400 in ’15: #396: Häxan

I’ve taken on the challenge of trying to watch 400 films in 2015. I will update this blog after each one and hopefully write a small blurb (NOT necessarily a review) about it. Come along for the journey, won’t you!?

Number: 396
Film: Häxan
Released: 1922
Director: Benjamin Christensen
Viewed previously?: No

Haxan_sv_poster

Häxan is a Swedish/Danish silent film released in 1922.

It is presented mainly as a documentary focused on studying superstition, mental illness and mass hysteria that lead to the witch-hunts in the 15th century.

It’s incredibly odd but also incredibly good.

I say it’s mainly a documentary, but there are segments that are acted out in normal drama/horror fashion that are pretty damn creepy. I can’t imagine seeing stuff like this in 1922. There’s witches doing terrible things, dead babies, torture, THE DEVIL (who looks seriously creepy) and a number of other satanic looking monsters. Mostly likely some very pioneering stuff.

It shows us witch rituals and how the devil supposedly corrupted and controlled them and other people to do heinous things and it’s all presented in this dreamlike crazy state that I can’t quite explain.

For me, it was hard going at first. I don’t think I was in the silent movie type mood. It makes things move a lot slower without voiceover, BUT as the film went on I totally got into it and ended up really enjoying this one.

I watched the Criterion collection release and was pleasantly surprised by the quality.

What a delightfully strange one.

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