Cover image for Häxan ett kulturhistorist föredrag i levande bilder i 7 avdelningar
Häxan ett kulturhistorist föredrag i levande bilder i 7 avdelningar
Christensen, Benjamin, 1879-1959.
[DVD version].
Publication Information:
[Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 videodisc (179 min.) : sound, color (restored tinting) ; 4 3/4 in.
In a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that witches of the middle ages and turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients suffer from the same type of hysteria. Its a witches brew of the scary, the gross and the darkly humorous.
General Note:
Originally produced as a motion picture in 1922 by Svensk filmindustri.

Special features: New digital, speed-corrected transfer-tinted restored ; music from the original Danish premiere ; commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg ; Benjamin Christensen's introduction to the 1941 re-release ; a short selection of outtakes ; "Bibliothèque Diabolique": a photographic exploration of Christensen's historical sources ; stills gallery ; Witchcraft through the ages : 76 minute version of Häxan, narrated by William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring Jean-Luc Ponty.

For specific features see interactive menu.
Häxan (104 min.) -- Witchcraft through the ages (76 min.)
Reading Level:
Not rated by MPAA.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 3855 Adult DVD Media Room-Foreign Language Video
DVD 3855 Adult DVD Audio Visual

On Order



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 eyes from the screen. Though obviously a work of pure imagination, the film occasionally takes on the dimensions of a documentary, a byproduct of the extensive research done by Christensen before embarking on the project (incidentally, the director himself can be seen in the film in a dual role as Satan and the Doctor). Häxan marked a parting of the ways for Christensen and the Danish film industry; thereafter, he confined his activities to the German cinema, before answering Hollywood's call in 1928. A separate version of this film exists, with a shorter running time, retitled Witchcraft Through the Ages and released in 1968. It features narration by the legendary Beat writer William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch) and a score by Jean-Luc Ponty. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi