Saturday, January 19, 2013

THE BLOODY JUDGE (1970) movie review

The Bloody Judge (aka Night of the Blood Monster) (1970) d. Franco, Jess (Italy/Spain)

A surprisingly well-mounted combo of historical war film, adventure, love story, and misguided justice/witch hunt horror, sparked by the success of Michael Reeves' Witchfinder General. In the third of the actor’s seven collaborations with the notoriously erratic Spanish filmmaker, Lee plays the infamous real-life Lord Jeffreys, mercilessly persecuting all who oppose King James II as well as numerous comely female “witches.”

Beautiful blonde Maria Rohm (Venus in Furs) stars as one of the many potential victims, along with Franco-fave Howard Vernon as the head executioner. Though the sex and violence is not nearly as prominent as other similarly themed ’70s exploitation efforts, Lee was apparently vocal in his displeasure, claiming the more prurient scenes (such as Rohm’s notoriously erotic corpse-licking scene) were added in afterwards. Fine score by Bruno Nicolai.

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