DVD Shopping Bag: Universal Horror Collection Blu-rays (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Source: Mania.com

When Universal Studios announced that they would have 13 Special Edition Blu-rays for their 100th Anniversary I became all giddy. When I learned the likes of To Kill a Mocking Bird and Out of Africa were slated to get the royal 100th Anniversary treatment I completely understood those films. When the likes of Pillow Talk and Buck Privates arrived I had to scratch my head and go WTF?! After all, shouldn’t at least Frankenstein and Dracula receive the royal treatment ahead of these films? Thankfully, last week we got the news that Universal Studios is releasing the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection on Blu-ray (see article). Now this opens the door to the final remaining 100 Universal Anniversary Collector Blu-rays as Dracula and Frankenstein will not be present here. It does close another door and robs the fans of a few things. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love that Universal is doing this to their pride and joy for a genre they helped establish. I cannot wait to read through the book that is included and watch all the new special features as well as check out the Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D again (saw this in a theatre once and it was super cool). Yet as I looked through the Blu-ray’s offerings I noticed one thing that was severely lacking, the sequels. 

In 2004 Universal released the The Legacy Collection of all their Universal Horror monsters. The likes of the Revenge of the Creature, The Invisible Agent, Son of Frankenstein, and She-Wolf of London were now available in one collection (per original title DVD). Granted, these movies aren’t the best. However, if you are a fan of Universal’s monsters these films are a great window into the studio’s history. They are also a fun romp into the B and C movies of the genre. I understand the restoring of the original classics in 1080p and a release in the latest format. For that new generation of fans, these films are now swept under the carpet again. Anything from a collection of all the sequels on Blu-ray (which has space) or even their compilation on an additional DVD would have been fine. Instead, well you know, nada.

This isn’t the first time Universal has ignored the sequels either. After the Legacy Collection Universal released the Legacy Series which highlighted only the original horror films. As recent as The Wolf Man (2010, see review) Special Edition DVD, all the films’ sequels were left in the vault. Again I have to ask, why? At least all the special features here are the same as what will be on the Blu-ray. 

Another interesting addition to the collection is Universal embracing, again, their original monster The Phantom of the Opera. This is odd because Image Entertainment released this on Blu-ray last November (see article) with 6 different versions included. I’m glad Universal has gone back and restored this film but why now and why after so many years of leaving it out in the cold? Probably a reason of legality. 

All right, so I am bitching and complaining about a really great Blu-ray box set about some of the greatest horror films of all time. For this film aficionado it all comes down to passing that torch onto the next generation. When I first saw The Invisible Man with Claude Rains, I wanted to be him; to have his power. Yes, it seems mad but it was intoxicating to see the story from the villain’s point of view. When I finally got to watch all the sequels it transported me back to a time when Saturday afternoon B-Movies were the fare of the day; when our only escape was the dark cool cinema at the end of the block. These horror films by Universal live and breathe in a way no other movies in the modern era can. They are eternal classics and will be here long after all of us are gone. To rob the next generation of their legacy, warts and all, diminishes the original films. Yes, I know they are out there and the Legacy Series and the Legacy Collection are easily available on Amazon. Yet in an age where everything is so easily available why make these other films so much harder to acquire?
 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:

1. Magnum P.I.: Season One
2. 
Six Pack
3. 
Barbarella [Blu-ray] 
4. 
Glen Or Glenda (Colorized / Black & White) 
5. 
Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Battle Force Starring Scott Martin, Clint Glenn Hummel, Tony Pauletto

Billy the Kid Starring John Mack Brown, Wallace Beery, Kay Johnson and Karl Dane

Crying Game Starring Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker

Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! [Blu-ray] Starring Tomas Milian, Ray Lovelock, Piero Lulli and Milo Quesada

Firestorm Starring Scott Glenn, William Forsythe and Howie Long

Great Killing Starring Mikijiro Hira, Yoshio Inaba and Toru Abe

God Bless America Starring Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr and Mackenzie Brooke Smith

Hear No Evil Starring D.B. Sweeney, Martin Sheen, John C. McGinley

The Hunter [Blu-ray] Starring Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor and Sam Neill

Nightwatch Starring Ewan McGregor, Josh Brolin, Patricia Arquette

Vanishing Point Starring Viggo Mortensen, Jason Priestley and Steve Railsback

Wind Blast Starring Francis Ng, Yihong Duan and Zhang Li

Wind Blast [Blu-ray] Starring Francis Ng, Yihong Duan and Zhang Li

ANIME

Hidamari Sketch Specials (2012)

Hetalia: World Series 2 - Season Four (Limited Edition) Starring Todd Haberkorn, Christopher Bevins and Patrick Seitz

Hetalia: World Series 2 - Season Four Starring Christopher Bevins, Todd Haberkorn and Patrick Seitz

Needless Complete Collection [Blu-ray]

Needless Complete Collection

CARTOONS

Home on the Range [Blu-ray]

Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection 1

Rocko's Modern Life: Season Three Starring Tom Kenny, Carlos Alazraqui and Charles Adler

Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]

CLASSICS

Glen Or Glenda (Colorized / Black & White) Starring Edward D. Wood Jr., Bela Lugosi and Lyle Talbot

The Journey Starring Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Jason Robards and Jr.

Kino Classics Presents: The Devil's Needle and Other Tales of Vice And Redemption [Blu-ray] Starring Norma Talmadge and Tully Marshall

Monogram Cowboy Collection Volume 3: Johnny Mack Brown Classics Starring Johnny Mack Brown

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

WWE: No Holds Barred Starring Hulk Hogan, Tommy Tiny Lister, Joan Severance

The Pirate Movie Starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins

Six Pack Starring Kenny Rogers, Diane Lane and Erin Gray

HORROR

Dimension Extreme Horror Fest (Hellraiser: Revelations / Children of the Corn: Genesis / Zombie Diaries 2: World of the Dead) (Triple Feature) Starring Phillip Brodie, J.J. Banicki and Steven Brand

Elvira's Movie Macabre: Giant Monsters Starring Elvira

The Entity [Blu-ray] Starring Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco and David Labiosa

The Entity Starring Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver and Alex Rocco

Ghost in the Machine Starring Karen Allen, Chris Mulkey and Jessica Walter

Quicksilver Highway Starring Christopher Lloyd, Raphael Sbarge and Matt Frewer

Some Guy Who Kills People Starring Barry Bostwick, Kevin Corrigan and Leo Fitzpatrick

The Maze Starring Shalaina Castle, Brandon Sean Pearson, Kyle Paul

MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY

Born on the Fourth of July [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary) Starring Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava and Josh Evans

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Barbarella [Blu-ray] Starring Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg

Goliad Uprising Starring Shannon Lark and Aaron Weisinger

Phenomenon [Blu-ray] Starring John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Jeffrey Demunn

TV LAND

Bonanza V.1 Starring Michael Landon, Bill Clark, Lorne Greene

Dynasty: The Sixth Season Starring John James, John Forsythe, Gordon Thomson and Michael Nader

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Starring Harry Lloyd, Mark Addy, Alfie Allen and Sean Bean

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] Starring Harry Lloyd, Mark Addy, Alfie Allen and Sean Bean

Magnum P.I.: Season One Starring Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

Magnum P.I.: Season Two Starring Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

Mannix: The Seventh Season Starring Mike Connors, Gail Fisher, Ward Wood and Joseph Campanella

Streets of San Francisco: Season Three, Vol. 1 Starring Karl Malden, Michael Douglas, Dennis Cole

Streets of San Francisco: Season Three, Vol. 2 Starring Karl Malden, Michael Douglas, Reuben Collins

Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms. 



Series: