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Ultra HD : Must Own
Ranking:
Sale Price: $113.06 Last Price: $129.99 Buy now! 3rd Party 99.95 In Stock
Release Date: February 13th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1954

Universal Classic Monsters: Limited Edition Collection - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

The original monsters of horror have come back to haunt and shock their audiences in 4K yet again from Universal. But this time, all eight films are located inside a beautiful hardcover collector's booklet with amazing new artwork, information on each film, and more. The 4K images with HDR10 still look stunning and the DTS-HD 2.0 audio mixes still sound fantastic. There are tons of extras as well, but none of them are new or exclusive to this release. If you don't have them already this Universal Classic Monster Limited Edition Collection is a MUST-OWN. 

 

OVERALL:
Must Own
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10
Length:
610
Release Date:
February 13th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

How many times has Universal Pictures released their Universal Monster movies over the past few years? More than a few times for sure in various formats and packaging. Less than two years ago, Universal released some of their classic monster films in 4K individually. And before that, they all were released in one big set in 4K. Going further back, the movie studio released these films as a two-part collection, splitting up the films. None of it was in any collectible packaging until now, which looks to be an Amazon-only Exclusive to 5,500 copies worldwide.

The only difference with this release looks to be the packaging, which is some of the best artwork and packaging that has ever been released. It might not fit cozy on any shelf, but it can stand next to that Criterion Godzilla set that was released a while back. The same bonus features, 4K transfers from a year ago, and those same audio elements are intact that make up this amazing set that is gorgeous to look at and gives a ton of information and artwork inside its hard-bound booklet it's wrapped in. The question arises, Is this worth another re-buy? If packaging and artwork and collector's sets matter, then that's a hard YES. This release is magical, beautiful, and could be a coffee table companion, worthy of discussions with friends.

But for those who already have all of these films digitally and in a previous version of 4K that only care about the films themselves, save that money, honey, because there is nothing new to look at. It just would seem prudent that Universal would at least add one new bonus feature or a commentary track with a release like this to entice more buyers. Maybe next time. However, it's so great to have all these films in 4K in one place with amazing, showstopper artwork. And with Amazon's current price of $129, that brings each 4K film to around $16. That's a heck of a deal.

The following films are included in this set: Dracula (1931), Dracula in Spanish (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf-Man (1941), The Phantom of the Opera (1943), The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954).  The films themselves were the pioneers of the entire horror genre that eventually gave birth to slashers and other types of horror. Not only did these films cause panic and scare in a different setting and times to audiences, but they also showcased that some of these monsters had real human feelings and afflictions whether it be fitting into society, romantic entanglements, or social struggles. For films being almost a century old, it's exquisitely clear where modern filmmakers have utilized and used these movie's inspirations to create their own stories. How many versions of Dracula, Frankenstein, or The Mummy have been released? Not to mention werewolf films are a dime a dozen too. 

The Universal Classic Monsters have their own category and serve as the Mount Rushmore of horror characters. They are not in it for blood and guts only, but these fleshed-out characters have an emotional reason for existing and carrying out their mishandled deeds upon humans. But it all started with these wonderful films that are not only entertaining but also serve as a brilliant educational experience of where horror was born out of creative thinking. It's a fantastic sight to see once again and share with new generations who love the pure existence of cinema. 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Universal has finally outdone itself by bringing these Universal Classic Monsters back again. This time in the form of a truly remarkable Collector's Booklet of movies. There are eight 4K Discs included and Digital Codes for every film. The movies are all housed inside a gorgeous, dynamite hardcover book that features new artwork that should be hung on walls. There are bits of information about every film on each page, along with new colorful artwork from the films, and posters from all countries located on the last two pages. The discs themselves are carefully placed on the last two pages as well where finally, they don't feel like they will fall out at any given moment. If anyone remembers the Godzilla Criterion booklet, this is very similar. This Limited Edition is strictly sold through Amazon and only has 5,500 copies available. 

 

Video Review

Ranking:

Each movie comes with a 2160p UHD 4K image with HDR10. It doesn't look like there are any brand-new transfers for this specific release. Instead, these look to be the same transfers from the Part I and Part II 4K sets that were released a couple of years ago. But in short, these films still look fantastic and definitively the best they've ever looked before. The wonderful shades of white, grey, and black levels are now crisp, clean, and easy to look out. There are no soft spots or blurry images that hinder the characters on the screen. Detail shows up in brightly lit sequences as well, revealing facial features and wardrobe textures. The hairs on Wolf-Man look better than ever too. A lot of love and time went into restoring these films in 4K. So much so, that there is a documentary about the restoration process specifically. It doesn't get much better than this. For some reason, the set and info states there are separate 4K movies and Blu-ray movies, but it's assured that there are only 4K versions included here.

 

Audio Review

Ranking:

These films all come with a DTS-HD 2.0 track that sounds wonderful given the elements and source. For films that are going on 100 years old, they sound great. The dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow along with, and the scores all sound excellent. Even the new Phillip Glass score sounds amazing. The sound effects are more full of life, including the audio mechanics inside Doctor Frankenstein's laboratory. Each film has numerous alternate language tracks as well. 

Special Features

Ranking:

Disc 1 - Dracula (1931)

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of Dracula (1931) 
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Dracula (1931) Spanish Version
  • The Road to Dracula
  • Lugosi: The Dark Prince
  • Dracula: The Restoration
  • Dracula Archives
  • Trailer Gallery
  • Monster Tracks
  • Play the Movie with an Alternate Philip Glass Score

Disc 2 - Frankenstein

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of Frankenstein 
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made A Monster
  • Karloff: The Gentle Monster
  • Universal Horror
  • Frankenstein Archives
  • Boo!: A Short Film
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
  • Monster Tracks
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling

Disc 3 - The Mummy (1932)

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of The Mummy (1932) 
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
  • Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy
  • The Mummy Archives
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era
  • Trailer Gallery
  • Feature Commentary with Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns, and Brent Armstrong
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Paul M. Jensen

Disc 4 - The Invisible Man (1933)

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of The Invisible Man
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed!
  • Production Photographs
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer

Disc 5 - The Bride of Frankenstein

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of The Bride of Frankenstein 
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • She's Alive! Creating The Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Bride of Frankenstein Archive
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
  • Trailer Gallery
  • Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen

Disc 6 - The Wolf Man (1941)

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of The Wolf Man
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Monster by Moonlight
  • The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth
  • Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney Jr.
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
  • The Wolf Man Archives
  • Trailer Gallery
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

Disc 7 - Phantom of the Opera (1943)

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of Phantom of the Opera (1943) 
  • Features High Dynamic Range (HDR10) for Brighter, Deeper, More Lifelike Color
  • The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked
  • Production Photographs
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen

Disc 8 - Creature From the Black Lagoon

  • Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and a digital copy of Creature from the Black Lagoon 
  • 4x Sharper than Full HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Back to the Black Lagoon
  • Production Photographs
  • 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
  • Trailer Gallery
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

Final Thoughts

This Universal Classic Monster Limited Edition Collection is the ultimate way to collect all eight of these films in one place. The movies themselves are still a joy to watch all these years later. The 4K images with HDR10 look phenomenal. The DTS-HD 2.0 audio tracks are excellent as well. The bonus features are rich and plenty, but there are no new extras specific to this release except for the glorious and beautiful new packaging. MUST-OWN.