Häxan (1922)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Release Date - Sep 18, 1922 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - Sweden  |  
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Häxan is a fictional horror film in the form of a documentary, featuring crude black-and-white cinematography, a nonlinear structure, and grotesque imagery. If this reminds you of The Blair Witch Project (1999), it's no coincidence -- the makers of that film named their production company "Haxan" as a tribute to Benjamin Christensen's film. Häxan's inconsistent production values and rough visual motifs enhance its effectiveness, adding a sheen of authenticity to the film's passively voyeuristic approach. Multiple versions exist, including sound releases in the 1940s and 1960s. The latter features narration by Beat generation icon William S. Burroughs, though his interesting commentary is somewhat offset by a distracting and inappropriate modern jazz score. Despite censors' efforts to ban it, Häxan was a persistent influence on 20th century filmmakers, in particular on the works of Val Lewton.