Just last week, our own Witney Siebold named 1922’s Häxan: Witchcraft through the Ages the very best horror film set in the 12th century, and wouldn’t ya know it, the Criterion Collection has just announced today that Häxan is getting an upgraded Blu-ray in October!
The release will feature a new 2K digital restoration, along with the following:
- Music from the original Danish premiere, arranged by film-music specialist Gillian Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra in 2001, presented in 5.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray and in Dolby Digital 5.0 on the DVD
- Audio commentary from 2001 featuring film scholar Casper Tybjerg
- Witchcraft Through the Ages (1968), the seventy-six-minute version of Häxan, narrated by author William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring violinist Jean-Luc Ponty
- Director Benjamin Christensen’s introduction to the 1941 rerelease
- Short selection of outtakes
- Bibliothèque Diabolique: a photographic exploration of Christensen’s historical sources
- New English translation of intertitles
- PLUS: An essay by critic Chris Fujiwara, remarks on the score by Anderson, and (Blu-ray only) an essay by scholar Chloé Germaine Buckley
Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients.
Far from a dry dissertation on the topic, the film itself is a witches’ brew of the scary, the gross, and the darkly humorous. Christensen’s mix-and-match approach to genre anticipates gothic horror, documentary re-creation, and the essay film, making for an experience unlike anything else in the history of cinema.
The Blu-ray will release October 15th and you can pre-order yours today!