Director: Benjamin Christensen
Year Released: 1922
Quasi-documentary about medieval times, the fear of witches and general religious paranoia - it begins by showing slides of artworks by Dürer and Bosch before switching to the 'reenactments,' with the Devil (played by Christensen) showing up in bedroom windows, women giving birth to demons that look like seahorses, goblins, several smoke machines, and frenetic priests deciding which people are witches and should be drowned. The director has said (in an introduction to the picture years later) that it's meant to be an earnest examination of the past - it does conclude with some tossed-off armchair Freudian analysis, chalking all the lunacy to simple hysteria - but is just too silly and dated to accept in that way - it replays the past as a sensationalized costume horror show, and the Satan character, with its wagging tongue and lust for women, cannot possibly be taken seriously. In the late sixties, the film was rediscovered and William S. Burroughs provided the narration - in some ways, I prefer this re-do, because it eliminates the countless title cards and allows you to concentrate on the images.