The Universal Classics: How Do You Have Them?

Joined: December 27th, 2009, 1:48 pm

September 11th, 2018, 5:24 pm #1

The discussion about the Complete 30-Film Collection, especially the oft-repeated remarks that most of us already have all these films, got me to wondering: in what media do the Monster Kids own the Universal Classics, and what does that say about how we prioritize elements in the series as well as our relationship to technology? My own collection is probably meager compared to several here, but it's interesting to look at nevertheless.

On my Universal shelf, I have:
  • The Essential Collection, Region-Free Blu-Ray (2012 Release)
  • Dracula, Complete Legacy Collection, DVD (2014 Release)
  • Frankenstein, Complete Legacy Collection, DVD (2014 Release)
  • The Mummy, Complete Legacy Collection, DVD (2014 Release)
  • The Wolf Man, Legacy Collection, DVD (2004 Release)
  • The Invisible Man, Legacy Collection, DVD (2004 Release)
  • The Bela Lugosi Collection, DVD (2005 Release)
  • Universal Horror, Classic Movie Archive, DVD (2009 Release)
  • The Old Dark House, Blu-Ray (2017 Release, Cohen Film Collection)
I don't have any of the Creature sets, the Boris Karloff Collection, or the Inner Sanctum.

What am I missing by largely going without Blu-Ray as indicated above? If I bought the 30-Film set, I'd be gaining more than some of you (two Creature films, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, I'm not sure what in the way of additional features, probably upgrades in quality all around, the goodwill of whomever I gifted my current sets to), but would that be $150 worth of gain?

What do your sets look like?
Last edited by stuthehistoryguy on September 12th, 2018, 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Peace,
Stu

https://independent.academia.edu/StuBurns
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taraco
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taraco
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September 11th, 2018, 6:08 pm #2

-- VHS:  I taped most of the Universal Classics off of TV, cutting out commercials and the occasional Horror Host. I used Dymo tape to label the VHS boxes, usually two movies to a tape.

   I only had FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA on prerecorded VHS (FRANKENSTEIN because of the restored Maria scene; DRACULA because of the Lupita Tovar interview (the first VHS extra?)

   I never bought the other Universal VHS tapes. Why? Because I'm neurotically completist and I opted to tape movies off of TV rather than spend lots of money for pre-records.

-- LASERDISC: Many don't remember, but the leap from VHS to Laserdisc was a jump in picture quality that changed everything, and to my mind truly started the high-end video revolution. 

  'Look, you can see Bela's nose hairs!' I exulted to my brother as we watched FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN when he visited for Christmas.

   Anyhow, I had every Universal and classic horror/scifi I could find on Laserdisc. All of them.

  The laserdisc box sets for THE MUMMY and THE INVISIBLE MAN collections were as beautiful as anything I've ever owned!
mummyset.jpg inviset.jpg

-- DVD: The quality of DVD was even better, and truly digital, and I have every Universal DVD release, and every collection except the redundant 30-film set. Thanks to David J. Skal, the classic Universals had tons of extras, which are still repurposed in new releases today. (Aside: David taped me for his planned extras on SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and other Universal sequels, but those projects never came to fruition. Not sure those tapes even exist anymore; lost in a Universal fire?).

-- BLU-RAY: Even better than DVD, I again have all the collections except the big 30-film set. While sometimes it is subtle, I see things on Blu-Ray I never noticed on DVD (the water dripping by the stairs in Dracula's tomb; the cravat worn by the Invisible Man, Henry Frankenstein's notes in his laboratory).

-- DOUBLE-DIPPING? More like quadruple dipping, but the Universals are Bible to me and you can't have too many.

  I have said often, though, that the constant reissues of the Universal Classic Monsters shows the continuing popularity of these films. The more they reissue them, the more they will be purchased by new families and shown to new generations.

-- FINAL NOTE: I used to group my DVDs by genre, with all the Frankensteins together, etc. Lately I've switched to alphabetical, but BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN being under the Bs while FRANKENSTEIN is under F, keeps me awake at night!!  (A discussion for another time).

david
'But I can't leave them. I can't!'
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InnerSanctum
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Joined: July 26th, 2015, 5:38 pm

September 11th, 2018, 6:21 pm #3

Right now, what I have is strictly digital, since my life is not in a position where having discs or tapes will work. Eventually, I do plan on getting as much as possible in the best quality as possible. I used to have VHS copies taped off TV (AMC, I believe, back when they were still good), but those are long gone.

That said, those laserdiscs look incredible, and I do have an interest in obtaining a good player and a selection of laserdisc titles that are unique and never quite translated to DVD/BluRay in the same manner (such as the Criterion release of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA). Those UH titles look good enough to include in that (eventual) library.


