Blu-ray Review: Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection

I love the Universal monster films. when I was young they came on usually twice a year and would span a week at a time. They are the reason I fell in love with monsters in the first place. They came on channel 5 in Los Angeles, usually at the beginning of the year and then once again in October. Now it’s time for a massive digital restoration and features-loaded set. Classic Monsters: The 30 Film Collection will bring the rotting dead and cobwebbed filled castles home in brilliant, restored, high-definition fashion. Along with the films is a 48-page book featuring behind-the-scenes photographs, original posters and correspondence; a ton of special features including looks at the work of makeup artist Jack Pierce and commentaries. One of the best new goodies though, has to be THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, presented in it’s original a 3D format! Here is a breakdown of the new set:

Keep Case 1:  DRACULA: Complete Legacy Collection
Disc 1:
Dracula (1931) The one that started it all plus all the featurettes have been carted over from the previous release. Separate score track featuring Philip Glass’s Kronos Quartet plus trivia and commentaries by Dracula expert David J. Skal and Steve Haberman. 
Disc 2:
Dracula’s Daughter (1936) Very sexy and wrongly ignored. This film needs more love.
Son of Dracula (1943) Lon Chaney Jr. takes over the role and makes the best of some bad script decisions.
House of Frankenstein (1944) Fun for what it is.
Disc 3:
House of Dracula (1945) Step up in some ways from the previous film but needs more Frankenstein’s Monster.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Disc 4:

Drácula (1931) The complete Spanish version with intro by Lupita Tovar.

Universal Horror The must see documentary featuring everyone you would want to hear from discuss everyone’s favorite monsters.

FRANKENSTEIN: Complete Legacy Collection
Disc 1:
Frankenstein (1931) Commentary by Sir Christopher Frayling plus all the docs. Interesting tid bits like the Frankenstein comparing himself to God. Great stuff.
Disc 2:
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) Commentary is by Scott MacQueen. Always a sad film that I have trouble getting through.
Son of Frankenstein (1939) The finale good Frankenstein film. Watch it with that in mind. Karloff left the role following this one.

Disc 3:
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) This film lacks the original punch of the previous but looks great.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) This film has always been problematic. Your childhood memories may differ but you don;t get much of a battle and it is only at the end.
House of Frankenstein (1944) Same as above.
Disc 4:
House of Dracula (1948) Same as above.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) Same as above.

THE MUMMY: Complete Legacy Collection
Disc 1:
The Mummy (1932) Two commentaries. One with Paul M. Jensen and the other with Scott Essman, Haberman, Bob Burns & Brent Armstrong. 
Disc 2:
The Mummy’s Hand (1940) Better than expected sequel.
The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) The plus from this film is there is some real mummy action. The minus is everything else.
Disc 3:
The Mummy’s Ghost (1942) and The Mummy’s Curse (1944) More run of the mill hi jinks with the same story threads.
Disc 4:
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) If you like comic horror than you can do no better than this.

As much as I love Mummy movies these are less than satisfying.

THE INVISIBLE MAN: Complete Legacy Collection
Disc 1:
The Invisible Man (1933) Commentary by Rudy Behlmer. All the bells and whistles.
Disc 2:
The Invisible Man Returns (1940) Vincent Price makes this one great.
The Invisible Woman (1940) Much more amusing that I thought it would be.
Invisible Agent (1942)
Disc 3:
The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951) 

Disc 1:
The Wolf Man (1941) Commentary by Tom Weaver. 
Disc 2:
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) Same as above.
House of Frankenstein (1944) Same as above.
Disc 3:
House of Dracula (1945) Same as in the Dracula and Frankenstein sets.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) Same as it ever was.
Disc 4:
WereWolf of London (1935) Superior werewolf film. Give it a watch.
She-Wolf of London (1946) For completest only.

 

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Complete Legacy Collection
Disc 1:
Phantom of the Opera (1943) Commentary by Scott MacQueen. Really don’t understand why the silent version is not on here.

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: Complete Legacy Collection
Disc 1:
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) Commentary by Tom Weaver, Lori Nelson and Bob Burns.
Disc 2:
Revenge of the Creature (1955)
The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)

Even if you already have several versions of these films, this set knocks it out of the park. Every film is given love and the documentaries are great. I advise you to save your pennies and take a trip down memory lane this October, after all, these are the reasons many of us love monsters in the first place.

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