Movie News

Universal to release 8 classic studio horror films! On Blu Ray! The Biggies! Yes!!!

Published at: June 28, 2012, 11:50 p.m. CST by AICNStaff

Hey folks, Harry here...  yes, this is literally the stuff of dreams.   When I dream monsters, I dream classic monsters.   And they don't try to kill me, we're like hanging out talking about cartoon monsters, sports, current political events.  It's usually with Earl Grey tea & milk and those delicious cookies made for tea time and then Hugh Hefner and the 1960's PLAYMATES spill into the scene, with Weismuller, Crabbe and Henry Brandon all drinking beer and Gene Kelly starts a musical number involving cinema & sex...  But always always the dream ends with me waking up clutching the Blu-Ray set that Universal just announced today that on October 2nd, they're releasing this awesome upon the world!  

 

 

Yup, it's pretty much exactly the dream of the first release... of what we classic horror fans hope...  will be a yearly additional set.   This one brings us FRANKENSTEIN & BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.  Just a tremendous 1, 2 punch of pure awesome.   In the first - the gaunt cadaverous face of Karloff combined with Jack Pierce's just fiercely nightmarish make up perfection...  It is just a film that studying every frame is sort of like one of those things I do from time to time.  FRANKENSTEIN is one of those films.  There isn't a wasted frame for me.   Every shot is the material of dreams.   Such a lucid dream of a story being told to me.   FRANKENSTEIN is just a perfect thing.  Something that every lover of horror loves a piece of.   Because FRANKENSTEIN resides in the soul of everyone that loves making film.  And so it is true of THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.   BRIDE is a fevered comical satiric masterpiece of horror and Whale is just showing off and you get the sense that the mood on this set was one of good spirits.   FRANKENSTEIN feels real.  BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is more than real.  It's surreal & it is brilliant.  

Extras:

 

      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
  • FrankensteinArchives
  • 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

 

      Bonus Features:

  • She’s Alive! Creating The Bride Of Frankenstein
  • The Bride Of FrankensteinArchive 
  • Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
  • Trailer Gallery

Then we get another Whale of a tale, THE INVISIBLE MAN by H.G. Wells.  It is perfectly told.  Claude Rains' impossibly homicidal power mad cacklingly brilliant vocal work.   It's just the greatest character voice in the history of cinema.   It's also his posturing, his physique as he spouts, the utter delight of his striptease to nada.   It's just wondrous.   The FX are exactly enough to make the film work without a moment's hesitation.    The performances, the shots, the lighting, the incredibly rich textured sets and the painted shadows.   It works perfectly for every moment.   

 

      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

Then there's DRACULA.  Dear lord, Lugosi's DRACULA.   There's something about him that is exactly a nightmare.  It's the strength of his will, the regal menace, he covets beauty, but as only something to possess, dominate and pervert.   Lugosi has a charm, the charm of a man that dances amongst mortals picking out his exact taget.   He's a lion amongst gazelles.  It is an anceint rite for him.   London is an excusion.  A vacation.  He's having a time of it.  It isn't nasty and dirty.  It's a decent kind of vampire.  No gore.  No mess at all.  Waste not, want not.  Again it doesn't move like reality, it's a waing dream.   It is also a straight film.  And in my home, I always drink wine and consume something garlic-y

 

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

Next is THE WOLF MAN.  God I love Lon Chaney Jr in this film.   Larry Talbot just strikes me as a I guy I would have loved.   He's got a great spirit, his instant guilt over what has happened to him.   He instantly thinks about being responsible for any act of savagery.   He sells it to me.  When I think of the word SYMPATHETIC, I see Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot in his desperate moments in this film.   Also, when I hear the word GYPSY, I envision Maria Ouspenskaya.  She is gypsy in my monkey brain.   I even have a Webster-esque engraving image in my mind for her GYPSY definition.   Claude Rains is Talbot's father and he's fantastic.  I love that it is a story about something tragic happening... perchance to his son, not an inherited evil family shame.   This is just more elegant.   He's a loving father and he attempts to do his best for Larry.   

 

      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 ManArchives
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver  
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Trailer Gallery  

Claude Rains also reigns in the next Universal Horror classic, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.  This was my mother's favorite Universal horror.   She loved the technicolor, but mainly she absolutely loved Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster.   Rains always get overshadowed by Lon Chaney Sr's silent masterpiece.   But in my mind, Chaney's PHANTOM can only be alongside his HUNCHBACK and his 998 other faces.   To me Chaney is an industry all his own.  Claude Rains with this film began to usher in Color Horror.   Something of a mythical thing in classic movie horror.   It wasn't until the Hammer's SILVER AGE version of the creature tales that color met these creations.  But Rains' Phantom is a particularly mad creation.   In many ways, it is the most human translation of the character.   Like Laughton's Hunchback.   This is a lavish production, dying to see it on Blu Ray!

 

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 

Then there's one last classic Karloff creation.  A film where he has multiple faces.  Two of which are my personal favorite make ups in the history of makeups.  The film centers upon the paralyzing horror of just being hunted by a cursed undead homicidally bent Mummy... a mummy that would strangle the life right the fuck out of you.   I believe in that fear.  It is necessary for the film.   I believe because I watch the film from the perspective of it as being the living record of what happened in that 1921 expedition to Egypt that ended with so much personal loss.   It is a warning to the folly of Modern men in not heeding the anceint magic power of a curse.  Silly archeaologists.  This is the same universe as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK...  rumor of this expedition, if not it's full trappings are known to Indiana Jones.   After what he's seen, he knows to be on his toes for the things that go bump.  At least in my unified film theory.   How sweet would a Indy opening Karloff's sarcophagus with a torch held up be as a poster?  Someone?   I also love the very particular hotness of Zita Johann.  She is dressed so well in this movie, her style is killer.   

 

     Bonus Features:

  • 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 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 

 

 

And last, as I stated on today's episode of my show, is THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.  For my money, the best full body costumed monster of all time.   The swimming sequences in this film, when the creature is swimming beneath Julie Adams... they're just the stuff of dreams.   I could imagine watching that water show at the Georgia Aquarium or some show in Vegas or an old school Hippodrome built megatheater with giant water tanks for amazing swimming sequences.   I want someone to do a remake, with only the subtlest updates to the costume.  Make that look work in color and in color, but as it works in BLACK & WHITE - it is perfect.  When it is in the water, my brain tells me that there's a Creature from the Black Lagoon up there.   They say they have a 3D version on here too.  Personally I'm dying for them to spend the money to convert CREATURE FROM THE  BLACK LAGOON in REAL D 3D.  CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON's polarized 3D... stuff of dreams.  Make it so.  Its 70th Anniversary is coming up.  Hint Hint. Every screening of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON that I've ever seen, be it in Barton Springs or Deep Eddy or The 1200 seat Paramount theater, that I bet an aggressive campaign would be rewarded with an audience.   Especially with the 3D of this film, it's really striking in that format.   Highly recommended. 

 

Bonus Features:

  • The Creature From The Black Lagoonin 3D
  • Back to The Black Lagoon
  • Production Photographs
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Trailer Gallery

So for everyone that just shat their pants...  I'll republish this story to top story with pre-order links, I can't wait to be assured of my copy.  If I get a press copy, I'll just give the spare to family or friends.  I want another 8 titles from the vault next year I pray!

 

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus

Top Talkbacks