Häxan

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 is proud to present two versions of this genre-defying “documentary,” for the first time ever on DVD.

Film Info

Special Features

  • Häxan (1922), a new digital, speed-corrected transfer of the Swedish Film Institute’s tinted restoration
  • Music from the original Danish premiere, arranged by film music specialist Gillian Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra, presented in Dolby Digital 5.0
  • Commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg
  • Benjamin Christensen’s introduction to the 1941 rerelease
  • A short selection of outtakes
  • Bibliothèque Diabolique: a photographic exploration of Christensen’s historical sources
  • Stills gallery
  • New English translation of intertitles
  • Witchcraft Through the Ages (1968), the 76-minute version of Häxan, narrated by William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring Jean-Luc Ponty
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

New cover by Eva Wah

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films

DVD Box Set

50 Discs

$650.00

Special Features

  • Häxan (1922), a new digital, speed-corrected transfer of the Swedish Film Institute’s tinted restoration
  • Music from the original Danish premiere, arranged by film music specialist Gillian Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra, presented in Dolby Digital 5.0
  • Commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg
  • Benjamin Christensen’s introduction to the 1941 rerelease
  • A short selection of outtakes
  • Bibliothèque Diabolique: a photographic exploration of Christensen’s historical sources
  • Stills gallery
  • New English translation of intertitles
  • Witchcraft Through the Ages (1968), the 76-minute version of Häxan, narrated by William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring Jean-Luc Ponty
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

New cover by Eva Wah

Häxan
Cast
Benjamin Christensen
The devil
Astrid Holm
The scribe's wife, Anna
Karen Winther
Anna's sister
Maren Pedersen
Maria the weaver, a witch
Wilhelmine Henriksen
Apelone, a poor old woman
Kate Fabian
Old maid
Oscar Stribolt
Friar
Clara Pontoppidan
Sister Cecilia, a nun
Alice O'Fredericks
Nun
Johannes Andersen
Father Henrik, witch judge
Elith Pio
Johannes, witch judge
Aage Hertel
Witch judge
Ib Schønberg
Witch judge
Credits
Director
Benjamin Christensen
Screenplay
Benjamin Christensen
Cinematography
Johan Ankerstjerne
Editing
Edla Hansen
Set decoration
Richard Louw

From The Current

Guillermo del Toro’s Top 10

In compiling his top ten Criterions, Cronos director Guillermo del Toro had a hell of a time limiting himself. Del Toro humorously bemoaned the “unfair, arbitrary, and sadistic top ten practice,” so instead he decided on ties or rather, “themat


Guy Maddin’s Top 10

Canadian filmmaker and writer Guy Maddin’s Brand Upon the Brain!, featuring Isabella Rossellini as the narrator, was released on DVD from the Criterion Collection in 2008. Maddin also contributed an essay on Kirk Douglas for our release of Billy Wi


Peter Cowie’s Top 10

Peter Cowie has provided commentaries for around a dozen Criterion titles. His latest book, Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, is available from Rizzoli.


Häxan

Born in Denmark in 1879, Benjamin Christensen had a varied career before he entered the Danish film industry as an actor and writer in 1912. The first two films he directed, The Mysterious X (1913) and The Night of Revenge (1915), have a visual sophi…

By Chris Fujiwara


Häxan: About the Music

Häxan had its world premiere in Stockholm, on September 18, 1922. The score that accompanied the film was compiled from preexisting compositions, the names of which have unfortunately been lost. But, thanks to a published list, we do know what music…

By Gillian Anderson