The Janus Collection
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages
dir. Benjamin Christensen, Denmark, 1922, 35mm, b/w, Danish w/ English subtitles, 87 min.
Grave robbing, torture,
possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary film
uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that
the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as
turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. But the film itself is far from
serious—instead it’s a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.
This version of the 1922 silent film was re-edited in 1968 with narration by William S. Burroughs and a soundtrack featuring Jean-Luc Ponty.