Earlier this month, Downright Creepy reported on the release of the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection. Since then, I’ve had a chance to get my hands on this handsome box set and am happy to tell you more about it.
The box itself measures 4½” x 5½” x 7¾” and is a silvery-gray color with brown and green tones. The artwork is a nice combination of images of Invisible Man, Dracula, Wolf Man, Mummy, Phantom of the Opera, Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein monster and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The lettering on the top, front and side is raised. Like I said, it’s a handsome box set.
But I bet you’re more interested in what’s inside the box: seven DVD sets organized by specific monster into a “Complete Legacy Collection.” There are individual DVD cases for Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Phantom of the Opera. Each collection has multiple discs and includes all the movies in which the specific monster appeared.
Due to this fact, some movies appear in more than one collection. For example, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein each appear in the Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf Man collections. You can pick any of the collections and see every appearance of a specific monster in chronological order. Grab your favorite collection and have a marathon.
All in all, there are 30 individual movies. There are three movies in the Creature from the Black Lagoon collection, six each in the Dracula, Mummy and Invisible Man collections, seven in the Wolf Man collection and eight in the Frankenstein collection. The Phantom of the Opera is a single movie and it’s the 1943 version starring Claude Rains. (By the way, my favorite is the Frankenstein collection.)
Each collection also has various commentaries, documentaries and bonus features. They’re skimpy in the Invisible Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon collections and on the Phantom of the Opera disc. But they’re plentiful in the Dracula and Frankenstein collections. The “Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters” feature appears in all the collections that feature an Abbott and Costello movie.
By the way, about ten years ago, Universal released “Legacy Collections” in six boxed sets, including collectible mini-busts of Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man. I do not know if the new “Complete Legacy Collections” are simply re-releases in new packaging or if they contain new material. However, I do understand that the four Abbott and Costello movies are new to this box set.
If all that isn’t enough for the nearly $200 list price (you can buy it for under $100 on Amazon), you also get a beautiful 48-page book called “The Original House of Horror: Universal and a Monster Legacy.” This is a visually appealing, easy to read publication with features on each of the monsters as well as behind-the-scenes personalities like Bela Lugosi, James Whale and Boris Karloff.
This is an amazing set of classic monster movies. As far as I’m concerned, it should be on the shelves of anyone and everyone who claim to be horror fans. Sure, the movies themselves may vary in quality, but collectively, I don’t know of any other box set that contains this much entertainment, as well as historical value. It as close to a sure thing as I’ve ever been known to recommend!