Witchcraft through the Ages

Witchcraft through the Ages (Häxan) (movie)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

This classic from 1921, made in Sweden and directed by Benjamin Christensen, is a silent, black-and-white movie starring the director, Benjamin Christensen, as Satan and as a doctor, with Astrid Holm as Anna, and Maren Pedersen as a witch.

A feature of this movie is its bizarre yet effective lighting. It starts with a series of stills of engravings and woodcuts depicting witches and witchcraft then, suddenly, goes into a sequence of powerful vignettes showing witchcraft at work in the Middle Ages. The scenes are graphic and startling. In many respects the movie seems like a documentary and shows the extensive research done by its director prior to production. This was the last movie Christensen made for the Danish film industry. From here he went to Germany and eventually to Hollywood. Another of Christensen's movies was the 1929 The Mysterious Island with Lucien Hubbard and Maurice Tourneur.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.