Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Universal Monster Movies

"Universal Studios Monsters" by Michel Mallory, Universe Publishing (2009)

So I thought I might try something different for this post.  Lately I've been seeing posts on other blogs and sites saying that sometimes followers enjoy not only seeing the artwork that an artist creates, but stepping into the artists world a little as well.  I'm assuming this means things that inspire the artist or that they enjoy so that the followers can feel like they know the artist on a more personal level.  Although I'm not the keenest on letting strangers in, I can definitely share with people my inspirations.  Granted I'm sure every artist with even the slightest penchant for the Macabre has the same inspirations that I do, so if you've seen these things before. . . *shrugs*. . . you get the idea.

So to kick things off, and because I'm just too damn excited about the Classic Monsters Show coming up at Halloween Town in Burbank, CA, I thought I'd share some classic Universal Studios horror related things over the next month or so.

I got into horror a tad late in life.  Most people now-a-days who show an interest in it start in their mid to early teens.  I got started in my late teens/early 20's  (around the same time I found Oingo Boingo, but that's a totally separate post) and I started with the slasher films of the mid to late 90's.  But, instead of moving forward with horror films, I chose to move backwards.

I love all the original Universal horror films.  Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, Invisible Man. . . they're all great!  If you have an aversion to Black and White cinematography they might not be your cup of tea, but considering that they were still in the relatively early stages of movie making for most of those films, some of the things they accomplished (mood, composition, lighting, make-up) is highly impressive.  Also, if your'e the kind of movie watcher that can't tolerate slow movies, the older horror films are definitely not going to be your idea of fun, but the trade off to watching them is you're educating yourself in some of cinematic history.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) image from Classic Movie Monsters 
Which movie is my favorite?  Well that answer can actually be broken down into two categories.  These categories would be "which movie was more entertaining" and "which monster is the coolest".

In regards to the first category, the James Whale (that's the director, in case you don't know) films are seriously my favorites as far as the entertainment factor is concerned.  Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and the Invisible Man are all great pictures and beautiful to look at.  The Invisible Man especially so.  But if we're going off of which monsters are the coolest from the Universal "major monster" library I have three favorites: The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and, of course, The Bride of Frankenstein (not really a surprise considering I'm female and she's the most iconic female Universal Monster).

Revenge of the Creature (1955) image from Classic Movie Monsters 
Next week I'll post more about one of the aforementioned monsters in my 'favorite' category, but this week I'll leave you with this awesomeness.

Universal 100th Anniversary Classic Monster Box set (2012)
Two weeks ago Universal Studios, in honor of their 100th anniversary released 8 of their more popular monster movies on blu ray for the first time.  I tried looking at a couple of 'big box' stores around town for the box set of all 8 together but wound up settling for ordering online.  Thank goodness I didn't find them and remembered just before ordering off of amazon something I'd seen in one of my Facebook threads.

Universal Limited Edition Classic Monsters Box set (2012) has a Limited Edition blu ray set.  The item specs said it was Region Free, so I took the risk and purchased it thru them.  Yet, I found out today that they will be offering it here in the US starting October 23rd.  Let me just say, I'm on cloud nine!  Not only were they true their word, my set is region free and the discs play beautifully at home, but the history buff in me loves the bonus features.  They did a nice job cleaning up and restoring the film.  I love that I can still see a tiny bit of film grain and even more exciting for me is that I can see some of the fabric patterns in the actors clothing.  Granted I have only checked out my "Dracula" disc, but it's pretty sweet.  Best part?  I got it for half the price that they want for the regular edition set currently for sale in the US. As I stated a bit ago, I did just find out they are offering a US release of the limited box set here.

Until next time!

Images in this post were taken from and the Classic Movie Monsters blog.  The Universal Monsters are all Copyright Universal Studios.  Be sure to check out the Classic Movie Monsters Blog for more images.  They have a ton!

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