Night of the Blood Monster (1970) 4K Review
Blue Underground

With each new month, I anticipate the release of a new Jess Franco film, and this time around, Blue Underground delivers one of his greatest achievements: Night of the Blood Monster (1970), aka The Bloody Judge, which starred the legendary Christopher Lee. Not only is Blue Underground issuing the classic on Blu-ray, but they’ve also done a 4K release that is bound to be considered one of the finest examples of the format to be released this year.

During the 17th century, Judge Jeffreys (Christopher Lee), the Lord Chief of Justice, devoted himself to using his power to condemn women as witches in order to further his own political agenda. It isn’t always about politics, though; he has a sadistic lust for which the torture and humiliation of these so-called ‘witches’ help to feed. He eventually grows obsessed with a bar maiden named Mary Gray (Maria Rohm), which consumes him to the point where he loses complete control, possibly leading him to his own demise.

Night of the Blood Monster is one of Franco’s best collaborations with Christopher Lee. Lee really goes for it with the role; he’s in top form and delightfully nasty. The film also features solid performances from frequent Franco collaborators like Howard Vernon, Maria Schell, and Maria Rohm. It’s also worth noting that Academy Award Nominee Leo Genn has a strong presence in it.

The movie merges history with exploitation in a way that’s kind of informative as well as entertaining. What really struck me is just how fantastic this new 4K restoration looks. The picture is stunning and near flawless, including the uncut German language scenes that were added to the film. It’s the most complete version of the film with a perfect presentation. The colors are vibrant and well-balanced while maintaining a slight grittiness, preserving the classic feel of it.

RELATED: ‘Voodoo Passion’ (1977) Blu-Ray Review: A Solid Jess Franco Release

Blue Underground has packed the two-disc set (4K disc and Blu-ray) with bonus features like three audio commentaries, which are available on both discs. The rest of the features are only on the Blu-ray, and they include Bloody Jess – Interviews with Jess Franco and Christopher Lee, Judgment Day – and interview with Stephen Thrower, author of “Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco”, In the Shadows – interviews with filmmaker Alan Birkinshaw and Stephen Thrower on producer Harry Alan Towers, as well as deleted scenes, alternate scenes, still gallery, and trailers.

Night of the Blood Monster is available March 28th on 4K and a standard Blu-ray from Blue Underground. Whatever version you get, you’ll be satisfied, but if you can, get the 4K release. It really sets a standard and is just phenomenal.

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