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Häxan (1922) – Episode 79 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Here, young maiden, take a potion of cat feces and dove hearts, boiled during the full moon. A drop of this in a man’s drink will soften his heart at once.” Yummy, yummy, yummy. I’ve got love in my tummy. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Jeff Mohr and special guest host Ralph Miller – as they learn about witchcraft through the ages with Benjamin Christensen’s innovative silent film, Häxan (1922).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 79 – Häxan (1922)

Part history lesson followed by re-enactments with actors, this film depicts the history of witchcraft from its earliest days through to the present day (in this case, 1922 or thereabouts). The result is a documentary-like film that must be among the first to use re-enactments as a visual and narrative tool. From pagan worship to satanic rites to hysteria, the film takes you on a journey through the ages with highly effective visual sequences.

IMDb

Your Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue-Crew takes a deeper dive than usual into Häxan. As an innovative, seminal film, it demands the added attention. Crewmate Joseph Perry is unable to join the Grue-Crew for this episode but special effects artist Ralph Miller is an eager and more than able guest host. 

Ralph considers Häxan to be quite an ambitious film, especially for the time, with its imagery of witches and the devil. Whitney is stunned by the beautiful yet very strange artistry of Häxan, which is unlike anything she’s ever seen. The images that played out in the film were startling to Chad, but what really grabbed him is how superstition and mental illness led to women experiencing accusations of witchcraft, persecution, suffering, and death. 

If you haven’t seen Häxan, you need to remedy that condition immediately. If you haven’t seen it for a while, it’s time to watch it again. The film is readily available to stream from various sources and on a stunning Criterion Blu-ray.

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era puts out a new episode every two weeks. The next episode in their very flexible schedule will be War of the Colossal Beast (1958), chosen by Chad.

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To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk.

Jeff has written for Horrornews.net and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.
Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for Horrornews.net and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.