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Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages

Possessed nuns, grave robbing and a satanic Sabbath: in Benjamin Christensen’s unbelievable silent film. It explores the suffering of witches of the Medieval ages and early Modern era. It is a documentary of Gothic horror that is unlike any in the history of cinema.

“In bringing together witch-finding judges, convent misdeeds, and black magic, Häxan prefigures no fewer than three cinematic sub-genres that would later become popular.”

Häxan also referred to as The Witches or Witchcraft Through the Ages in English. It is a Swedish-Danish documentary. The movie revolves around the women who were labeled as witches. It was one of the most expensive silent film that costs between 1.5 and 2 million Swedish kroner. Most of the films during the time were made after literary texts but Christensen was inspired from non- fiction works. One of them being Malleus Maleficarum usually translated as the Hammer of Witches. The text was a popular treatise on witchcraft. He also studies papers and illustrations on witches and witch-hunting.

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Weird gets WEIRD-ER in Häxan

“The belief in evil spirits, sorcery, and witchcraft is the result of naive notions about the mystery of the universe”

-Benjamin Christensen

Häxan revolves around witches and witchcraft

Through the ages, Häxan has been a visual masterpiece for its time. It shows the Salem witches going through mental illnesses. When the film twists away from its informational parts into its sketch, that’s when the real horror kicks in. The director presents a terrifying Satan that attracts women from their bedroom in the middle of the night. There are also detailed clips of torture, grave robbing, and nudity through an artistic perspective rather than a grotesque one. In spite of all the efforts, the film was banned in the United States but was highly acclaimed in Denmark and Sweden. The most disturbing footage was recycled most of them being considered as a maniac.

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“The devil is real. I have seen him sitting by my bedside.”

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Torajans performing the Ritual of Dead

Weird and disturbing century-old traditions are still followed in Indonesia . Death for most cultures and individuals results in grave mourning. However, the occasion of death is considered as a celebration for the people of Tana Toraja. These rituals are the most important and complex practices in the county.

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Saumyaa Bisht
About author

I love to read about unsettling and dark things/concepts/rituals that people usually like to ignore and I’m extremely fond of literature and movies.
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