The Universal Monsters have been scaring audiences worldwide for nearly a century. They stand as Hollywood’s homecoming for Horror, pioneering the genre with special effects unlike anyone had ever known. Every passing generation has embraced the Universal Monsters and for the first time ever, thirty of the most iconic films have been collected on blu-ray in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection. Including not only all three Creature From The Black Lagoon films, but the Creature From The Black Lagoon films In 3-D!! Oh, what’s that? You’re more of a Dracula fan? How about every. single. Dracula movie, including Dracula’s Daughter (1936), House of Dracula (1945), and the Spanish Dracula (1931). Huh? You only like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein? Well that’s a shame, cause you’re gonna be lugging around the entire Abbott and Costello Meets series, fella!
Before the Universal Classic Monsters collection, Universal released Legacy collections for each monster individually. For many of the films listed below, this new collection marks the first time they’ve shared a space together outside a theatre marquee. It’s no denying these films have had a significant impact in our culture. For decades, children have been dressing up for Halloween as the monsters, years before their parents would ever allow them to see a scary movie. I dare you to find a child in any elementary school that doesn’t know how to kill Dracula. It’s Impossible. These monsters, and their exploration of the human condition, speak to generation after generation because the fear and tragedy (and heart) at the core of these stories is universal.
I’ve been going to revival screenings of these movies for years now and I can truthfully say, even at home on my modest 40, 000 inch television, these films have never looked better. We’ve made countless improvements to the filmmaking process in the last 87 years and still, a black-and-white film from the 1940’s looks more dynamic and more alive than a black-and-white from 2018. Roger Ebert spoke in his memoir Life Itself about the longevity silver screen films inherently have because of their unique aesthetic. Unlike a 4k epic from contemporary cinema, Black-and-White is very unlike reality, and a more profound presentation of a world slightly askew from our own. Whether you romanticize the warm, natural look of film or your just happy to watch movies however you find them, the Universal Classic Monsters is brilliantly detailed and lovingly restored.
Okay, so you’ve watched them like you’ve ever watched them before. Now what? How about special features for every single film in the set! This collection is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes documentaries and featurettes, theatrical trailers (a feature that I was never excited for until now), and enhanced viewing features. One of my personal favourites, “Monster Tracks”, is like having an IMDB widget on your TV that keeps your phone out of your hands, while still feeding you that sweet trivia nectar. Did you watch Pop-Up Video growing up? Because it is a lot like Pop-Up Video but for fun horror movies, and not Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Come On Eileen. Did you know that in 1931, film studios were concerned that musical scores would confuse audiences? The worry was that people wouldn’t understand why they were hearing music when no one on-screen was seen playing an instrument. Because of this perfectly logical misuse of the medium Dracula contains almost none. But good news; If you’ve ever wondered what might have been, there is an optional score composed by Philip Glass that makes for an entirely new viewing experience.
The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection is absolutely incredible and something I have looked forward to each night as part of my 31 Days of Halloween. I’ve been working my way through the collection in order of release and I am currently in the grips of a strong Invisible Man obsession. FUN FACT: The Invisible Man once fought Nazis, and you can see the harrowing details of his glory days on the battlefield in The Invisible Agent (1942). What I mean to say is that this comprehensive collection holds every Universal Monster movie you’ve ever seen, and hopefully a few you haven’t.
Included in the Collection:
- Dracula (1931)
- Frankenstein (1931)
- The Mummy (1932)
- The Invisible Man (1933)
- The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- Werewolf of London (1935)
- Dracula’s Daughter (1936)
- Son of Frankenstein (1939)
- The Invisible Man Returns (1940)
- The Invisible Woman (1940)
- The Mummy’s Hand (1940)
- The Wolf Man (1941)
- The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
- The Mummy’s Ghost (1942)
- The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)
- Invisible Agent (1942)
- Phantom of the Opera (1943)
- Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
- Son of Dracula (1943)
- House of Frankenstein (1944)
- The Mummy’s Curse (1944)
- The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944)
- House of Dracula (1945)
- She-Wolf of London (1946)
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)
- Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version)
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
- Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D version)
- The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)
- A 48-Page Collectible Book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photos
If you’re a connesouier of the classics, Stephanie Cole‘s Silver Screams series is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the early days of horror, but were too afraid to ask. Let us know what your favourite Universal Monster movie is on Twitter, Reddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook. And don’t forget to enter the Universal Monsters Giveaway to win your very own cop of Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection. Click HERE to enter.