Sunday, October 2, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Hagazussa (2017)

Hagazussa (2017)
This one had been on my radar for a bit. Described as a "gothic folk tale" I knew I had to check it out. The name of the movie also comes from the old German word for "Witch."

Hagazussa (2017)

Told in four acts with very little dialog we see how the local villagers treated a goat-herding woman and later her daughter, Albrun, as witches.

In the first act young Albrun begin to menstruate, but before she can even talk about it with her mother all sorts of strange things happen. They are accosted one night by men wearing masks. Soon after Mother comes down with the Bubonic plague.

While attending to her mother Albrun is sexually assaulted by her mother, who is losing her mind.  At some point, Mother runs out of their cabin and dies in the night. Alburn finds her dead mother the next day covered in snakes. 

Act 2 takes place 15 years later. Alburn is still living in her cabin and now how has a baby of her own. She lives alone and is a little strange now. She is treated as a pariah in the local town where the local boys pick on her, and the local priest gives her the decorated skull of her mother.  She befriends another local woman, Swinda. But when Swinda sees the skull of Alburn's mother set up on an altar. Swinda later takes Alburn up into the mountains where they encounter a man Swinda knows. Swinda holds down Alburn while the man rapes her.  In revenge, she takes a dead rat and blood and poisons the water supply.

Act 3 Alburn comes to town with her baby and sees a lot of people dead and dying. She walks into the woods and eats some mushrooms. She begins to hallucinate and accidentally drowns her baby. 

Act 4 Alburn wakes up and discovers her baby is dead. So she cooks the baby in a stew and eats it. She gets sick. Her hallucinations come back as she hears her mother talking to her. She wanders outside and catches fire in the rising sun.

The horror of this movie is the abuse of Alburn from her childhood to her adulthood. She would be considered a witch or hag in the legends of the local village and that is the tragedy of this tale.  It is not a feel-good movie. 

Use for War of the Witch Queens

This movie has something of a timeless feel about it. It takes place in the 14th century or thereabouts, so it would be a good background for any sort of lower-level witch. To quote the TV show Magicians "magic is pain" and Alburn knows pain.  From this, you can assume there is really no such thing as a happy witch.

It is also a good example of how others treat these women, outside of outright hate. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
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October Horror Movie Challenge

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