Thursday, 28 June 2012

From Hell To Your Machine: Universal Monster Movies

One of my favourite DVD acquisitions over the years has been the Universal monster movie legacy set - with the busts of Bela Lugosi/Dracula, Lon Chaney Jnr/Wolf Man, and Boris Karloff/Frankenstein's creature visible through the transparent frontage, it looks absolutely cool on the film shelf.  Well finally Universal are putting out a package in the US of some of these films on Blu-ray in October of this year.  Containing Dracula (both the English language and South American versions), Frankenstein, Bride of..., The Mummy, Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon (in 3D believe it or not, allowing it to be seen as in its original theatrical projection so many decades ago), The Wolf Man, and Phantom of the Opera the nine film set is spread over eight BDs and comes with a 48 page book, plus there are plentiful extras (looking like they've been culled from the earlier DVDs).  Whilst this is very exciting, and the idea of seeing such classics as the Whale movies and Dracula mastered in full HD is positively mouth-watering, admittedly I've never been so bothered about the Creature... movie and Phantom..., although the idea of seeing the fifties monster movie in its native 3D (of course transferred for modern Real 3D technology) is interesting.  I would like to see some of the Dracula and Frankenstein sequels make it to Blu.  There is a similar boxed set coming out in the UK (1st October), which contains all of the above films including the Spanish Dracula, and very reasonably priced it is for pre-order.  Seems some of these are also getting individual Blu-ray releases in the UK around the same time.

On a related note, and similarly positive, is Universal's decision to release the spoofy but surprisingly effective Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein on Blu at the end of August, to include a featurette and commentary, plus DVD/Digital Copy of the film.  Of course this was previously released in the UK on DVD as part of a huge boxed set devoted to the duo, and on an individually available disc where it was coupled with the inferior ...Meet The Mummy.  Great disc nevertheless.

*Update: Universal are also releasing in the UK a limited edition Coffin Box of the above 8 disc set on Blu-ray, also on October 1st.  Looks pretty good.


  1. Apparently, Universal are claiming that these monster movies aren't big sellersfor them and it needed some persuading for them to be released on BD. Somehow, that sounds like spin to me; I'm guessing they know fans are expecting the inevitable double-dip down the line when they put the equivalent of the Legacy sets out on Blu-ray. This odd claim suggests they're hoping to spook some into thinking that if sales of the initial set aren't up to snuff then there won't be any more.

  2. I was reading those kind of points over at Digital Bits (not sure if that's where you read it too), which I thought was very sad, because when I originally read that Universal had those views I thought we may never get to see them on BD. It's a shame though that the upcoming set is not as expansive (regarding the number of films) as the previous DVD Legacy sets, as I personally like the whole lot in one nice batch (aside from the Invisible Man and Creature sequels, which I'm not so bothered about). Even the Mummy sequels that you sent me are pretty good fun. Anyway, no complaints though (unless the Spanish language Dracula doesn't appear on the UK set!!) as this is a really good start.

  3. Yes, it would be nice to get the lot together, wouldn't it? Still, I honestly don't imagine it will be long before the equivalent of the Legacy sets make an appearance.
    BTW, Sainsbury's seem to have the best deal on the UK set, and if you're a first time buyer then the code SETENJ12 gives an extra 10% off until July 17. Should bring the price down to a shade over £30.

  4. Of note is that the UK set has made it into the top ten of current blu-ray purchases on Amazon as high as about 3 or 4 over the last day or so, which is surprising for something which Universal suggested there was not really enough interest for. The price is admittedly very attractive though.


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