Classic Monsters Complete 30-Film Collection: 1931 - 1956 Blu-ray Box
Picture: B+* Picture: B+ Sound: B Extras: B Films:
see below in text
set has a replacement disc program for Revenge
Of The Creature,
as its 3D side is not working in old pressing. See more below...
(and especially Horror fans) all over the world will always embrace
the classic Universal Monsters movies as they are essential viewing
for any and everyone who loves the magic of cinema. Almost every
modern filmmaker (even those that don't make horror films) count
these films amongst the ones that have influenced their career and
spawned several classics by mere inspiration alone. A few years ago,
Universal released this edition of 30 films in the catalog in a
similar boxset on the standard definition DVD format that we reviewed
which can be found here :
Universal came out with this set on DVD in full and then started
releasing the Legacy
individually on the Blu-ray format, with the exception of Phantom
of the Opera
(1943) which is a box set exclusive. Now, the boxset is released
again, only this time with every one of the features restored to
1080p. If you are new to the Universal Monsters and are only
familiar with the characters and want to dive in deeper, then this
set is a great way to binge through the films and see the Monsters in
all of their glory. While some films in the set are better than
others, none of these films are necessarily bad and are all totally
films in the set are as follows with each Monster having its own set.
Complete Legacy Collection
(1931) Film: A the original Bela Lugosi classic that is still the
best imagining of the classic Bram Stoker text. With optional
Phillip Glass score (recorded much later) accompaniment, the film
looks and sounds terrifically good here.
(1936) Film: B Lugosi wasn't interested in coming back for the
sequel at the time so the story shifts to that of his vampiric
daughter, played by Gloria Holden. While a bit dated, it's still fun
to look back on this B-movie sequel with some admiration even if it
doesn't quite stack up to other entries in the Universal catalogue.
(1943) Film: B Lon Chaney Jr. plays Dracula in this sequel which
sees him emerging from a coffin in a lake in time to make Louise
Allbritton his bride to be.
(1945) Film: B Lon Chaney Jr. (as the Wolfman) and John Carradine
(as Dracula) seek out Dr. Franz Edelmann (Onslow Stevens) in hopes of
finding a cure to their monstrous states. Instead, another monster
just ends up coming to life (also included on the Wolfman disc).
Features include the 1931 Spanish Version of Dracula
made at the same time, The Road to Dracula Documentary, Lugosi:
The Dark Prince
Featurette, Dracula Archives, Alternate Dracula Score by Phillip
and Costello Meet The Monsters,
3 Feature Commentaries, Production Photographs, and HD Theatrical
Complete Legacy Collection
(1931) Film: A The original Boris Karloff classic directed by
James Whale is simply a masterpiece of filmmaking. Part german
expressionism, Mary Shelley's story is brought to life in its best
looking incarnation yet in this excellent 1080p Blu-ray restoration
from the 35mm photochemical restoration a few years ago.
Bride of Frankenstein
(1935) Film: A One of cinema's greatest sequels and directed
again by James Whale, The Bride is played by Elsa Lanchester with
Colin Clive returning as Dr. Frankenstein.
(1939) Film: B+ Bela Lugosi as Igor against Boris Karloff as The
Monster makes for must see cinema. While not quite as strong as its
predecessors there's a lot of interesting things going on here.
Ghost of Frankenstein
(1942) Film: B+ This is a really fun and underrated film which
features Karloff as the Mad Dr. Neimann, Lon Chaney Jr. as the
Wolfman, John Carradine as Dracula, and Glenn Strange as the iconic
(1944) Film: B Featuring the great Boris Karloff (as a Mad
Doctor) and Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman with John Carradine again
as Dracula. This is another one of my favorite entries as it sees
the Monsters being sent out to do the Mad Dr.'s bidding in a savage
killing spree. (the film is also included on the Wolfman set)
and Costello Meet Frankenstein
(1948) Film: A By far the best of the Abbott and Costello monster
spin-off movies, this entry features Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon
Chaney Jr. as The Wolfman, and Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein
Monster. While a comedy through and through, there are so many
classic moments in this film that makes it one of the strongest
entries in the Universal Monsterverse. (The film is also included on
the Wolfman set).
Features include The
How Hollywood Made a Monster Documentary, She's
Alive!: Creating the Bride of Frankenstein
The Gentle Monster,
Frankenstein Archives, The Bride of Frankenstein Archives, Boo!: A
Short Film, Abbott
and Costello Meet the Monsters
Featurette, 4 Feature Commentaries, and HD Trailers.
Mummy: Complete Legacy Collection
(1932) Film: A Karloff stars as Imhotep in one of the most iconic
monsters in horror: The Mummy! More of a weird love story than the
action packed Mummy movies of the modern era, there are plenty of
hair-raising moments in this film!
(1940) Film: B Tom Tyler stars in the second Universal Mummy film
which centers around the tomb of Princess Ananka... and the Mummy is
(1942) Film: B Lon Chaney Jr. takes a turn at being The Mummy -
this time crossing into a college town in search of his reincarnated
(1942) Film: B Lon Chaney Jr. is the Mummy again... this time the
backdrop is a then modern New England.
(1944) Film: B- The third Lon Chaney Jr. Mummy film - this time
he terrorizes the Louisiana Bayou. Also stars Virginia Christine as
and Costello Meet the Mummy
(1955) Film: B The last Abbott and Costello monster film, the
film is funny but is the lesser of the series.
Features include Mummy
Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed
Documentary, He Who Made
Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
Featurette, Unraveling The Legacy of the Mummy, The Mummy Archives, 2
Feature Commentaries, and HD Theatrical Trailers.
