Häxan

Häxan

Directed by Benjamin Christensen • 1922 • Denmark
Starring Benjamin Christensen, Astrid Holm, Karen Winther

Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages and early modern era suffered from the same ills as psychiatric patients diagnosed with hysteria in the film's own time. Far from a dry dissertation on the topic, the film itself is a witches’ brew of the scary, the gross, and the darkly humorous. Christensen’s mix-and-match approach to genre anticipates gothic horror, documentary re-creation, and the essay film, making for an experience unlike anything else in the history of cinema.

Subscribe Share
Häxan
  • Häxan

    Directed by Benjamin Christensen • 1922 • Denmark
    Starring Benjamin Christensen, Astrid Holm, Karen Winther

    Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that th...

Extras

  • HÄXAN Commentary

    Recorded in 2001, this commentary features Danish film scholar Casper Tybjerg, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

  • Benjamin Christensen on HÄXAN

    In 1941, HÄXAN director Benjamin Christensen filmed this short introduction for the rerelease of his film.

  • HÄXAN Outtakes

  • Witchcraft Through the Ages

    WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES, a version of HÄXAN released in 1968, represents one of several cinematic collaborations between avant-gardists Antony Balch, Brion Gysin, and William S. Burroughs. Daniel Humair wrote the jazz score, which features, among others, Jean-Luc Ponty on violin.