Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s 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 serious—instead it’s a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous. —The Criterion Collection
Benjamin Christensen (28 September 1879 – 2 April 1959) was a Danish film director, screenwriter and an actor both in film and on the stage. As a director he is most well known for the 1922 film Häxan and as an actor, he is best known for his performance in the film Michael (1924), in which he plays Claude Zoret, the jilted lover of the film’s title character.
Benjamin Christensen was born in Viborg and initially studied medicine, but caught the acting bug and began studies at the Det Kongelige Teater (Royal Danish Theatre) in Copenhagen in 1901. Christensen’s professional acting career began in Aarhus in 1907, but after a short stint as actor he abandoned the stage in order to become a wine salesman. In 1911, Christensen made his debut as a film actor; all of his pre-directorial efforts are lost, but among such films was Scenens børn (1913), the only motion picture directed by eminent Norwegian playwright and stage director Bjørn Bjørnson.
In 1913, Christensen… read more
So unique in the pantheon of great silent filmmaking it's amazing that more people haven't seen this; but for the fact that it's about witchcraft which I'm sure distresses some. It's my understanding that the rest of Christensen's oeuvre doesn't quite reach these heights but I'm certainly interested in seeing more from this auteur.
One of the damnedest (and I use that word advisedly) movies I’ve ever seen. Ostensibly a documentary, this can often be found (when found at all) classified as a horror movie, and in some ways it’s… read review
Unfortunately, my viewing experience with this film wasn’t at all ideal. All of the images were tinted, and it was accompanied by a mostly inappropriate score (In my opinion). But the film itself is… read review