Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Haxan (1922)

The little known 'trial by whining and pissing yourself' method

Genre: Silent Horror Documentary (Denmark, Sweden)

Starring: Maren Pedersen, Benjamin Christensen

Directed By: Benjamin Christensen

Overview: This docu-horror of witchcraft focuses on how inquisitioners worked their confessions, and alludes to the medical causes for such signs of commerce with the Devil.

Acting: The roles were pretty intense, I'll admit it. If you've been keeping up with my reviews of late though, this one had a bit of the same issue as every other film of its era: Melodrama. I guess a study of hysteria will do that.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The medieval pictures and frescos of demons and Inquisitors didn't impress me much, but the costumes of the actual demons and that mechanical hell were very interesting. I want one, seriously. I just wish that there had been more displays of torture. They show the instruments but don't actually use them. Call me sick, I don't care.
Rating: 7

Script: Haxan, meaning witch, is mostly documentary. By that I mean it's mostly history lessons. It doesn't start off too interestingly, with all its text, but sometimes it's so good that it's frustrating to think "How did witches ever get out of being accused?" I think the answer is 'not'. Let's say unimpressively decent.
Rating: 7

Plot: It starts with a brief history, goes into witchcraft and how the witches were accused and made to confess, then into the fact that all these symptoms of witchcraft could be attributable to hysteria, which was interesting, but not that interesting. The story seemed a little too rigid, too antiseptic, with too much learning and not enough fiction. They did have a good little section there in the middle (most of the movie actually), but I just couldn't get into it like I had hoped.
Rating: 7

Mood: The devils with their tongues hanging out, honestly was the best part. I got a kick out of it every time. Going from baby sacrifices to doctors offices and spanning the history of witchcraft through the ages was a little engrossing, and the music was good, but I hoped for more, much more.
Rating: 8

A pinch of disembowelled baby makes a HUGE difference to Evil Stew. You'll taste it right away.

Overall Rating: 72% (Haxan, Hax Off)

Aftertaste: Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this thing, though I HAVE eagerly been waiting to see it, as one of the 1001 Movies on that list of mine. It seemed more like an outdated school video lesson. Sure it had it's moments, but overall it just didn't capture me fully.