Home » New 4K Universal Monsters Set Offers Crisp Films and Fun Extras [Review]

New 4K Universal Monsters Set Offers Crisp Films and Fun Extras [Review]

Universal Classic Set Inside Book

The Universal Classic Monsters Limited Edition Collection offers a beautifully packaged and restored 4K disc subset covering decades of early monster favorites. In addition to the crisply restored Universal feature films, an array of documentaries and extras are tossed in as well.

Wicked Horror was provided a review copy, and it’s a fairly handy chronicle of the development of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and other monster favorites. The set is a meaningful assessment of the films’ and the monsters’ place in culture as well.

See Also: The Invisible Man is Actually the Scariest Universal Monster

There’s a larger Universal set out there with 30 films, but this collection is not a bad cross section with Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera (1943 version anyway), and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula is included along with the Spanish version shot concurrently.

The book-style packaging also provides a colorful wrap-around with a solid, concise text history of the classic monster era, along with colorful pictures of original poster art, studio letters, and other memorabilia.

It’s convenient, of course, to have the key top films in one set, and the digitally restored films offer a gorgeous chance to re-visit the features with their black-and-white glory. It’s great, once again, to see the Frankenstein monster emerge from the shadows or get the first chilling glimpse of the Creature’s webbed hand sliding over the bow of a river boat.

With preserved aspect ratios and ideal treatment of the prints, it’s really like getting a chance to experience the films as original audiences did in your home theater. In some instances, slight grain is noticeable as you might expect. Later films reflect the crisp, bright approach of the 1950s.

Also Read: Five Universal Monsters Created for The Movies

Universal 4K set inside

The documentaries, not all new, are hosted by filmmakers and film historians and add a depth of perspective the gee whiz awe of Famous Monsters Filmland magazine dished up when the flicks aired on local TV in the ‘50s-‘70s. Insights on Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr. and many other stars are included.

Poignantly, David J. Skal (The Monster Show), who died in a traffic accident on Jan. 1, turns up with his insights in numerous places amid the extras including a hosting stint for The Creature from the Black Lagoon documentary.

Significant points are raised. “There would be no Alien without Creature from the Black Lagoon,” notes horror author and film historian David J. Schow.

Did you know? Wicked Horror TV has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

Sarah Karloff and other heirs appear as well, and we get reflections on creators like Frankenstein, Bride and Invisible Man director James Whale. Ian McKellan, in makeup as Whale, for example, discusses the director in sessions recorded behind the scenes during the filming of Gods and Monsters.

For nostalgic fans seeking a good 4K set of classics in a coffee table-ready package with some fun extras, this is not a bad piece to add to a collection.

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Written by Sidney Williams
Sidney Williams is an author and comics writer. He's a former full-time journalist and has conducted hundreds of celebrity interviews.
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