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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Mystery > Suspense > Universal Monsters: Icons Of Horror 4K Collection, Volume Two (1932 - 1954/Mummy (1932)/Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)/Phantom Of The Opera (1943)/Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)/4K Ultra HD Blu-r

Universal Monsters: Icons Of Horror 4K Collection, Volume Two (1932 - 1954/Mummy (1932)/Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)/Phantom Of The Opera (1943)/Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)/4K Ultra HD Blu-rays w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B+ Sound: A Extras: C+ Films: A

The Academy Award winning Universal Classic Monsters are some of the greatest motion pictures of all time (whether you are a hardcore horror fan or not there is PLENTY to appreciate in every last one of these classic films), and we have reviewed the films on various formats on this site in the past. However, all of those past versions fall very short of the beautiful 4K transfers on 4K UHD disc that are slowly getting released annually from the good folks at Universal Studios, who do a good job of recognizing that their past is just as important as their present.

Last Halloween 2021, we got Volume One of the Universal Classic Monsters Icon of Horror Collection featuring the original Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Wolfman.

Here's my review of that first 4K set:


And my review of The Complete 30 Film Collection which is on Blu-ray / DVD only as of this writing:


Now, this second set of Classic Monsters Icons of Horror Collection on 4K UHD / Blu-ray combo features The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Phantom of the Opera. These horror classics are truly timeless and I personally sleep better at night knowing that they have been upgraded in this fashion as they are some of my favorite films of all time and important viewing for anyone who loves cinema.

The Mummy (1932) - Boris Karloff stars 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! This is one of my favorite Karloff performances and the scene where the Mummy is revealed to be alive is one of the greatest scenes ever!

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - One of cinema's greatest sequels and directed again by James Whale, The Bride is played by Elsa Lanchester (in a duel role) with Colin Clive returning as Dr. Frankenstein. This movie is so iconic and pitch perfect, it must be seen by anyone who loves cinema and especially those who enjoy horror. Never (as of this writing) has it been remade or replicated and will continue to stand the test of time.

Phantom of the Opera (1943) - The big budget Technicolor remake of the silent 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. It looks incredible on 4K UHD disc and is really an incredible motion picture in every aspect!

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) - My personal favorite of the Monsters and arguably my favorite film. While nobody has dared to remake it outright (and not for a lack of trying), there certainly wouldn't be a Shape of Water without it. Julie Adams gives a classic heroine performance as Ricou Browning. The story centers on a group of explorers who encounter a bizarre creature in the Amazons. There is so much to say about this amazing film and now that it is captured in 4K, it can be even more appreciated! The two sequels are also tons of fun and suggested viewing if you haven't seen them.

The Universal Classic Monsters films here 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 (repeating the Blu-ray releases) lossless 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. There's more detail in the image and heavier contrast levels that punch up the black and white image considerably with and the HDR brings out another level of detail. You can see some flaws a bit more clearly now as something things were a bit more undefined on lesser formats.

The Phantom of the Opera transfer is considerably eye popping in this release with a lot of detail that really heightens the full color/3-strip, dye transfer Technicolor-photographed film and the stunning results are worth of 4K Technicolor releases like The Wizard Of Oz and Singin' In The Rain, except that this is not a musical. Note the slightly darker look; the makers knew their genre. The Creature From the Black Lagoon also looks great, however the 3D version is Blu-ray only (also included) still stuns, but none of the Blu-ray 3D discs have 2160p definition, so you get some unreal, sharp, deep focus shots without glasses that will stun viewers when they come up. All four films in this set look fantastic and really are an improvement over the already nice looking Blu-rays. The Bride of Frankenstein and The Mummy both you can tell a lot of work was done on and the films are both considerably sharper than previous iterations, the studio continuing to take top rate care of some of the most important films they ever made!

Special Features include extras carted over from the previous releases on Blu-ray (listed in the older coverage,) Archival Interviews, Trailers and Documentaries (et al) from previous releases on disc, and the priceless 3D version of Creature (on the regular 1080p Blu-ray only).

These Universal Monster classics have been refreshed and refined in this incredible release that brings out realism and density from these films only seen before on the best, most pristine 35mm and 16mm film prints. That absolutely makes them worthy of buying them over again. Like the best 4K releases, it really is not ever having seen them before when they look this amazing. It's too bad there aren't any new extras to accompany these releases, but I'm happy with what we are given. Let's hope this Universal Halloween tradition continues until every last Universal Monster film is released in 4K!

- James Lockhart


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