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 a precursor to the essay film, or maybe just the mondo film. Christensen’s film is a silent documentary about witchcraft in many of its aspects, the medieval women who believed themselves to be witches, the Inquisition that tortured, drowned and burned them (and many others wrongfully accused) and especially the lurid fantasies that the medieval mind had about them. It starts off like a lecture, but quickly moves into some amazing dramatic enactments. Witches using rotting hanged man’s fingers for potions, amazing (for 1922) special effects footage of dozens of witches flying on broomsticks, an incredibly blasphemous Witches’ Sabbath where demons cavort and lech, un-baptized babies are cooked and everyone ritualistically kisses the devil’s ass, a stop-motion animation demon clawing through a door (in 1922!), an old crone giving birth to a string of creepy crawlies. Fun for the family! In some of the scenes, the director himself hilariously plays the Devil as a hairy pot-bellied tongue-waggling satyr, constantly popping up to terrorize friars and seduce beautiful young wives. (In an extraordinarily cheeky move, he also gives himself a small cameo as Jesus.) If all that’s not enough, we get to see the Inquisition at work. Thumbscrews, the rack, and stocks, entire families taken and babies used to extort confessions from their mothers. A masochistic monk gets scourged and an entire convent has a Satanic panic attack. (Wonder if Ken Russell ever saw this.) It’s all followed by a coda equating witchery with “female hysteria” (as they used to call it) and ambiguously seems to simultaneously praise “modern” psychiatry as a solution and subtly (perhaps unconsciously) present it as a “civilized” continuation of the witch hunts. And how does this film about Girls Gone Wild old school end? With one single word. SLUT. What more need they say?