DVD Shopping Bag: Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Companion - Mania.com



DVD Shopping Bag: Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Companion

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DVD Shopping Bag: Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Companion

A great start but why stop there?

By Robert T. Trate     October 09, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Last week, Christmas came early for many of the Maniacs on this site. Universal Studios, in celebration of their 100th anniversary, released the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection. For all those horror aficionados, this box set was long in coming. Now there have been re-releases over the years, but nothing like this. Here was the brilliant work of a bygone age completely remastered in 1080p and HD sound. Not to go all blue on you, but can I get a “Hell Yeah” on this collection?

 

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been infatuated with the Universal Monsters. With the dawn of cable and channels like AMC and TCM, these films played over and over again every October. With the dawn of DVD, I started collecting them and putting them into my own library. These films are too great to only be watched once a year. As I got older, I wanted to know more about the films and their history. Packed with 12 hours of bonus features, commentaries, and new behind the scenes from the Universal vaults, this Blu-ray collection is a great start. However, if you are like me, it’s never enough. I want more, need more, and won’t stop until I have my fill. I’ve been watching these movies for over 30 years and am still not satisfied. Perhaps it never will be enough and that is my problem. What I wanted to share with you is what I have found to satisfy (well, mostly) my needs for a Universal Monster fix. Here is the DVD Shopping Bag’s Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Companion!

Universal Horrors: the Studios Classic Films,1931-1946 by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas, and John Brunas. 

Released in 2007, it is the best text book you’ll ever buy for your Universal Monster education. Everything has been collected for the Universal Horror films that you know and tons that you have never heard of. It is a plethora of knowledge that will make you feel like a professor of these films when you are done reading it. It is my go-to guide for all of these classic films. See it on Amazon here

2 More Phantom of the Operas

While watching Claude Rains’s Phantom of the Opera (the only color film in the box set) I was taken back by how much the story does not revolve around our the title character. Rains delivers a heart wrenching performance, but the studios were clearly more interested in the two leads (Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster). What shocked me was that Chaney’s film was not included in this box set. It was filmed on the Universal Lot and produced by Carl Laemmle, as well. I guess with the film in public domain, it really isn’t Universal’s concern anymore. So, naturally, you’ll need to pick up the 1925 version. Check out Image Entertainment’s Blu-ray edition released last year (see our review). However, if you want something a little more grandeur, I highly recommend The Phantom of the Opera (1990) with Charles Dance. It is a TV movie, but was filmed in the real Paris Opera House. Dance’s performance is the highlight as a truly tortured soul. The run time is long, but that only means more of Dance’s Phantom. 

More Mummies, Damn it!

Last week, after reading Tim Janson’s “From the Vault” on the Universal Mummy movies, I knew I had to have them (see column). The Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection only features one sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein. If one were to travel back in time to ancient 2004, the entire saga of The Mummy was collected in The Mummy - Legacy Collection. For a mere $25, I can walk with Karloff and Chaney (Jr.) to those grand old days of second features. Then again, why stop there when I can see Dracula’s Daughter, The Invisible Agent, and all the other subsequent sequels on all the 2004 Legacy Collection Sets (start here on Amazon). 

The Creature from the Black Lagoon Soundtrack

I’ve had the fortunate experience to see The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D. With the advent of 3D Blu-ray players, you, too, can now experience this at home. Universal has included the 3D version in the set. All you need is the right player and the glasses. When I saw it in 3D, something else jumped off the screen for me. Henry Mancini’s score might be one of the great forgotten musical pieces of the era. Sure, we all know how many times “Swan Lake” is used in Dracula, but what of this wet and creepy score that blends mystery and horror so well? Check out The Creature from the Black Lagoon Soundtrack (and other Jungle Pictures) here. You shan't be disappointed. 

This is only a taste of what wondrous and horrific things await. We could continue, but these treasures and Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection are here in front of you, now. Hopefully, someday soon we’ll be diving into the next wave of classic horror... Hammer Films!

 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. 
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition (Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
2. 
Prometheus (Blu-ray 3D/ Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital Copy) 
3. 
Strangers on a Train [Blu-ray]
4. 
Little Shop of Horrors: Director's Cut [Blu-ray]
5. 
Dial M for Murder [Blu-ray 3D]

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Absolute Fear Starring Stephanie Lemelin, Matthew Alan, A.J. Draven

The Barrens [Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo] Starring Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Erik Knudsen

The Barrens Starring Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Erik Knudsen

Betrayed at 17 Starring Alexandra Paul, Jake Thomas, Katie Gill and Paula Trickey

Casino / Carlito's Way Double Feature Starring Sean Penn and Al Pacino

The Cottage Starring David Arquette, Kristen Dalton, Lorraine Nicholson

The Courier Starring Mickey Rourke, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Til Schweiger

The Courier [Blu-ray] Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mickey Rourke, Til Schweiger

Death Race / Death Race 2 Double Feature [Blu-ray] Starring Jason Statham and Ian McShane

Deep Rising / The Puppet Masters (Double Feature) [Blu-ray] Starring Treat Williams, Donald Sutherland, Famke Janssen

Raven [Blu-ray] Starring John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans and Brendan Gleeson

Raven Starring John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans and Brendan Gleeson

Red Dawn [Blu-ray] Starring Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze and Darren Dalton

Something Big Starring Dean Martin, Brian Keith, Carol White and Honor Blackman

Rooster Cogburn / The War Wagon / The Spoilers (1942) / Shepherd of the Hills Four Feature Films Starring John Wayne and Anthony Zerbe

V for Vendetta [Blu-ray] Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea and John Hurt

ANIME

Deadman Wonderland: The Complete Series (Limited Edition) Starring Colleen Clinkenbeard, Greg Ayres and Monica Rial

Digimon: Digital Monsters - The Official First Season Starring Michael Reisz, Steve Blum and Laura Summer

GaoGaiGar: Complete Collection Starring Maiko Itou, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Hiroaki Ishikawa

Heaven's Memo Pad: Complete Collection Starring Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yui Ogura, Ai Kayano and Daisuke Ono

Heaven's Memo Pad: Complete Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yui Ogura, Ai Kayano and Daisuke Ono

Maid Sama: Complete Collection (2012)

Naruto Shippuden: Set 12

Rental Magica Pt. 2

CARTOONS

A Cat in Paris Starring Marcia Gay Harden, Anjelica Huston and Matthew Modine

A Cat in Paris (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Marcia Gay Harden, Anjelica Huston and Matthew Modine

The Great Mouse Detective (Two-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Vincent Price, Barrie Ingham, Basil Rathbone and Val Bettin

CLASSICS

The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour Starring Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

Dead Ringer [Blu-ray] Starring Bette Davis, Karl Malden, Peter Lawford and Philip Carey

Dial M for Murder [Blu-ray 3D] Starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings

Ice Station Zebra [Blu-ray] Starring Ernest Borgnine, Patrick Mc Goohan and Rock Hudson

Strangers on a Train [Blu-ray] Starring Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane: 50th Anniversary Starring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Victor Buono

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director's Cut Starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia

Little Shop of Horrors: Director's Cut [Blu-ray] Starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia

Criterion Collection

Eclipse 36: Three Wicked Melodramas from Gainsborough Pictures: The Man in Grey, Madonna of the Seven Moons, The Wicked Lady (Criterion Collection) Starring James Mason, Margaret Lockwood and Phyllis Calvert

HORROR

A Cadaver Christmas Starring Daniel Rairdin-Hale and Hanlon Smith-Dorsey

Basket Case 3: The Progeny Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Denise Coop, Annie Ross and Gil Roper

Bedevilled [Blu-ray] Starring Min-ho Hwang, Yeong-hie Seo and Seong-won Ji

Bloody Bloody Bible Camp Starring Reggie Bannister, Tim Sullivan, Ron Jeremy

Bloody Disgusting Double Feature (Rammbock: Berlin Undead, YellowBrickRoad) Starring Sebastian Achilles, Carsten Behrendt, Cassidy Freeman

Celluloid Bloodbath Starring John Zacherle, Linnea Quigley, Ginger Lynn Allen

Cry_Wolf / The Strangers / The Last House on the Left / The Return Four Feature Films Starring Michael Bowen and Garret Dillahunt

Dawn of the Dead / George A. Romero's Land of the Dead Double Feature [Blu-ray] Starring David Emge, Ken Foree and Scott H. Reiniger

Dawn of the Dead / George A. Romero's Land of the Dead / Halloween II / The People Under the Stairs Four Feature Films Starring Ving Rhames and Jake Weber

Hostel & Hostel II - Blu-ray Double Feature Starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Lauren German

The Last House on the Left / The Strangers / A Perfect Getaway Triple Feature [Blu-ray] Starring Michael Bowen, Joshua Cox and Garret Dillahunt

Piranha-Man Vs Werewolf-Man: Howl of the Piranha Starring Ian Hinck

Truth Or Die Starring David Oakes

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us [Blu-ray] Starring Guy Wilson, Stephen Rea, Ed Quinn and Adam Croasdell

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us Starring Guy Wilson, Stephen Rea, Ed Quinn and Adam Croasdell

MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY

Goodfellas [Blu-ray] Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco

Magical Mystery Tour [Blu-ray] Starring The Beatles

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition (Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) Starring Henry Thomas and Dee Wallace

Matrix: 10th Anniversary [Blu-ray] Starring Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Laurence Fishburne

Prometheus (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy) Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

Prometheus Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

Prometheus (Blu-ray 3D/ Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital Copy) Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

TV LAND

Bones: The Complete Seventh Season Starring David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel and Michaela Conlin

Combat!: Fan Favorites (50th Anniversary) Starring Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Lee Marvin and James Coburn

Holliston: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] Starring Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Dee Snider

I Love Lucy: The Complete First Season Starring William Frawley and Desi Arnaz

I Love Lucy: The Complete Second Season Starring William Frawley and Desi Arnaz

I Love Lucy: The Complete Third Season Starring William Frawley and Desi Arnaz

I Love Lucy: The Complete Fourth Season Starring William Frawley and Desi Arnaz

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 7 Starring Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney

BOX SETS

Yancy Derringer - The Complete Series. All 34 Episodes! Starring Jock Mahoney, X Brands, Frances Bergen and Charles Bronson 

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