Originally released in 1922, Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen created one of the most controversial films of the silent era when he produced Häxan, a semi-documentary investigation of witchcraft and occult practices in the Middle Ages. Featuring powerful images taken from vintage artwork of magic and occult practices through history, Häxan not only shocked audiences with its depiction of demons and Satanic practices, it included nudity and sexual content that would have been all but impossible to portray in an American film of the same vintage. Häxan became a cult favorite when it was rediscovered in the '60s, with underground cinemas embracing the film for its striking visual style and subversive nature. In 1968, a new edition of Häxan was released, using the alternate title Witchcraft Through the Ages; this reissue was shorter than the original silent presentation, but featured a new narration from novelist William S. Burroughs, as well as an original music score by jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. This edition has earned a loyal following of its own, thanks to the dour wit of Burroughs' narration, and this release features the soundtrack to the 1968 edition of Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages in all its disturbing glory.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming