Old school horror returns

Posted by David Konow

As a long time horror fan, my first exposure to the genre as a kid were the original Universal classics on TV.

Several generations before me also discovered them on television once they were sold into syndication as part of the "Shock Theater" package in the fifties. From that point on, the movies kept repeating for decades, and they inspired a lot of impressionable little kids who grew up to be major talents, like Stephen King, Tim Burton, and Rick Baker.

The Bela Lugosi Dracula, the Boris Karloff Frankenstein, and the Lon Chaney Wolf Man absolutely terrified audiences back in the day, and they grew tame enough in modern times that they wouldn’t scare little kids on TV.

But it didn’t matter that they lost the ability to scare, as the movies never lost the ability to be cool, and they are absolutely still wonderful to watch today.

 
The amazing monster flicks of yesteryear have now been redone for a big Blu-ray collection, Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection, which is part of the studio’s 100th anniversary this year. Judging by the fan reviews on Amazon, today’s monster kids love the newly redone versions of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and more. I’m especially excited about the Creature From the Black Lagoon finally being available for the home in 3D because I finally saw it in 3D last year, and it was great fun. 
 
It’s a shame that many young film fans don’t watch black and white movies today, because these movies had wonderful b&w cinematography, creating amazing looming shadows and textures. In reviewing this special package, Collider wrote that this Blu-ray release does the movies justice "with beautiful, eye-popping transfers that capture every bit of their gorgeous imagery."
 
The Hollywood Reporter also put it well: "Keep your slashers, your torture porn, your found footage supernatural exorcisms. Give us the classic black-and-whites. And in crisp, high-definition Blu-ray? Horror heaven."
 
In addition to the titles mentioned above, the Legacy Collection also includes Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and the 1943 Phantom of the Opera with Claude Rains.