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Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection [Blu-ray]

4.6 out of 5 stars 414 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection showcases 8 of the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these original films set the standard for a new horror genre with revolutionary makeup, mood-altering cinematography and groundbreaking special effects. Featuring over 12 hours of revealing bonus features plus an exclusive collectible book, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements for the ultimate classic monster experience.

Special Features

Disc 1 - Dracula (1931):
  • The Road to Dracula
  • Lugosi: The Dark Prince
  • Dracula: The Restoration
  • Monster Tracks
  • Dracula Archives
  • Alternate Score by Philip Glass - Performed by the Kronos Quartet
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian David J. Skal
  • Feature Commentary with Steve Haberman, Screenwriter of Dracula: Dead and Loving It
  • Trailer Gallery
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 1 - Dracula (1931) - Spanish Version:
  • Introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner


  • Disc 2 - Frankenstein:
  • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
  • Karloff: The Gentle Monster
  • Monster Tracks
  • Universal Horror
  • Frankenstein Archives
  • Boo!  A Short Film
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 3 - The Mummy (1932):
  • Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
  • Unraveling The Legacy of The Mummy
  • The Mummy Archives
  • Feature Commentary with Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns and Brent Armstrong
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Paul M. Jensen
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 4 - The Invisible Man:
  • Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed
  • Production Photographs
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 5 - The Bride of Frankenstein:
  • She's Alive!  Creating The Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Bride of Frankenstein Archive
  • Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 6 - The Wolf Man:
  • Monster by Moonlight
  • The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth
  • Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney, Jr.
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
  • The Wolf Man Archives
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 7 - Phantom of the Opera (1943):
  • The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked
  • Production Photographs
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen
  • Trailer
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • My Scenes


  • Disc 8 - Creature From the Black Lagoon:
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (3D Version)
  • Back to the Black Lagoon
  • Production Photographs
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Jr Lon Chaney
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono), French (DTS-HD 2.0), Spanish (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: Spanish
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: All Regions
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 8
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: October 2, 2012
    • Run Time: 710 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (414 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B008FL8OTK
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Marty Gillis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 23, 2012
    Format: Blu-ray
    The 'Universal Classic Monsters Essential Collection' takes most of the top tier titles from Universal's classic horror library of the 30's, 40's and 50's and puts them all together in one box set. These films have not just been remastered in 1080p but have also been meticulously cleaned up with much work done to both video and audio. The end result is an eye opening revelation for all the fans of these films.

    To call these movies "classic" is really somewhat of an understatement for fans. These are basically the gold standard for horror films and Universal has finally given them their due. I was fortunate enough to borrow a review set for 2 days in anticipation of receiving my own set that was pre-ordered the same day it was announced. One week to go and I can watch them again! I made notes as I watched and spent a great two days and nights with this set.

    With that said, this review will focus on the video/audio quality of the set and not the films' content. Basically, what everyone is wanting to know is whether or not this upgrade is a major step up from the legacy series DVD sets. Other than containing the more popular top tier titles and only one of the sequels (Bride of Frankenstein) the answer is YES this is a HUGE upgrade. In fact, once you see these transfers on a properly calibrated display you will NEVER want to watch them any other way. I simply can not imagine them looking any better when first released (other than a few missing frames here and there these days) and the audio is most definitely the best it has EVER sounded. Major kudos and hats off to the team at Universal that did this fantastic job of restoration.

    The included booklet is very nice but doesn't contain anything the more than casual fan doesn't already know.
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    Format: Blu-ray
    No series in the history of the cinematic horror genre has endured as long as the Universal Monster classics of the 1930s and '40s - a time marked by the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler's Germany and America's eventual involvement in WWII. At the outset, the Universal films were hugely successful with audiences seeking an escape, but by the time the U.S. became embroiled in the conflict, the popularity of the studio's trademark monsters became less inviting to viewers, who turned their attention to war-time enemies as the cinematic nemesis of choice. Before that happened, however, Universal established a litany of Monster Classics that would inspire long-running franchises and become favorites of viewers for generations to come.

    Universal's eagerly anticipated UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION arrives on Blu-Ray this week and pays a new, glorious high-definition tribute to eight of the studio's genre benchmarks, all presented in fresh, and impressive, 1080p AVC encoded transfers marked by a surprising amount of detail.

    Looking at Tod Browning's 1931 DRACULA is virtually like gazing upon the Bela Lugosi classic for the first time. The movie is best remembered for its opening Transylvanian set-piece that introduces viewers to Lugosi's unforgettable count, and while the London sequences tend to be static and dull by comparison, the increased detail seen here in the Blu-Ray's HD presentation even makes the talky, latter sections of the picture more interesting. In fact, without any overt use of DNR, this ranks as one of the studio's most satisfying catalog transfers to date.
    Read more ›
    12 Comments 173 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This box set is truly worth every penny it costs: a collection of eight iconographical titles in the "Universal Horror" pantheon from the 1930s and 1940s. The titles are DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY, THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE WOLFMAN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Each DVD comes in a plastic case sporting original poster art, and all eight are neatly packaged in a single box for easy organization. Each of the titles have been significantly restored, and although the bonus features vary a bit from disk to disk each disk has a short documentary and interesting critical audio track.

    The "Jewel In The Crown" of the set is DRACULA. While critical response to the film varies, the DVD includes both the Bella Lugosi and the so-called "Spanish" Dracula, as well as the option to play the Lugosi version with or without the recent Philip Glass soundtrack as well as memorable bonus material. The weak link the collection is THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA; the Claude Rains remake isn't a patch on the original, and it is a pity that the silent Lon Chaney version was not offered instead. Still, the Rains version has its charms, and it far surpasses later film versions of the same title.
    While each of the DVDs included can be purchased separately, those wishing to have all these titles will find the box set more cost-effective. Sure to delight fans of Universal horror classics and fans of classic film in general; strongly recommended as an essential.

    GFT, Amazon Reviewer
    11 Comments 180 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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