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Haxan - Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)
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Description Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensens 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 seriousinstead its a witches brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous. The Criterion Collection is proud to present two versions of this genre-defying documentary, for the first time ever on DVD.

Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen's obsession with bizarre lighting effects reached its apotheosis with his 1920 masterpiece Witchcraft Through the Ages. 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) Also known as Haxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages 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. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Region Encoding: Region 0
Country of Origin: Sweden
Original Language: Swedish
Subtitles Available: Optional English
Theatrical Release: 1922 & 1968
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2001
Video Presentation: Color (Restored Tinting)
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Label CRRN - Criterion
Number 010
Subsidiary Artists: Benjamin Christensen, Clara Pontoppidan, Oscar Stribolt, Astrid Holm, Maren Pedersen
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