Fright flick fans take note—on October 2, 2012, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will unleash a box set of eight classic chillers on Blu-ray for the first time. The lineup for Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection includes: Dracula (both the 1931 Tod Browning version and the simultaneously produced Spanish version directed by George Melford), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941), Phantom of the Opera (1943), and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Exclusive to Blu-ray are the brand new featurette “Dracula: The Restoration” and the 3D version of Creature from the Black Lagoon (the 2D version is included as well).
This lineup matches the now-antiquated Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection DVD, released more
than a decade ago. Some of these films have been reissued more than once on DVD
since then. Of course, the draw here is finally being able to own these films
in 1080p high definition with lossless DTS-HD sound. As impressive as these
films have looked and sounded on previous releases, the upcoming Blu-ray promises
the best-ever presentation.
Each film is accompanied by a variety of special features, the vast majority of which have been carried over from previous DVD releases. Those who haven’t owned all—or any—of those earlier releases will find plenty to explore, including commentary tracks and featurettes for each film. While some may feel a twinge of disappointment regarding the relative lack of new content, it is worth pointing out that the older supplemental material was very well produced in the first place.
The eight-disc set also includes a 48-page book loaded with lots of vintage photographs and information about the movies. Hopefully Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection is only the beginning, as the many sequels and related films starring the Universal monsters deserve to be reissued in high definition too! Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection carries a suggested retail price of $159.99 and is currently available for pre-order in advance of its October 2 release date.