Movie News: Universal Monsters Coming To Blu-ray...

Written by Martin Unsworth Thursday, 28 June 2012

Movie News

Universal Monsters

With this year being the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures, the studio has promised all new restorations of some of their classic films. The rumoured re-appearance of their much loved monster output from the early ‘30s was confirmed today when the studio released the following press release:


“For the first time ever, eight of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces of the horror genre are available together on Blu-ray as Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection débuts on October 2, 2012 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Digitally restored from high resolution film elements in perfect high-definition picture and perfect high-definition sound for the first time ever, Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection brings together the very best of Universal’s legendary monsters—imaginative and technically ground breaking tales of terror that launched a uniquely American movie genre. This definitive collection features eight films on Blu-ray, a collectible 48-page book featuring behind-the-scenes photographs, original posters, correspondence and much more. Each iconic film is accompanied by an array of bonus features that tell the fascinating story of its creation and history, including behind-the-scenes documentaries, filmmaker commentaries, interviews, storyboards, photo galleries, and trailers. Especially appealing for fans are a never-before-seen featurette about the restoration of Dracula and the first ever offering of Creature from the Black Lagoon in its restored Blu-ray 3D version.

From the era of silent movies through the present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection honours the studio’s accomplishments with the most iconic monsters in motion-picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Featuring performances by legends of the horror genre, including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester, these eight iconic films also feature ground breaking special effects and innovative make-up that continue to influence filmmakers into the 21st century. Sure to be a Halloween favourite for years to come, Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection is the ideal gift for film buffs and horror aficionados alike.

Synopses and Bonus Features

Dracula (1931)

The original 1931 movie version of Bram Stoker’s classic tale has for generations defined the iconic look and terrifying persona of the famed vampire. Dracula owes its continued appeal in large part due to Bela Lugosi’s indelible portrayal of the immortal Count Dracula and the flawless direction of horror auteur Tod Browning. The Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection includes the original version of this chilling and evocative tale, as well as the rarely seen Spanish version of Dracula. Filmed simultaneously with the English language version, the Spanish version of Dracula is an equally ominous vision of the horror classic shot with the same sets and script. Cinematographer George Robinson and a vibrant cast including Carlos Villarias and Lupita Tovar deliver a chilling and evocative tale filled with the same terror, mystery, and intrigue.

Bonus Features:

Dracula, the 1931 Spanish version, with Introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner

The Road to Dracula

Lugosi: The Dark Prince

Dracula: The Restoration – New Featurette Available for The First Time!

Monster Tracks: Interactive Pop-Up Facts About the Making of Dracula

Dracula Archives

Score by Philip Glass performed by the Kronos Quartet

Feature Commentary by Film Historian David J. Skal

Feature Commentary by Steve Haberman, Screenwriter of Dracula: Dead and Loving It

Trailer Gallery

Frankenstein (1931)

Boris Karloff stars as the screen’s most tragic and iconic monster in what many consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) dares to tamper with the essential nature of life and death by creating a monster (Karloff) out of lifeless human body parts. Director James Whale’s adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel and Karloff’s compassionate portrayal of a creature groping for identity make Frankenstein a timeless masterpiece.

Bonus Features:

The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster

Karloff: The Gentle Monster

Monster Tracks: Interactive Pop-Up Facts About The Making of Frankenstein

Universal Horror

Frankenstein Archives

Boo!: A Short Film

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer

Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling

100 Years Of Universal: Restoring the Classics

Trailer Gallery

The Mummy (1932)

Horror icon Boris Karloff stars in the original 1932 version of The Mummy in which a team of British archaeologists accidentally revives a mummified high priest after 3,700 years. Alive again, he sets out on an obsessive—and deadly—quest to find his lost love. Over 50 years after its first release, this brooding dream-like horror classic remains a cinematic masterpiece.

Bonus Features:

Mummy Dearest:  A Horror Tradition Unearthed

He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art Of Jack Pierce

Unravelling the Legacy of The Mummy

The Mummy Archives

Feature Commentary by Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns and Brent Armstrong

Feature Commentary by Film Historian Paul M. Jensen

100 Years Of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era

Trailer Gallery

The Invisible Man (1933)

Claude Rains delivers an unforgettable performance in his screen debut as a mysterious doctor who discovers a serum that makes him invisible. Covered by bandages and dark glasses, Rains arrives in a small English village and attempts to hide his amazing discovery, but the drug’s side effects slowly drive him to commit acts of unspeakable terror. Based on H.G. Welles’ classic novel and directed by the master of macabre, James Whale,The Invisible Man fueled a host of sequels and features revolutionary special effects that are still imitated today.

Bonus Features:

Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed

Production Photographs

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer

100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The acclaimed sequel to the original Frankenstein has become one of the most popular horror classics in film history. The legendary Boris Karloff reprises his role as the screen’s most misunderstood monster, now longing for a mate of his own. Colin Clive is back as the proud and overly ambitious Dr. Frankenstein, who creates the ill-fated bride (Elsa Lanchester). The last horror film directed by James Whale features a haunting musical score that helps make The Bride of Frankenstein one of the finest and most touching thrillers of its era.

Bonus Features:

She’s Alive! Creating The Bride Of Frankenstein

The Bride Of Frankenstein Archive

Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen

100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics

Trailer Gallery

The Wolf Man (1941)

Originally released in 1941, The Wolf Man introduced the world to a new Universal movie monster and redefined the mythology of the werewolf forever. Featuring a heartbreaking performance by Lon Chaney Jr. and ground breaking make-up by Jack Pierce, The Wolf Man is the saga of Larry Talbot, a cursed man who transforms into a deadly werewolf when the moon is full. The dreamlike atmospheres, elaborate settings and chilling musical score combine to make The Wolf Man a masterpiece of the genre.

Bonus Features:

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

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

100 Years of Universal: The Lot

Trailer Gallery

Phantom of the Opera (1943)

This lavish retelling of Gaston Leroux’s immortal horror tale stars Claude Rains as the masked phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House. A crazed composer who schemes to make beautiful young soprano Christine DuBois (Susanna Foster) the star of the opera company, the Phantom also wreaks revenge on those he believes stole his music. Nelson Eddy, as the heroic baritone, tries to win the affections of Christine as he tracks down the murderous, horribly disfigured Phantom.

Bonus Features:

The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked

Production Photographs

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen

100 Years of Universal: The Lot

Theatrical Trailer

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Captured and imprisoned for scientific study, a living “amphibious missing link” becomes enamoured with the head researcher’s female assistant (Julie Adams). When the hideous creature escapes and kidnaps the object of his affection, a crusade is launched to rescue the helpless woman and cast the terrifying creature back to the depths from which he came. Featuring legendary make-up artist Bud Westmore’s brilliantly designed monster, Creature from the Black Lagoon is an enduring tribute to the imaginative genius of its Hollywood creators.

Bonus Features:

The Creature From The Black Lagoon in 3D

Back to The Black Lagoon

Production Photographs

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

100 Years of Universal: The Lot

Trailer Gallery


This certainly looks like a set to double dip on. No release date for the UK as yet, but the BBFC have listed several of the extras as being passed recently, so it shouldn't be too far after the US ship date of October 2nd. There is still talk of the superb Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein getting the HD treatment too. We can't wait.

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0 #1 Robin Pierce 2012-06-28 23:00
All well, fine and good - but would it actually kill Universal to release the REST of the Mummy movies (The Mummy's Hand and the Lon Chaney Jnr series) on regular DVD at some point? We've waited, and waited, and waited....

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