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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Häxan (1922) The Witches or Witchcraft Through The Ages & The Golem (1915) DVD



Häxan (Danish title: Heksen; English title: The Witches or Witchcraft Through The Ages) is a 1922 Swedish/Danish silent horror film written, directed and starred Benjamin Christensen. Based partly on Christensen's study of the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th-century German guide for inquisitors, Häxan is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts.

The film was made as a documentary but contains dramatized sequences that are comparable to horror films.

With Christensen's meticulous recreation of medieval scenes and the lengthy production period, the film was the most expensive Scandinavian silent film ever made, costing nearly two million Swedish kronor.

Although it won acclaim in Denmark and Sweden, the film was banned in the United States and heavily censored in other countries for what were considered at that time graphic depictions of torture, nudity and sexual perversion.

Janus, 1968 release, entitled Witchcraft Through the Ages. This version featured an eclectic jazz score by Daniel Humair (played by a quintet including Jean-Luc Ponty on violin and Daniel Humair on percussion) and dramatic narration by William S. Burroughs. (Run time: 1hr 16min 43sec)


The Golem (German: Der Golem, shown in the USA as The Monster of Fate) is a 1915 silent horror film written and directed by Paul Wegener and Henrik Galeen. It is inspired by ancient Jewish legend. It is a long lost film, though the Deutsche Kinemathek film archive possesses "108 meter fragments".

(Silentera.com states, however, that a "print exists".

It is the first of a trilogy by Wegener, followed by The Golem and the Dancing Girl (1917) and The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920). David Brooks, writing as a columnist for Minnesota Daily, said the film "deals with the tragic issues in life." (Run time: 1 hr 41min 23sec)

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