Skip to main content

HAXAN: WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES

Sweden, 1922 (MIFF 2001, Shadows – The Dark Side of Cinema)

Director: Benjamin Christensen

Silent, Satanic and surreal. This unique event combines a supernatural archival jewel with live music by DJ David Franzke. According to film historian Ado Kyrou, in order to sneak his "shocking indictment of the criminal church, its inquisition and instruments of torture" past the censors, director Benjamin Christensen disguised Haxan as a documentary. In truth the film consists of accounts of persecution, tribulation, witch trial hysteria, lesbian nuns and lascivious monks. Utilising animation and special effects incredibly advanced for the 1920s, the director captures black sabbaths with bizarre sexual rituals and fiery appearances by the Dark lord himself.

Christensen is not without a sense of humour and takes plenty of opportunities to mercilessly mock the clergy. The cinematography is reminiscent of the grotesqueries of Bosch and Goya. Gloomy forests are aiive with deformed deities; secret witch lairs are choked with the smoke from spell-casting.

DJ David Franzke has worked at Lounge under the Rancho Relaxo banner, was founder/resident at Lure and is currently a regular at centriphugal. He has recently completed a score for the Arena Theatre/Queensland Theatre co-production Game Girl and has On The Fly, an album under his Tetethok moniker, due for release shortly.

See also...

SECRET TEARS

Early one rainy morning, insurance agent Ku-Ho having had too much to drink, runs over Mijo and in desperation, takes her home. He is stunned to learn the young girl has no apparent injuries ... More »

INUGAMI

The savage dog spirits of Shikoku are restless. Their guardians, the women of the Bonomia Clan, have kept them safely imprisoned within clay jars for a quarter century. The arrival of a handsome ... More »

BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF

Brotherhood Of The Wolf attracted more than two million movie-goers in its first week of release in France. Set during the reign of Louis IX. this ripping yarn is the story of the beast of Gevaudin ... More »

AMERICAN NIGHTMARE

The Royal Family of horror film directors, a veritable who's who of nastiness, discuss their seminal works and reflect on American society in the 60s and 70s. The central question at the core of this ... More »

SOFT FOR DIGGING

Dressed only in his long Johns and a dressing gown, an elderly loner trudges through a creepy forest looking for his cat. He doesn't find the wayward kitty but does stumble across a macabre scene: a ... More »

THE ISLE

"Hyunshik, an ex-cop in deep pain and on the lam, arrives at the end of his road, an isolated lake, dotted with floating huts, serving as a retreat for fishing and a host of sordid activities. Its ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director