One of my ancestors was hung for being a witch.
When I speak of it or think of it, it gives me chills.
As Danish director Benjamin Christensen makes so clear in this masterpiece.
Häxan is Swedish for “witch”.
Our film was released by Svensk Filmindustri: a Swedish film production company which still exists to this day.
Thus the Swedish title. And the Swedish premier(s) in 1922. And the Swedish intertitles.
The Danish would be Heksen.
Swedish, Danish, English…
Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.
This is the horror of religion. The horror of irrationality. Violence against women. Abuse of the elderly. Mistreatment of the mentally ill.
Christensen’s film is a masterpiece precisely because it combines the clarity of modern thought with the mists of medieval superstition.
It begins almost as a documentary.
Unlike me, he lists his sources.
But then the film takes on a life of its own.
As if the director was not quite sure whether to dismiss superstition outright.
As if some dark Freudian specters were haunting his deliberate phantasmagoria.
It was meant to be a lucid montage.
But the letters became transposed.
Lucid, Lurid. Live. Evil.
Miles Davis had it right. And Howlin’ Wolf (by way of Willie Dixon) [not to mention Howlin’ Pelle].
Svensk Filmindustri. Founded a mere three years before Häxan.
Only fitting that the parent company (Bonnier Group) should have its roots in København.
Because Benjamin Christensen is brilliant as the Devil.
And now for the juicy stuff.
Not Hell, but Hellerup. Denmark.
Birthplace of Stine Fischer Christensen (ooh la la!).
But we’re mainly interested in ASA Filmudlejning.
Or are we?
An unfinished symphony of horror.
…eine Symphonie des Grauens
Possessed by self-punishment.
And even more wait.
Tom Waits for no man.
I was tricked.
Must have been needles and pins. Voodoo.
He can’t even remember her name.
Ripped my heart from my chest.
Call it punk rock.
Moloch. Bohemian Grove.
If it’s all a bunch of bollocks, then these blokes are just bluffing, right?
-George Creel (investigative journalist and propagandist)
-Harlan Crow (this guy…son of Trammell Crow…buddy of Clarence Thomas [more on him later]…Thomas, who gave Crow the Bible of Frederick Douglass [what the fuck?!?]…Crow…owns at least one painting by Hitler…Napoleon’s writing desk…the Duke of Wellington’s sword [ca. 1815]…but weirdest is his Alec Trevelyan (006) / Janus sculpture garden which includes such spoils of war as Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Marx, Mubarak, Tito, Ceausescu, and Guevara)
-David Gergen (of course)
-John Lehman (9/11 commission)
-Henry S. Morgan (cofounder Morgan Stanley)
-Reagan (Owl’s Nest)
-George Shultz [sick]
-Tony Snow [“]
Weaving spiders come not here.