXAN, namely THE MYSTERIOUS X (1913; aka: ORDERS UNDER SEAL) and BLIND JUSTICE (1916) should dispel the myth that D.W. Griffith claimed the mantle of the first great film director when he made THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915), although the latter was certainly the first great American film-maker. However the recent apparition of two major Louis Feuillade works, FANTOMAS (1913-14; on a superb two-disc Limited Edition DVD on Region 2) and LES VAMPIRES (1915-16; released by Water Bearer Films through Image Entertainment on Region 1) should go a long way in redressing the facts and giving this unsung, barely remembered master his due. Maybe one day, we will be just as lucky in being provided with the opportunity of evaluating on DVD Benjamin Christensen's work prior to and after HAXAN. At any rate, THE DEVIL'S CIRCUS (1926; with Norma Shearer), MOCKERY (1927; with Lon Chaney), the three films he made with Thelma Todd, THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1928), SEVEN FOOTPRINTS TO Satan (1929) and THE HOUSE OF HORROR (1929) and THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1929; co-directed with Maurice Tourneur and Lucien Hubbard) should be worth watching if ever they turn up on DVD. I guess there's a pretty slim chance of that ever happening, but who knows in these cases?


38 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 78 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed