Night of the Blood Monster 4k

Night of the Blood Monster (4K Ultra HD Review)

History is a fascinating thing which informs us of who we are, where we came from, and where we are headed. Hence the famous Winston Churchill statement – “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – which seemingly rings ever so loudly in the modern era. A time where it seems history is being brushed aside or altered for the sake of contemporary politics or emotions, amidst it all there is also underlined corruption, agendas that benefit one cause or another, and totalitarianism.

Providing you with a brief lesson, there are many correlations to the events that happened centuries ago to those of present times… including in the 17th century when Judge Jeffreys struck fear into anyone who entered his court. In case you were unaware, he was known as “the Hanging Judge” for his cruelty in punishing anyone who played a part in allegedly trying to overthrow King James II. As a point of reference of his reign of terror, it is documented that in 1685 trials which were held in the Oak Room of the Antelope Hotel, the judge handed down death sentences for 251 rebels! Hard to imagine, while the level of brutality may not seem as fierce in modern society… you can certainly see history repeated in many ways.

Night of the Blood Monster 4K
Night of the Blood Monster / Blue Underground (2024)

Known famously as the Bloody Assizes, these stories have been portrayed numerous times in cinema in various different ways; some more historically accurate than others, but none arguably more interesting than Jess Franco’s 1970 The Bloody Judge. Directed by Franco, The Bloody Judge was produced by Harry Alan Towers, and featured a cast led by Christopher Lee as Judge Jeffries, Maria Schell as Mother Rosa, Oscar nominated Leo Genn as Lord Wessex, along Maria Rohm as Mary Gray.

In short, the film is loosely based on the real Judge Jeffreys, but with an even more sinister twist. In The Bloody Judge, Judge Jefferies is most certainly portrayed as a tyrant, however, here you are shown a extremely dark underworld of depravity where marked witches or rebels are subjected to brutal, perverse torture. Transforming Judge Jeffreys more into a clear Horror film protagonist, as stated, The Bloody Judge is one of the more compelling films ever created about the subject.

Thematically laying somewhere in between a period piece and Horror, and pushing the boundaries into eroticism, The Bloody Judge may be a footnote in the world of cinema history, but should not be overlooked. For some unbeknownst reason renamed Night of the Blood Monster for distribution in North America, it initially made it to the market in 1972, found its way to VHS in the decades to follow, before landing on DVD in the UK back in 1999. This in mind, various editions have floated about, none entirely complete, and many seldom have ever seen in 50 years. However, Blue Underground went to work in 2023 to put together the most complete and uncensored version of the film ever for a brand-new release in 2024.

Night of the Blood Monster 4K
Night of the Blood Monster / Blue Underground (2024)

Released as a 2-disc 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray set on March 26, 2024, this Blue Underground offering really goes the extra mile to present the film with the best possible quality. For those who have seen home media editions of it in the past, they are quite aware of the less than stellar imagery and audio. That in mind, this new edition features a Dolby Vision HDR 4K master. Offering you superb color and clarity, what is truly inspiring to know is that ample efforts put into locating various film elements through the European region to make this release possible.

Beyond this, you also get a ton of audio commentaries from film historians, achieved interviews with Jess Franco and Christopher Lee, plus stunning reversible artwork completed by a solid slipcover. In all, there is really little you can find wrong with the presentation or physical packaging. Furthermore, it restores what is arguably one of Jess Franco’s best films; sitting it right alongside similar films of its type such as 1968’s Witchfinder General or 1970’s Mark of the Devil. A true testament to the preservation of film history, Cryptic Rock gives Blue Underground’s 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release of Night of the Blood Monster (The Bloody Judge) 5 out of 5 stars. 

Night of the Blood Monster 4K art
Night of the Blood Monster / Blue Underground (2024)

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