Monsters: The Essential Collection (Dracula/Frankenstein/The Mummy/The Invisible Man/The Bride of Frankenstein/The Wolf Man/The Phantom of the Opera/Creature from the Black Lagoon)
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From the era of silent movies through the present day, Universal Studios have been regarded as the home of monsters such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. For the first time ever, Universal Monsters: The Essential Collection features 8 all-time classics on Blu-ray with more than 12 hours of bonus features.
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The films include a generous amount of audio tracks in various languages, an amazing number of subtitles in even more languages, and each disc contains bonus features. Although the box says that there are eight original horror classics, there are actually nine, as the Dracula disc includes the Spanish version of that film, made simultaneously with the Lugosi version with a Mexican cast. The Spanish version has become very popular more recently, although it had previously been unseen for over forty years, and was thought lost forever. One reel of the Spanish Dracula was very badly decomposed, and previous DVD releases of this film made that portion of the film almost unwatchable. They have managed to digitally correct much of the problem, but it’s not quite perfect. Kudos to Universal though, for restoring this important film to the extent that they were able.
And, the previously “lost” scene from Frankenstein, where the monster drowns little Maria, was deleted by the censors of the day as far too shocking. Previous DVD issues restored the scene, but it was badly damaged. It has now been digitally restored to the point where, not only is the deterioration unnoticeable, it looks as good as the rest of the film. Quite an achievement.
The only two problems I have had with the set are minor. First, the Blu-ray menus are somewhat cumbersome to navigate. More importantly, when I pause a film for more than a few minutes, the disc reverts to the Universal logo and will not budge. However, considering the overall quality and presentation of these films, these problems are minor. This is a five-star collection if ever there was one, and I highly recommend it.