Sep 162018
 

The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection is one hell of a set from the studio, particularly for folks who didn’t already pick up the Legacy Collection sets, and just in time for Halloween.

 

 

Universal Classic Monsters
— Complete 30-Film Collection —
(1931-1956)

Genre(s): Horror
Universal | NR – 2437 min. – $149.98 | August 28, 2018

Date Published: 09/16/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Various
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price, John Carradine, Ilona Massey, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, John Barrymore, Colin Clive, Cedric Hardwicke, Jon Hall, Gloria Stuart, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Edward Van Sloan, Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Robert Paige, Evelyn Ambers, Ralph Bellamy, Nelson Eddy, Richard Carlson
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentaries, Featurettes, Galleries
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 24
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono)
Video: 1080p/Full Frame 1.33 (Widescreen 1.85 on the Lagoon movies)
Subtitles: English SDH
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5


Universal was at the forefront of monster cinema and distributed some of the definitive of the classic creature features with Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera and The Invisible Man. Each of these, well outside of Phantom, had spin-offs and sequels, and mostly of varying qualities. Now, by no means am I a horror aficionado and my experience with films from the 1930s through the 1950s, is on the limited side.

So, receiving this Universal Classic Monsters Collection was the perfect opportunity to beef up my film resume as it were with these 26 movies (outside of the box says 30, but there are duplicates which I will outline later when I rundown what is included). A few of these I had previously seen over the years like Dracula and Frankenstein, but the others were fresh viewings. While I absolutely love the films featuring these iconic characters, the spin-offs or sequels were mostly hit or miss with one exception: Bride of Frankenstein, a movie that arguably rivals Frankenstein itself.

Others, like Dracula’s Daughter, The Mummy’s Hand, The Invisible Man Returns and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man were adequately entertaining enough. However, never being the biggest fan of Abbott and Costello, their respective films co-starring with these creatures weren’t quite as enjoyable, albeit at least watchable.

Again, even though I am not a horror hound, I did tend to really enjoy these monster movies and while Universal attempted to re-create it with an in-universe version with the disappoint and over-produced The Mummy from 2017, might be wise for them to go back to the basics, because despite each of these being 60-70 years old, and even the weaker entries, still were rather impressive…

 

SPECIAL FEATURES


Each of the Legacy Collections is housed in their own clear Blu-ray case with their own UPCs which match the original releases. These side-slide into a sturdy outer box, also inside is a nice 48-page book containing trivia on each movie. Below is a rundown on what is included in each movie:

DRACULA (4.5/5):

  • Dracula (1931) Spanish Version with Optional Introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner
  • The Road to Dracula (35:04) Documentary
  • Lugosi: The Dark Prince (36:07)
  • Dracula: The Restoration (8:46)
  • Monster Tracks – Text Commentary
  • Dracula Archives (9:11) – Poster Gallery
  • Alternate Score by Philip Glass – Performed by the Kronos Quartet
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian David J. Skal

DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:24)

SON OF DRACULA (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:37)

THE HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:41)

THE HOUSE OF DRACULA (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:27)

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (3.5/5):

  • Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters (33:18)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:40)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Gregory W. Mank
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)
  • 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8:18)

FRANKENSTEIN (4.5/5):

  • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster (44:53)
  • Karloff: The Gentle Monster (37:58)
  • Monster Tracks
  • Universal Horror (1:35:26) Documentary
  • Frankenstein Archives (9:24)
  • Boo! A Short Film (9:30)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Audio Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
  • Trailer Gallery (8:23) for Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and House of Frankenstein
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics (9:13)

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (3.75/5):

  • She’s Alive! Creating The Bride of Frankenstein (38:54)
  • The Bride of Frankenstein Archive (13:11)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen
  • Trailer Gallery (8:23)
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics (9:13)

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (0/5): No Features

THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:56)

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:37)

THE INVISIBLE MAN (3.25):

  • Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed (35:21)
  • Production Photographs (4:30)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Trailer Gallery (3:47) for The Invisible Man Returns and Invisible Agent
  • 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8:18)

THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (0/5): No Features

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (0/5): No Features

INVISIBLE AGENT (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:42)

THE INVISIBLE MAN’S REVENGE (0/5): No Features

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:58)

THE MUMMY (4.0/5):

  • Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed (30:11)
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce (24:56)
  • Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy (8:07)
  • The Mummy Archives (9:46)
  • Audio Commentary with Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns and Brent Armstrong
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Paul M. Jensen
  • Trailer Gallery (6:29) for The Mummy, The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Carl Loemmle Era (8:41)

THE MUMMY’S HAND (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:35)

THE MUMMY’S TOMB (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:06)

THE MUMMY’S GHOST (0.5/4):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:07)

THE MUMMY’S CURSE (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:06)

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY (0.5/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (2:09)

THE WOLFMAN (4.0/5):

  • Monster by Moonlight (32:37)
  • The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth (10:02)
  • Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney, Jr. (36:53)
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce (26:56)
  • The Wolf Man Archives (6:46)
  • Trailer Gallery (9:20) for Werewolf of London, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula and The Wolf of London
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE WOLFMAN (3.5/5):

  • Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters (33:18)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:40)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Gregory W. Mank
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)
  • 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8:18)

WEREWOLF OF LONDON ():

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:24)

SHE-WOLF OF LONDON ():

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:22)

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (3.75/5):

  • The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked (51:19)
  • Production Photographs (5:47)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:12)
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (3.0/5):

  • Back to the Black Lagoon (39:40)
  • Production Photographs (11:29)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • Trailer Gallery (7:25) for Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:25)

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (2.25/5):

  • 2D and 3D Versions of the Film
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:29)
  • Audio Commentary with Actress Lori Nelson and Film Historians Tom Weaver and Bob Burns

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (2.25/5):

  • Theatrical Trailer (1:01)
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Tom Weaver and Bob Burns

 

VIDEO – 4.5/5


All 30 films are presented in their original aspect ratios, all of them 1.33 full frame except for the Black Lagoon films which are 1.85 widescreen. Not sure how much restoration work went into the sequels/spin-offs but based on the featurette detailing the work done on Dracula, these movies do look amazing with incredible detail and looked clean, though a few specs did get through in some instances. Otherwise, all of these movies do look great.

AUDIO – 4.0/5


The movies all, except for Invisible Agent and The Invisible Man’s Revenge (which were DTS 2.0 Mono), received DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks. Although there were some ever so minor hisses, these did sound very nice outputting clear dialogue levels and some minor depth coming through the center channel.

 

OVERALL – 5.0/5


The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection is one hell of a set from the studio, particularly for folks who didn’t already pick up the Legacy Collection sets, and just in time for Halloween as especially the original monster movies like Dracula and Frankenstein make for the perfect holiday viewing (alongside Halloween, of course).

 

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  2 Responses to “Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection Blu-ray Review”

Comments (2)
  1. Note from Universal: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has identified a manufacturing issue which may affect the presentation of the 3D Blu-ray offering of the film Revenge of the Creature, released on August 28, 2018 as part of the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection and the Creature From the Black Lagoon Complete Legacy Collection. A replacement program has been established to ensure that those who have purchased either collection have the opportunity to receive a corrected Blu-ray disc featuring the 3D version of Revenge of the Creature and 2D version of The Creature Walks Among Us.

    To receive an updated disc, please e-mail USHEConsumerRelations@visionmediamgmt.com

  2. Universal Monsters are Fantastic!

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