Video Review

Witchcraft Through the Ages (1991)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Details Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Documentary; With: William S. Burroughs; Distributor: MPI Home Video

Which is stranger: witchcraft itself, or movies about witchcraft? Witchcraft Through the Ages is an eye-popping cultural artifact, a vividly embroidered documentary produced in Sweden in 1922 and here narrated in English by author William S. Burroughs. After tracing witchcraft's rise through a series of lurid engravings, Burroughs brings us to the Middle Ages (''when the devil's deeds ran rampant''), and the on-screen images switch to subtitled dramatizations of toad-eating witches and torture-loving witch-hunters. Next we're in the ''modern era,'' where, Burroughs tells us, witchcraft takes the form of psychic hysteria and other alleged ''mental illnesses.'' In this case, the witchcraft movie is surely as strange as its subject. B

Originally posted Aug 09, 1991 Published in issue #78 Aug 09, 1991 Order article reprints

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