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October 2, 2012

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On DVD/Blu-ray – Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection

by HELEN GEIB

Out of this week’s new releases I’ve only seen Dark Shadows, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s collaboration to bring the cult favorite soap opera to the big screen. You can read my unenthusiastic review here. In the same general cult horror vein but far, far more interesting is the new eight disc Blu-ray box set “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection.”

Rather remarkably, all eight movies in the set are significant titles from Universal’s classics library: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. All have been digitally restored and there are lots and lots of extras, including making-of, restoration-of, and legacy-of short features; commentaries; documentaries; trailers; and stills galleries. A big bonus feature is the Spanish-language version of Dracula (filmed for the foreign market at the same time and using the same sets, but by a different director and actors- and some people prefer it, although not its Dracula, to the Lugosi version). You could even say there’s a tenth movie in the set as The Creature from the Black Lagoon is included in both its 2D and 3D versions.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 3 2012

    I’d read that the Phantom of the Opera that’s included is the 1943 version that I’ve never even heard of so that’s kinda disappointed me, because I love the 1925 version – the definitive version. Aside from that, this is easily the best item out on video today/this week/this month. :O)

  2. Oct 3 2012

    I’m not a fan of the silent version, Chaney’s Phantom is the only memorable performance and the direction is pretty stodgy aside from the action finale (ironically, set outside the opera house). As I haven’t seen the 1943 movie I can’t compare them. The Technicolor is said to be very fine.

  3. Oct 3 2012

    We’ll both find out one day. :O)

    Now, I’m certain that the films were also individually released on Blu-ray, but where’s the fun in that?

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