"Haxan (Witchcraft Through the
Directed by Benjamin Christensen
While not as well known as Nosferatu or The
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, this incredible silent feature has had a major
influence on the horror film, from the eerie Val Lewton productions to
The Blair Witch Project (whose makers named their production company
Haxan). A "history" of witchcraft is presented through reenactments of
rituals described in witchcraft trials of the 15th and 16th centuries, with
incredible imagery (including some animation) and a darkly humorous streak
aimed at then-contemporary psychiatric practices. This set includes a
speed-corrected transfer of the Swedish Film Institute's tinted restoration
(104 mins.), featuring music from the original Danish premiere, as well as a
more commonly seen, 1968 re-release (74 mins.) narrated by William S.
Burroughs with music by Jean-Luc Ponty.
104 minutes/74 minutes.