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CHEROKEEBRUCE
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Joined: August 23rd, 2017, 7:31 am

September 11th, 2018, 6:24 pm #4

taraco wrote: -- VHS:  I taped most of the Universal Classics off of TV, cutting out commercials and the occasional Horror Host. I used Dymo tape to label the VHS boxes, usually two movies to a tape.

   I only had FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA on prerecorded VHS (FRANKENSTEIN because of the restored Maria scene; DRACULA because of the Lupita Tovar interview (the first VHS extra?)

   I never bought the other Universal VHS tapes. Why? Because I'm neurotically completist and I opted to tape movies off of TV rather than spend lots of money for pre-records.

-- LASERDISC: Many don't remember, but the leap from VHS to Laserdisc was a jump in picture quality that changed everything, and to my mind truly started the high-end video revolution. 

  'Look, you can see Bela's nose hairs!' I exulted to my brother as we watched FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN when he visited for Christmas.

   Anyhow, I had every Universal and classic horror/scifi I could find on Laserdisc. All of them.

  The laserdisc box sets for THE MUMMY and THE INVISIBLE MAN collections were as beautiful as anything I've ever owned!
mummyset.jpginviset.jpg

-- DVD: The quality of DVD was even better, and truly digital, and I have every Universal DVD release, and every collection except the redundant 30-film set. Thanks to David J. Skal, the classic Universals had tons of extras, which are still repurposed in new releases today. (Aside: David taped me for his planned extras on SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and other Universal sequels, but those projects never came to fruition. Not sure those tapes even exist anymore; lost in a Universal fire?).

-- BLU-RAY: Even better than DVD, I again have all the collections except the big 30-film set. While sometimes it is subtle, I see things on Blu-Ray I never noticed on DVD (the water dripping by the stairs in Dracula's tomb; the cravat worn by the Invisible Man, Henry Frankenstein's notes in his laboratory).

-- DOUBLE-DIPPING? More like quadruple dipping, but the Universals are Bible to me and you can't have too many.

  I have said often, though, that the constant reissues of the Universal Classic Monsters shows the continuing popularity of these films. The more they reissue them, the more they will be purchased by new families and shown to new generations.

-- FINAL NOTE: I used to group my DVDs by genre, with all the Frankensteins together, etc. Lately I've switched to alphabetical, but BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN being under the Bs while FRANKENSTEIN is under F, keeps me awake at night!!  (A discussion for another time).

david
'But I can't leave them. I can't!'
I'm sure they are more then happy boxed here!
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Joined: December 27th, 2009, 1:48 pm

September 11th, 2018, 7:30 pm #5

InnerSanctum, I know what you mean by digital-only. I ripped all my CDs years ago; the only ones I have left are those with interesting liner notes. I haven't digitized any film content, though. I did toss most of my VHS years ago as well, with the exceptions of stuff that wasn't available otherwise. I still have a VHS player, but I haven't used it in years.

David, on categorization: my books are ordered in interesting fashion. All my fiction is alphabetical by order, all my folklore is by topic and region, my history chronological within region, etc. My vampire books follow the Sherlock system: sorted by rigor and erudition. The eye-level shelf is where I keep my books from university presses as well as studies of similar depth. The books from university presses are sorted by athletic conference (Ivy League, Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, SEC, and one-offs for University of Chicago and Fairleigh-Dickenson). Makes sense to me, anyway.
Peace,
Stu

https://independent.academia.edu/StuBurns
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taraco
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Joined: February 23rd, 2004, 5:37 am

September 11th, 2018, 7:50 pm #6

True madness sets in if you start sorting by height!
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Joined: December 27th, 2009, 1:48 pm

September 11th, 2018, 8:55 pm #7

Only for books so tall that they only fit on a given shelf (e.g., the infamous "Folio" section of the library) - or if one has a short shelf that can only accomodate MM paperbacks and books of that size.That's not madness; that's necessity.
Peace,
Stu

https://independent.academia.edu/StuBurns
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Bluesman Mark
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Joined: November 14th, 2010, 3:59 am

September 11th, 2018, 9:47 pm #8

Lemme see, I had all the original Legacy sets on DVD. Gorgeous packaging, subpar discs.

My wife got me the 30 film set on DVD for Xmas in 2015. I have no plans to upgrade to the set on BluRay.

Got the Lugosi & Karloff collections on DVD, along with the UH Classic Movie Archive set, also on DVD. I want to get the other set for Xmas this year.
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Slyfox
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Slyfox
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Joined: April 25th, 2011, 9:34 pm

September 11th, 2018, 10:34 pm #9

My DVD shelf starts with the Milestone Collection Phantom of the Opera, the 8 disc blu-ray set Essential Collection, all the individual Legacy sets (ordered by date of release of the original film in the series), A&C Meet Frankenstein, The Bela Lugosi Collection, The Boris Karloff Collection, Universal Horror Classic Movie Archive, and Universal Cult Horror Collection. I never owned the films on any other media.

