Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (The Witches) (Haxan) (1929)
Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 2
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Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0
Average Rating: 3.9/5
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Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen's obsession with bizarre lighting effects reached its apotheosis with his 1922 masterpiece Häxan. Beginning in a deceptively sedate fashion with a series of woodcuts and engravings (a technique later adopted by RKO producer Val Lewton), the film then shifts into gear with a progression of dramatic vignettes, illustrating the awesome power of witchcraft in the Middle Ages. So powerful are some of these images that even some modern viewers will avert their
May 27, 1929 Wide
Oct 16, 2001
International Telefilm Enterprises
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Swedish and Danish pictures easily hold the palm for morbid realism and in many cases for brilliant acting and production.
A silent curiosity made in Denmark in 1922, with an episodic, rhetorical structure that would have appealed to Jean-Luc Godard.
A weird and rather wonderful brew of fiction, documentary and animation based on 15th and 16th century witchcraft trials, Christensen's film has a remarkable visual flair that takes in Bosch, Breughel and Goya.
In fact Haxan is a deeply rationalistic piece of humanism, exposing the horrors of superstition and hysteria rather than of witchcraft itself.
Begins as a documentary about witches but turns into a real, honest-to-goodness horror film with scary images of witches, devils, evil spells, etc.
Ostensibly an exposé of religious persecution born from ignorance of science ... or, when filtered through the bong water of the psychedelic '60s to become Witchcraft Through the Ages, a trippy exercise in surreal pop filmmaking extravagance.
The sophistication of these 1920 special effects are hard to believe
One of the earliest films that takes misogyny and sexual repression as its subject.
Fascinating pioneering horror
Before you think the filmmaker is one sick dude, he also develops scenarios to show how innocent women are deceived and trapped into witch accusations...
The film stands as a fascinating historical document, and, more surprisingly, as a thoroughly watchable film.
Viewers who think "silent" films are boring and primitive would do well to start with this one as an example of how advanced they really were.
Benjamin Christensen's pioneering look at ancient Scandinavian witchcraft is impressive and genuinely disturbing.
Audience Reviews for Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (The Witches) (Haxan)
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