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Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection [Blu-ray]
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Universal has put considerable effort into restoring and revitalizing each film, and while there's room to nitpick, it's hard to focus on little flaws when the whole of the package is so good. If you have any love for Golden Age horror classics, add this one to your cart or wish list post haste.
Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (1931-1954)
The 8-disc Universal Classic Monsters: Essential Collection box set features all eight films; nine when you include Drácula, a Spanish-language version of Dracula that was shot simultaneously to the Lugosi picture, albeit with an entirely different cast.
The Collection comes packaged in an understated but handsome box set with a sturdy outer sleeve that houses a tome-like DigiPak (with one page devoted to each film) and a copy of 'The Original House of Horror, a 48-page booklet. The discs themselves slide inside of each DigiPak page - something that will be a sticking point for some since you have to grasp the edge of a disc to remove it from its snug hideaway.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Also included in the box set is a nice collectible booklet and eight poster cards (measuring just under 6" x 5").
This product is a UK Import, but the discs are region-free and will function perfectly in US Blu-Ray players.
I finally broke down and got a Blu Ray player - an Oppo 105 Darbee. Having owned a bunch of Oppo DVD players and with a big collection of SACDs, I was curious since the 105 is such an audiophile / videophile fave.
Before I ordered it, I bought the Universal Monsters 8-disc collection. The British one can be had for about $45.
I finally got the player, hooked it up, and put on "Dracula". My wife happened to enter the room and immediately said "Oh my God!"
This disc is crystal-clear. The greyscale is perfect. The disc is 24 fps - the same frame rate as the film. The transfer was wet-gated, which takes out most of the scratches. Then each frame was inspected and fixed. Any flaw that was once there - the jump in size during the credits and the wow in Swan Lake - is gone. You can see details that I had never seen before. I guarantee you that Tod Browning had never seen this film look or sound this good. I honestly felt like I was visiting the set during the shoot instead of merely watching the film.
Frankenstein is similar - it felt like a new movie that I hadn't seen before. The Mummy is beautiful, but I don't think that they put the same amount of money into restoring it as they did with Frankie and Drac.
Highly, highly recommended. It's worth buying a player to experience it.
Aside from the UK version lacking a commentary for Dracula, this is just about identical to the US set. The biggest reason to buy the UK set, other than it being FAR cheaper, is the much better packaging. In the US version, the discs slide into tight sleeve pages. They say, oh, you don't have to worry. They're blu-rays. They won't get scratched. Bull. No matter how durable blu-rays are, if you slide them in and out of sleeves enough times, they'll get scratched. The disc in the UK set are in plastic digitrays and don't touch each other or slide in and out of sleeves. I can't believe that the people that put together the US set were so cheap when they were making the sets.....
If you're any kind of classic monsters fan, you need to get this set. There tons of great features like documentaries about the makeup artists, the making of the movies, the history of monster movies and Universal Studios, and at least one, sometimes two, commentaries for each movies.
The only downside to the set, to me at least, is the inclusion of the colour version of Phantom Of The Opera instead of the silent 1925 version. The Lon Chaney version is the one that people want to see again and again.
Listed by movie title and year of release.
Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein (1931 and 1935)
Dracula/Spanish version of Dracula (1931)
The Mummy (1932)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Wolf Man (1941
Phantom of the Opera (1943)
Creature From the Black Lagoon in both 3D+2D (1954)
Hope you enjoy this collection as much as I do!
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Serious fans, however, will balk at the absence of Son of Frankenstein, Daughter of Dracula and countless other essentials.
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