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Posted: 10/8/2005 1:35:39 PM EDT
Reposted from the archives.

Note to mods: Please this is a Halloween seasonal topic. Please let it run it's course in GD for the month before relocating it to the Movie Forum.


All screenshots taken from The Monster Legacy Collection

Ok at $75.99 this 6 disc collection isn't cheap. But if you grew up watching these films and loved them it is a bargain. And if you really can't afford them Netflix has them. Last years suck ass monster movie "Van Helsing" is the reason for this DVD collection but don't let that stop you. Only a few special features are devoted to promoting that nonsense and the rest of the DVDs are all about the classics.

This set is missing The Mummy (1932) and The Invisible Man (1933) but those are now available and so is The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954).

I got this set last month and FINALLY finished watching all of them. Let's take a look.

The one that started them all.

Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi at his greatest.

Of particular interest to horror film fans is the inclusion of the Spanish version of Dracula (1931) filmed at the same time on the same sets.

In many ways a much more stylish Dracula however Carlos Villar is pretty lame and doesn't even come close to Lugosi.

However actress Lupita Tovar results in a much racier version and is far more memorable than her American counterpart Helen Chandler.

Eduardo Arozamena who plays the Van Helsing character (US version played by Edward Van Sloan) is almost comical in his portrayal.

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 1:36:21 PM EDT
And just when you thought Universal couldn't top the original Dracula out comes the next classic.

Frankenstein (1931)

The film received additional buzz due to the warning at the beginning. Created quite a stir in 1931.

Van Sloan found his way into this film as well as 1932s The Mummy.

Mad am I? I'll show you mad. The archtype Mad Scientist.

It's Alive...

The shot that scared the hell out of everyone in 1931.

The House of Frankenstein, the good ole Baron reminded me of my Grandfather.

And now the sequels. And they aren't all bad, in fact in some ways they surpass the originals.

The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

This intro is a period portrayal of the author Mary Shelley.

Mary Shelley was played by Elsa Lanchester and her wonderful breasts. Hard to believe she also played the Bride of the Monster.

Film picks up where the original left off at the burning mill.

Despite the somewhat gay intro (I guess all men back then were effeminate) and ridiculous crap like the minatures of the new mad scientist this movie doesn't suck nearly as bad as it could have.

And the best part of all is it provided much of the inspiration for Mel Brooks "Young Frankenstein." I still see Gene Hackman everytime I watch this part.

Many don't care for the articulated monster in this sequel but it is far better than what happens to him in later sequels

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 1:37:08 PM EDT
The next classic I had actually never seen before.

Werewolf Of London (1935)

Story about a scientist in Tibet looking for a flower that only blooms in the full moon.

Add one Tibetan werewolf and ship the bitten scientist back to London and there you go.

The original plans called for a much less human werewolf but conservative standards wouldn't permit it so he ran around in his clothes all the time and the makeup was less dramatic.

Another intersting sequel was Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Like Bride Of Frankenstein this one too picks up right where the original ended with the death of Dracula. Gloria Holden stars as his daughter.

Like Werewolf Of London this one too gave conservative standards a test. Obviously a female vampire couldn't be portrayed as a viable threat to males so the victims became women creating a homo erotic lesbian undertone throughout the film.

Probably the last "good" sequel was Son Of Frankenstein (1939)

Manages to retain the classic "gothic" style Carl Lammae Jr. was famous for.

Bela Lugosi in his best role since Dracula stars as Ygor (incidentally the assistant in Frankenstein was named "Fritz" not "Igor".)

Frankenstein's son returns to claim his family castle (and thereby lays the basic storyline for Mel Brooks "Young Frankenstein") and of course Ygor shows him the monster, his dads books and gets him to work.

The inspector and the dart board, later to be immortalized by Mel Brooks.

In the end Frankenstein decides he must destroy the monster and kicks him into a convenient sulfer pit. All fashionable castles have labs and sulfer pits.

And then we have the last of the great classics, The Wolf Man (1941).

This is the Wolfman I and most people grew up knowing played by Lon Chaney Jr. (whose father was famous for playing the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Phantom of the Opera among others).

This film also starred Claude Rains (who played the Invisible Man) as Larry Talbots father and Bela Lugosi as Bela the original gypsy werewolf.

Interstingly enough World War II seems to be a kind of demarkation point for Universal Monster movies. All of them prior to the war are excellent, all of them made during or after the war generally suck.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 1:37:54 PM EDT
The first of the pointless sequels, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1942).

OK, plots and logic get pretty thin in these. Couple grave robbers remove the wolfbane from the tomb of Larry Talbot during a full moon and he comes back to life. (Makes those Jason movies seem kinda plausible huh?)

The resurrected Wolf Man obviously runs around and causes problems.

He is then chased into Frankensteins castle and falls into the caverns below.

He changes back into Larry Talbot and finds...of course The Monster.

