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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Thriller > Vampire > Science Fiction > Drama > Supernatural > Universal Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection 4K (Dracula (1931) / Frankenstein (1931) / The Invisible Man (1933) / The Wolfman (1941) / 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays w/Blu-rays)

Universal Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection 4K (Dracula (1931) / Frankenstein (1931) / The Invisible Man (1933) / The Wolfman (1941) / 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays w/Blu-rays)

4K Picture: A- Picture: B+ Sound: A- Extras: B Films: A-

At long last, the classic Universal Monsters have made their way onto eye popping 4K UHD disc and the results are worth the wait in this new Icons Of Horror Collection. These are some of the greatest and most inspirational horror films of all time and it is very impressive to see the restoration work that has been done here. Of course these movies have been tons of releases over the years on various formats, but this is definitely the end all be all version for the time being. I say that because I thought seeing the 1080p 2012 Blu-rays (which are also included in this set, reviewed elsewhere on this site in a larger set) was an improvement until I saw this set and wow. It really is worth shelling out the extra money for this set if you're a hardcore fan for this 8-disc set from Universal.

I'm sure the rest of the Universal Monster gang is on their way to 4K UHD in the coming months. For now though, this four disc set will whet your appetite and leave you wanting more.

Dracula (1931) the Bela Lugosi / Tod Browning classic that is still one of the best imaginings of the classic Bram Stoker text. The Spanish Version is also included. This is the 90th anniversary of the film. The bloodthirsty and powerful vampire, Count Dracula, heads to London from his native home, and slowly begins to turn those around him into his mindless victims. When he falls in love with Mina, he ends up in a trap set by vampire hunter Van Helsing, a worthy adversary.

The film also stars Dwight Frye, Helen Chandler, Edward Van Sloan, and David Manners.

Frankenstein (1931) The Boris Karloff classic directed by James Whale is simply a masterpiece of filmmaking. A mad scientist creates a monster out of human parts and brings him to life in his high tech laboratory. Part German Expressionism, Mary Shelley's story is brought to life. This is the 90th anniversary of the film.

The film also stars Colin Clive, Dwight Frye, Mae Clarke, and Edward Von Sloan.

The Invisible Man (1933) Claude Rains is The Invisible Man in the James Whale directed 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. Dr. Jack Griffin has made a groundbreaking discovery in that he creates an invisible formula. But as the Dr. experiments more and more with being invisible, he soon starts to lose his grip on reality.

The film also stars Gloria Stuart (Cameron's Titanic), William Harrigan, and Una O'Connor.

The Wolf Man (1941) The original Lon Chaney Jr. classic has some of the greatest special effects makeup of all time (by Jake Pierce) and remains one of the best horror movies ever made. Chaney Jr. stars as Larry Talbot, a man who saves a woman from a rabid werewolf after seeing a bizarre Gypsy, and gets bitten as a result. Now, when the moon is full and the wolfsbane blooms, Larry turns into a beastly inhuman creature! This is the 80th anniversary of the film.

The film also stars Bela Lugosi, Curt Siodmak, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Claude Rains.

The Monsters are presented here in native 4K (2160p from new scans off of the original 35mm nitrate negatives, et al) on 4K UHD disc with an HEVC/H.265 codec and original aspect ratios of 1.37:1, HDR (high dynamic range) and English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes (48kHz, 24-bit). The biggest improvements over the (also included) 2012 issued 1080p Blu-ray discs is definition and detail. You can see some detail in the image and heavier contrast (even in the black and white) that makes the characters pop a bit more than the 1080p versions, but when you do direct comparisons, you can really see the improvements. The 4K discs also boast higher bitrates than the Blu-rays that adds an extra boost in white levels and a bit more detail in the overall image.

Special Features:

The Road to Dracula

Feature Length Audio Commentaries by David J. Skal and Stephen Haberman on Dracula

Feature Length Audio Commentaries by Rudy Behlmer and Christopher Frayling on Frankenstein

Feature Length Audio Commentary by Rudy Behlmer on Invisible Man

Feature Length Audio Commentary by Tom Weaver on Wolf Man

The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster

Karloff: The Gentle Monster

Universal Horror documentary

Frankenstein Archives Boo! - short film for 100 Years Of Universal

Monster Tracks

Monster by Moonlight

The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth

and Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed

These films are timeless and thanks to modern technology, we get to see them in greater detail as time passes by. They also remain four of the most imitated and remade films ever. This set is truly a delight and just in time for Halloween!

- James Lockhart



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