The Bloody Judge (1970)
"Il trono di fuoco" (original title)

PG  |   |  History, Horror  |  May 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 710 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 30 critic

Christopher Lee plays the Lord Chief Justice of 17th century England who condemns women as witches to further his political and sexual needs.


(as J. Frank Manera)


(adaptation) (as E. Colombo) , (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Mother Rosa
Lord Wessex
Hans Hass Jr. ...
Harry Selton (as Hans Hass)
Mary Gray
Margaret Lee ...
Alicia Gray
Pietro Martellanza ...
Barnaby (as Peter Martell)
Howard Vernon ...
Jack Ketch
Milo Quesada ...


Christopher Lee plays the Lord Chief Justice of 17th century England who condemns women as witches to further his political and sexual needs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Horror will hold you helpless!


History | Horror


PG | See all certifications »



Release Date:

May 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night of the Blood Monster  »

Box Office


ESP 18,713,190 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dennis Price was originally cast as Lord Wessex but withdrew at the last moment (he was replaced by Leo Genn). Some film posters and advertising material from the time credit Price as appearing in the movie. See more »


Lord George Jeffreys: Sometimes I ask myself whether the right to life or death was ever given to mere men, or if God Almighty did not Himself deliver unto me the responsibilities for that which we are doing. Yet when I am confronted again with the unholiness, the rebellion, the crimes and the sacrilege, I am reassured that we were not unjust in dealing the most atrocious punishment to these criminals.
See more »


Referenced in Fear and Desire: Stephen Thrower on Jess Franco (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Bloodthirstier than Dracula!
12 October 2007 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

"The Bloody Judge" is unquestionably one of Jess Franco's finest accomplishments, and there are several elements that contributed to this. First of all, Christopher Lee depicts another unforgettably mean-spirited and frightening horror protagonist. This doesn't always guarantee a great movie, mind you, as Franco and Lee previously collaborated to make a couple of sequels in the Fu Manchu series, and they were dreadfully boring films. The character of medieval witch hunter Judge Jeffries clearly suits Lee a whole lot better than the oddly mustached oriental master-criminal and his performance confirms this. Secondly, for one of the few times during his entire career, Jess Franco could actually rely on a decent budget! There was enough money for fancy costumes and atmospheric scenery, and even the editing and cinematography were clearly handled professionally. Finally, you can hardly go wrong with the subject matter of medieval witch-hunting, political corruptness, vile torture footage and robust executions. Although clearly inspired by the popularity of "Witchfinder General" (starring Vincent Price), "The Bloody Judge" contains more than enough own ideas and ingenuity to be considered as a success in its own right. The film opens with the extended and compelling trial of a young girl accused of witchcraft, leading to her relentless execution burning at the stake. The long opening adequately introduces the character of Judge Jeffries, but the actual plot only unfolds after this. The executed girl's sister flees up the country and falls in love with the son of an eminent politician, who also happens to rebel against the corrupt English crown. The obsessive Judge Jeffries orders his followers to capture all the rebels and submit them to torture, but the army of William of Orange is slowly approaching England to conquer the crown. The amounts of graphic violence and – especially – gratuitous sleaze are admirably kept rather low, and this in favor of character development and tension building. Naturally, there are a handful of brutal sequences on display (notably the "interrogation" of poor Alicia) but "The Bloody Judge" is mainly story & atmosphere-driven. Franco regular Howard Vernon (Dr. Orloff!) has a small but terrific role as the sneering executioner Ketch. Like another reviewer already stated, Vernon here strangely resembles Marty Feldman when he played Igor in "Young Frankenstein". Maria Rohm is enticing and beautiful as ever playing Mary or "that wench" as people insist on referring to her. "The Bloody Judge" is a good film that easily deserves a spot in my Jess Franco top five, alongside "The Diabolical Dr. Z", "The Awful Dr. Orloff", "Faceless" and "Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun".

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