The Bloody Judge (Il Trono di Fuoco/El Juez Sangriento, 1969)

US Blue Underground unrated DVD edition

This is one of my favourite films of Jess Franco, maybe on my Franco Top 3 and it's for sure one of Jesús Franco's most "normally" directed films.
The hardcore psycotronic Franco lovers may NOT think that's a good thing though as they are hooked on this highly idiosyncratic Spanish film-
maker and his unique way of direct a film. I respect that, but Jesses films are an acquired taste and I may prefer his more "normal" films. However,
I've spent a fortune through the years to see his films, or some of them as he directed over 200, at first by buying expensive VHS copies in the 80's
and then on DVD and Blu-ray. Ooooh, it pains me when i think of all the crappy WIP, Jungle Queen - Cannibals and vampiress movies of his i've
seen .... or Not! There's something about his style that gets you, it's as a Non-Mainstream approach to direction as possible, rebel filmmaking.

My Jess favourites

The Bloody Judge is a greatly made and very well acted historical horror-drama taking place in 1680's England, and it's another film about Judge
George Jeffrey, the feared witch-hunter, most famously depicted in Michael Reeves "The Witchfinder General".

The film could have the record in alternate titles: The Bloody Judge/Der Hexentoeter von Blackmoor/Night of the Blood Monster/Il Trono di Fuoco/
El Juez Sangriento/The Witch Killer of Blackmoor/Throne of the Blood Monster/The Witches Trial or The Trial of the Witches, and it was Jesses
answer to the harrowingly dark horror masterpiece "The Witchfinder General/The Conqueror Worm (1968)" by Michael Reeves, with some extra
torture and sleaze added then naturally.

The Bloody Judge takes place in 1685 and the Stuart, James/Jacob the II are King of England, but the times are dark with social unrest and with the
country on the brink of Civil War. The Duke of Monmouth as well as William of Orange want to usurp the throne.
The King who wants to suppress the rebellion appoints the brutal Judge George Jeffrey to quell the uprising by merciless hunt of dissidents and
the hunt for witches, in both cases the punishment was death.
The sister of Mary Gray (Maria Rohm) has been burnt on the stake as a witch, and now Mary has joined the son of the Earl of Wessex (Leo Genn)
in the uprising against the King. In a oppositional region a whole village is emptied of their women and taken to the witch trial. Judge Jeffrey and
his executioner (Howard Vernon, Jess favourite actor and playing some part in most of Jess many movies) takes on their royal mission with gusto,
but their days of terror is soon to end.

This US Blue Underground DVD (rel. in 2004 or 2005 maybe) is restaurated and with inserted extra scenes of Euro continental sleaze.
The scenery does look decidedly southern european though and i thought i saw an orange tree for a short moment.
Christopher Lee is MAGNIFICENT as Judge Jeffrey and the whole film radiates doom, hopelessness and Evil. The war scenes were good too.

The DVD were presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 with mono english audio. Extras: An interview with Jesús Franco (who was very pleased
with the film, and rightfully so) and an interview with Sir Christopher Lee (25 minutes), Deleted scenes (6 minutes) from a variety of VHS sources,
Alternative scenes and a picture gallery