Invisible Man: Complete Legacy Collection
(1933) Film: A Claude Rains is The Invisible Man in a film that
still holds up to this day. The special effects are remarkable for
the time as is the superb filmmaking in this frantic and perfectly
executed horror thriller.
Invisible Man Returns
(1940) Film: B Vincent Price stars in this sequel to the original
Invisible Man film which is a pretty fun popcorn flick. A murder
mystery, the film features Price who is wrongfully accused of
murdering his brother and becomes invisible (thanks to John Sutton
who plays the Mad Dr. in the film) so that the real culprit can be
found. Full of twists and turns, this one is worth checking out!
(1940) Film: C+ John Barrymore and Virginia Bruce star in this
very long sequel that has some interesting ideas but doesn't stand up
to the other entries in the franchise.
(1942) Film: B Peter Lorre stars in this action packed entry that
takes the Invisible Man formula and melds it with the spy/ secret
agent/ action franchise formula in this memorable entry.
Invisible Man's Revenge
(1944) Film: C+ John Carradine stars in this installment as a Mad
Doctor who is haunted by the invisible Jon Hall in his creepy
and Costello Meet the Invisible Man
(1951) Film: C+ While it doesn't quite compare to the
Frankenstein entry in the Abbott and Costello spin-offs, there are
some funny (and over the top) moments in this entry where the
bumbling idiots help a framed Boxer disappear.
Features include Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed, Feature
Commentary by Film History Rudy Behlmer, Production Photographs, and
Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection
(1935) Film: B+ Released before the classic Wolfman film, Henry
Hull stars as the Lycan this time as he gets bitten by a odd creature
and becomes this diabolical monster. Full of great imagery, and a
classic Wolf-man makeup, this is a must see.
(1941) Film: A The original Lon Chaney Jr. classic has some of
the greatest Special Effects makeup of all time (by Jake Pierce) and
one of the best horror movies ever made.
Meets the Wolf Man
(1943) B+ Bela Lugosi takes a turn at being the Frankenstein
monster up against Lon Chaney's Wolfman in this classic Monster Mash
(1946) Film: C+ Starring June Lockhart and Don Porter, this last
entry in the Wolf series isn't so much of a monster movie but more
like a film noir.
Features include Monster
Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth
Featurette, Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney Jr., He
Who Made Monsters: The Art and Life of Jack Pierce, The Wolfman
and Costello meet the Monsters
Featurette, 2 Feature Commentaries, and HD Trailers.
of the Opera
(1943) Film: B Just one feature included in this, the only color
film in this set. The big budget Phantom of the Opera stars Claude
Rains as the Phantom and gorgeous production design and costuming.
While it may be a little slow for some, it's an interesting piece of
cinema even if it doesn't quite hold the charm of the original 1925
Lon Chaney Sr. version.
Features include The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked, Feature
Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen, Production
Photographs, and an HD Trailer.
Creature from The Black Lagoon: Complete Legacy Collection
from the Black Lagoon
(1954) 2D/3D Film: A My personal favorite of the Monsters and
arguably my favorite film. While nobody has dared to remake it
outright, there certainly wouldn't be a Shape
without it. Julie Adams gives a classic heroine performance as Ricou
of the Creature
(1955) 2D/3D* Film: B+ An interesting sequel that pits the
Creature in a Sea World-esque water park so that he can be a quick
cash grab. Of course, he doesn't take too kindly to entrapment and
craves the aquatic life.
worth noting that some sets might have a bad copy of the 3D for the
film. Replacement discs are available from Universal Home Video with
more info that the bottom of this review.
Creature Walks Among Us
(1956) Film: B- 2D Only This is where the Monster legacy was
starting to come to a close with this bizarre third entry that might
as well be an Al Adamson movie. The Creature ends up getting
surgically altered to be half man/ half creature and the results
Features include Back
to the Black Lagoon
Documentary, 3 Feature Commentaries, Production Photographs, and HD
films are all presented in 1080p high definition with their original
1.33 X 1 full frame aspect ratios (save 1.85 X 1 on the Creature
films, the first of which is great in its 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded
3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image) and paired with
new DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless tracks that have the
films looking and sounding better than ever. With the only color
film in the set being The
(originally issued in dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor, a limited 1990s theatrical rerelease
included DTS Mono theatrical sound),
the rest of films have been remastered and comes across nicely with
lots of texture and details in the shots that weren't evident on
previously compressed versions released on DVD and other formats.
it's unknown as of this writing when the films will become available
on the 4K UHD format, the answer is certainly in time. With this
set, you can tell that the key films (or the first ones in the
respectable series) look and sound the best while some of the sequel
films don't look quite as good. Still, if you're a fan this is a
nice and easy way to get the bulk of the classics in one surefire go
and makes for great viewing during the Halloween season.
Color Insert Booklet is called The Original House of Horror:
Universal and a Monster Legacy which features behind-the-scenes
stories and rare production photographs to give you the ultimate
insight in the films as you are watching through them. Interestingly
enough, The original Phantom
of the Opera
(1925) is listed as the first Universal Monster film in the book but
is mysteriously missing from the box set as is Lon Chaney Sr.'s The
Hunchback of Notre Dame.
These two titles are available on Blu-ray from other companies as
well and you can read about the best current editions elsewhere on
you track down the boxset and want a replacement disc for Revenge
of the Creature
(the 3D transfer is a little off currently), then be sure to email
Universal Home Video at...
the information they will provide as proof of purchase. We'll review
the replacement disc ASAP!
in all, this is a great and highly recommended box set with the best
transfers available at this time. This will no doubt be a hard one
for collectors to track down as it keeps selling out, but I suggest