Einst sogar verboten Horror-Klassiker erscheint endlich uncut fürs Heimkino – das erste Mal auf Blu-ray und DVD

Swedish Film Industry (SF)

In the autumn of 1922, Benjamin Christensen’s “ Häxan ” celebrated its world premiere and immediately caused a lot of discussion. Depictions of violence and bare skin in various torture scenes sparked controversy. The Church almost everywhere went on the barricades against the film. Censors struck, sometimes there were cuts, sometimes bans — as in Germany. In this country, such a ban is said to have been imposed shortly after the premiere in 1924.

For a long time, the film, which is considered an important contribution to the horror genre with groundbreaking effects and still influences films today (see, for example, “ The Witch ” by Robert Eggers), was not available in Germany at all. For decades, «Häxan» was considered one of the most important horror films, but hardly anyone had seen it — or if only in an abridged version (a very popular, abridged version was released in the USA in 1968 by author William S. Burroughs was accompanied as a narrator). It was only with the internet and streaming options that horror films became more easily available, more widespread again and more or less rediscovered and celebrated. There are now countless versions of the film on YouTube.

The best horror movies of all time

While there have also been home cinema editions abroad over the years (such as in the USA in the renowned Criterion Collection), this has so far been non-existent in Germany. That is finally changing. Because «Häxan» appears in this country on Blu-ray and DVD. On its Facebook page , the Xcess Entertainment label states that the silent film classic will be released “exclusively and for the first time” on Blu-ray and DVD in this country.The publication is supported by the renowned film scholar Prof. Dr. Marcus Stiglegger. He is also a musician and even created a new soundtrack for the film with his band Vortex. The release is set to offer a restored version of the film and is expected to be released in summer/fall 2022. Further details are currently not known.

This is «Hexen» aka «Häxan»

In his documentary-like, episodically told film, director Benjamin Christensen deals with the treatment of witches over time and, in particular, with the persecution of witches. It first shows how witches are active, brewing concoctions or bewitching people, but in later sections also how they are tried and finally tortured. Christensen’s film also caused such a stir because the special effects used were revolutionary at the time and ahead of their time. This contributed to the fact that the depiction of violence and the scenes of torture caused such a stir. But there is also a lot of bare skin and clear criticism of the church.

Incidentally, the already mentioned Prof. Dr. Marcus Stiglegger in the “full screen” format from Deutschlandfunk Kultur about “Häxan”. In a short feature, together with the film journalist Susanne Burg, we talk about the 100th birthday of two horror classics this year: namely «Häxan» and also » Nosferatu «:


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