by Rob Vaux Posted: October 17th, 2012 at 6:47 am
It’s hard to overestimate the impact of Universal’s classic monster movies. They brought the themes and techniques of German Expressionism straight to Hometown U.S.A. and forever defined our notion of horror movies in the process. Every Halloween decoration ever made owes them some debt. Every onscreen boogeyman and misunderstood outcast can trace their roots back to them. They’ve become so ingrained in pop culture that we scarcely acknowledge their existence anymore… save during moments like this one, when they make the leap onto a new medium. As part of their 100th anniversary celebration, Universal has packaged eight of them into an “Essentials” Blu-ray collection, a handsome set that nonetheless stumbles into a number of expected pitfalls. Hit the jump for my full review.
Universal is prepping the Blu-ray release of Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection on October 2. The box set features Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. There are 12 hours of bonus features and a 48-page book with behind-the-scenes photographs and original posters. Notably,Creature from the Black Lagoonis presented in 3D as it was filmed. Basically, if you are a fan of the Universal monsters, this sounds like a godsend.
Hit the jump for the press release with details on the special features that accompany each movie and a look at the box art.
Universal Pictures has been around for 100 years and to celebrate their 10-carat diamond anniversary, the studio has big plans for 2012. The most exciting aspect of this celebration is the studio’s plan to restore and release 13 of their classic titles including All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds, Buck Privates, Dracula (1931) , Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting, and To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird will be the first out the gate with the release of the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack on January 31st. The restorations will also be released as a limited edition collector’s set, and near the end of the year we can look forward to Blu-ray releases for Universal’s Classic Monster and Alfred Hitchcock series. Here’s hoping the restorations are worthy of their movies.
Hit the jump for the full press release, which also includes info on Universal’s planned events and promotions for their centennial celebration.
When it comes to classic movie horror, you can’t do much better than James Whale’s “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein”. While the original varied highly from Mary Shelley’s original (and she never wrote a sequel although “Bride” begins with a fun framing device of having Ella Lancaster play Shelley and recite the story to her brother Percy and Lord Byron; Lancaster later plays the titular Bride), it’s a classic in its own right, full of humor, sadness, thrills, yet all very thoughtful and poetic.
Also, and I’ve said this before, but I could watch a 24-hour channel devoted to nothing but Frankenstein’s monster throwing people off of things. Children off of bridges… Old women off of towers… The possibilities are endless.
Now writer/director Neil Burger is going to attempt to bring the Bride back from the dead with a remake set up at Universal and Imagine Entertainment. According to THR’s Risky Biz Blog, Burger will co-write the script with writing partner Dirk Wittenborn. However, Risky Biz doesn’t note where this project will fall in relation to Burger’s “Dark Fields” which previously had Shia LaBeouf attached before the actor dropped out due to injuring his hand.
As for “Bride of Frankenstein”, while I wouldn’t say I’m “excited” for a remake, I’m curious to see what Burger and Wittenborn would do with the concept. Furthermore, even though it’s originally a sequel, I’m fairly certain that “Bride of Frankenstein” has ingrained itself enough into American culture in the last 74 years and that most folks won’t be crying, “Wait! I never saw ‘Frankenstein’! I’ll be totally lost!” The larger concern is what happens to this project if Universal’s remake of another classic horror franchise, “The Wolf Man” starring Benecio Del Toro, doesn’t tear up the box office when it hits theatres this November.