The monster is played by Bela Lugosi as Boris Karloff was obviously smart enough to avoid this one.

Add one mad scientists and a hokey plan to cure the Wolfman by some transfusion between him and the monster which will let the Wolfman finally die in peace.

Not surprisingly the plan goes to hell, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein fight and fall to their death in the caverns below in a climatic WWF style matchup. Yawn.

And right on it's heels is The Ghost of Frankenstein 1942.

OK, try and stay with me. Uppity town people are sick of Ygor and Frankensteins castle. They go to destroy it and in one of the explosions Ygor falls into the caverns below the castle.

There he finds and frees the Monster who apparantly lived through the sulfer pit.

This time the monster is played by Lon Chaney as Boris and Legosi were obviously smart enough to avoid this one.

They travel to the brother of the son of Frankestein to get help for the monster.

The brother of the son of Frankenstein tries to correct his fathers terrible deed by putting the brain of on of the victims of the monster in the monster but another scientists plays "brain roulette" and puts Ygors evil brain into the monster. Ygor goes nuts in the monsters body and kills everyone. This film has no continuity with the previous films "Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman" and has no relation to the next "Frankenstein" sequel other than general characters portrayed.

So now we switch gears to Son of Dracula (1943).

Has a weird chick obssessed with the occult so obviously she meets Dracula's Son played by Lon Chaney Jr. (who holds the distinction of being the only man to portray all 3 universal monsers The Wolf Man, Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster).

In this film he goes by the name of Count Alucard (Dracula in reverse).

A forgettable portrayal of Dracula in a forgettable film but things can actually get worse.

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 1:38:31 PM EDT
The first of the really terrible sequels, House of Dracula (1945).

Starring the gayest Dracula ever John Carradine.

Add Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man.

Toss in a female hunchback assistant, Frankensteins monster and a really stupid plot about all the monsters finding a doctor to try and cure them. Boris Karloff again avoided this films and the monster was played by Glenn Strange.

Of course Dracula betrays the doctor and injects him with his blood during a transfusion which makes the doctor go mad and not want to save the Wolf Man and want to give life to the monster instead.

Also add really inane dialog until the entire movie is like a soap opera and just as difficult to watch.

In the end everything goes to hell again and the monsters all die.

And just when you are finally hoping they are REALLY all dead we get House of Frankenstein (1945).

Boris Karloff was in this one but plays a evil scientists.

First thing he does is get ahold of Dracula's coffin and remains and removes the stake from his heart.

Unfortunately Dracula materializes into this douchebag again played by John Carradine.

Not even a quality chickie snack like Anne Gwynne can save this one from the pathetic soap opera it is.

So they all go to Frankensteins castle where they find...of course the frozen remains of the monster (Glen Strange again) and the Wolfman (Lon Chaney) presumably from where Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman left off.

So they thaw those guys out.

Add a new hunchback who is in love with Rita but Rita is in love with Larry Talbot the Wolfman.

Talbot only wants to die and the hunchback wants him dead because he loves Rita who loves Talbot. The hunchback wants the scientist (Boris Karloff) to put his brain in Talbots body so Talbot can die and Rita will love him.

Instead Rita makes a silver bullet and waits for the Wolf Man.

Unfortunately the Wolf Man rips Rita a new one before she can fatally shoot him and they both die.

Nothing really happens to the Monster, castle burns down they all die, again.

At this point the monster movies have become such a joke it is actually an improvement when they later meet Abott and Costello.

Which brings us to the last film, She Wolf of London (1946).

This one starred June Lockhart who is kinda cute but this one technically doesn't qualify as a monster movie and is more correctly a murder mystery. Sad too because this was probably the last opportunity to regain some respect for the genre.

Now even though the sequals pretty well sucked I still recommend this set for the original classic films.

And even more importantly it is chock full of extras and documentaries about the original films which more than make up for the lame sequals. Also included are phot galleries of orginal posters and original film trailers. Great stuff.

Buy this set and you will own the comprehensive Universal Monster collection. Watch the sequals once so you can say you've seen them and enjoy the originals over and over.

Can't wait till Halloween, I got my popcorn. When I one day have kids, these will be the films we watch together
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 6:06:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 6:22:41 PM EDT
I'm currently reading Bram Stoker's "Dracula" online. My grandpa says that he saw the movie when he was a kid and it was the most terrifying thing he'd ever see for about a thirty year stretch.

I always wanted to read the original book, but what finally convinced me to look it up and start reading was a friend's comment: "If you're a vampire, suck the life out of people all you want, but steal some dude's girlfriend and you can expect him to freaking MURDER YOU WITH A BOWIE KNIFE." I'm not sure if he was talking about the same book, but I'm enjoying what I've read so far.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 6:49:39 PM EDT
Separated at birth....

Carlos Villar....

Holly Johnson, of Frankie Goes To Hollywood...

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