- Amazon Sales Rank: #36454 in DVD
- Released on: 2000-08-29
- Rating: Unrated
- Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 8
- Formats: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD, Full Screen, NTSC
- Original language: English
- Subtitled in: French
- Running time: 608 minutes
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful.
An Essential Collection
By Gary F. Taylor
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.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful.
The definition of the term “Classic.”
By Zack Davisson
This box set is truly amazing, and worth the purchase price. Each of these is the somewhat “definitive” version of the Universal “monster stable,” before camp took over. (The main exception to this is “Phantom of the Opera.” The Lon Chaney version of the phantom is much more resonate, and remains the archetype. Claude Rains version is a little lackluster.)
Each DVD is packed with features, including a special documentary for each monster type per disk. The well informed host takes you through the creation of the character from original novel, to stage play to silent film, and in many cases to the life beyond Universal. There are references to Edison’s “Frankenstein” silent film as well as the German “Nosferatu.” I really enjoyed the information on the creation of the monsters appearance, and the various stages they went through.
While all of the films are excellent, the real standout of this collection is the “Dracula” DVD. Containing both the English and Spanish versions of the film (made simultaneously, using the same sets with different actors. The English crew would set off and the Spanish crew would film their shots.) It also has a really lovely second sound track, composed by Philip Glass. It adds a new dimension to the film.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful.
Universal’s BEST “Classic Monster Collection” now on DVD!
Universal Studios the Master of the Horror movie has masterfully restored & remastered EIGHT of the their BEST in the “CLASSIC MONSTER COLLECTION! Seven Black & White and One Technicolor (The 1943 “Phantom of the Opera”) are presented in OUTSTANDING Clarity and Sound. The entire set is preserved in the actual theatrical FULL Screen format (4:3 aspect ratio-tv). Each of these 8 movies have extensive extra features including; background featurettes, commentary by film historians and a Picture montage of original lobby posters & publicity photos. This is an absolute must have for your DVD Home Theatre library!!!
The Universal Studios of the 1930′s revolutionized special effects and the horror movie under the helm of Carl Laemmle Jr., Director James Whale and make-up genius Jack Pierce. Universal also had one of the greatest stable of stars many to play in reoccurring roles; Boris Karloff – Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932) & Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Bela Lugosi – Dracula (1931) & The Wolfman (1941). Claude Rains – The Invisible Man (1933 – Karloff was replaced by Rains due to contractual disputes), The Wolfman (1941) & The Phantom of the Opera (1943 – in fabulous TECHNICOLOR). Dwight Frye (the mad assistant) – Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man & The Bride of Frankenstein. Una O’Connor (the hysterical screamer) – Frankenstein, The Invisible Man & The Bride of Frankenstein. Edward Van Sloan (The Scientist/Doctor) – Frankenstein, Dracula & The Mummy. Lon Chaney Jr. – became The Wolman (1941).
Summary:Dracula (1931) established Carl Laemmle Jr. & Universal as the King of the Horror Picture while Bela Lugosi became the undisputed KING of the Vampires. Provided in 3 versions – Original, New Musical Score & Spanish Version filmed with all Spanish cast (see my review). Frankenstein (1931) established James Whale as the Master Director of Horror (also did, The Invisible Man & The Bride Of Frankenstein). Boris Karloff became a Super star playing “The Monster”. (AFI top 100 film – see my review) The Mummy (1932) has Karloff playing in the lead role as a cursed Eygptian Priest returning from the dead after 2500 years. The Invisible Man (1933) establishes Claude Rains as a star with his voice. Playing a manical chemist who discovers invisibility with insanity is only seen at the very end of the picture. ( Outstanding special effects). The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Karloff in an encore role with a wife. (Considered to be the Best Frankenstein of the series). The Wolfman (1941) – establishes Lon Chaney Jr. as a superstar. He is bitten by a werewolf and begins a cursed nightmare. Phantom of the Opera (1943 – in Technicolor) has Rains in the lead role of the tormented manical violinist who loves a young upcoming opera singer. The Creature of the Black Lagoon (1954) Outstanding underwater photography. Is a cult classic of a gillman fall s for girl. “Beauty & the Beast” storyline.
This is a great collection and a must for the classic collector. Enjoy.
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