At the end of the shelf I have the Warner Brothers' Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection, followed by both sets of The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection.

Stu, you ask what you are missing by not having blu-ray, other than the Essential Collection, and my answer is: depends what you like. For me, I was willing to double- (even, in the case of the movies on the Essential Collection, triple-) dip to get the blu 30 Movie Collection, until I started hearing the problems encountered with some of the films on blu-ray;  the dip in volume on Werewolf of London, the few missing frames in The Mummy's Tomb and, of course, the Revenge of the Creature mess. These films are all fine on my Legacy DVDs, though I would prefer to have the 2 Creature sequels in proper aspect ratio.

The cream of the crop for me, and I would guess most people, is largely represented in the Essential Collection.  I'd say unless you have some great love for one or more of the sequels, and you feel that your viewing experience of them will be significantly better on blu-ray, you may not be missing out at all. Personally, after the problems encountered on the blu-rays, I'm going to put off buying the 30 movie set and be perfectly happy with my individual Legacy sets.
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Joined: December 27th, 2009, 1:48 pm

September 12th, 2018, 3:56 pm #10

I've missed the Cult Collection up until now. You have me debating myself. It would be nice to see Rondo again; I haven't seen that movie in years. Are they flip discs like the Lugosi collection?
Peace,
Stu

https://independent.academia.edu/StuBurns
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Tboneator64
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Joined: September 20th, 2016, 7:09 pm

September 12th, 2018, 4:03 pm #11

I currently have all but The Creature Legacy and Phantom '43 Blu-ray sets.

CHEERS! :)
"I never....drink wine!"
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Slyfox
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Slyfox
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September 12th, 2018, 6:53 pm #12

stuthehistoryguy wrote: I've missed the Cult Collection up until now. You have me debating myself. It would be nice to see Rondo again; I haven't seen that movie in years. Are they flip discs like the Lugosi collection?
Nope, all 5 are single sided MODs. TCM had them on sale last month so I finally bit. The movies are enjoyable, if not "essential", unfortunately the sale is over and the set is back at $45.95.

Tip: If you sign up to get their e-mails, you get an email coupon giving you 10% off your first purchase.
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crissrudd4554
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Joined: June 16th, 2012, 1:34 am

September 13th, 2018, 4:38 am #13

I still have my Classic Collection VHS’ (all 37), a few of the 1980s VHS releases including the 3D VHS of Creature, a few VHS’ from the Classic Monster Collection including Dracula with the Glass score, the 1999 DVDs, the Double Feature DVDs except the Werewolf of London/She-Wolf of London DVD, the 2004 Legacy Collections, the 75th Anniversary DVDs of Dracula and Frankenstein, the Legacy series DVDs of Mummy and Wolf Man, single DVD releases of A&C meet Frankenstein and A&C meet the Mummy, Bela Lugosi Franchise DVD set, TCM DVD of Mad Ghoul, Karloff Lugosi DVD set, and the 30 movie DVD set. Not to mention I even have some VHS’ saved to DVDs and a couple duplicates of the officials DVDs including both 2012 four pack sets. I think I’m good for a while.
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Tboneator64
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Joined: September 20th, 2016, 7:09 pm

September 13th, 2018, 7:42 pm #14

Amongst the anomalies within my 5 Complete Legacy Collection Blu-ray sets, the only one that really bothers me is the drastic volume drop on WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935).  I wish that I'd kept that 2004 Legacy DVD, especially as I can't afford the Elephant Films Blu-ray, or any other disc, at the moment!

Still, overall, I consider myself fortunate to have the best of the other Universal Monster Blu-ray titles!  

CHEERS! :)
"I never....drink wine!"
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JSull
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JSull
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Joined: August 20th, 2013, 4:46 am

September 14th, 2018, 3:10 pm #15

Interest in these movies and all of their history, began with watching them on tv with my Dad, who told me about seeing them in the theater, when he was young.
This lead to the monster magazines, like Famous Monsters of Filmland....getting a tape recorder for Christmas and recording the audio of the movies, as I watched on tv.
Then came a 8mm movie projector and buying the Castle Films editions....then with the advance in technology to the VHS tapes, to the DVD, and now to today's wonderful restorations on bluray discs!
I still enjoy the chance to see them in a movie theater in all of their splendor, but sadly, those chances don't come often, here in DFW.
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InnerSanctum
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Joined: July 26th, 2015, 5:38 pm

September 14th, 2018, 4:56 pm #16

JSull wrote:Interest in these movies and all of their history, began with watching them on tv with my Dad, who told me about seeing them in the theater, when he was young.
.....
I still enjoy the chance to see them in a movie theater in all of their splendor, but sadly, those chances don't come often, here in DFW.
We need a serious revival of revival theaters in this country. I want to run one myself, and feature the Universal Horror classics every year, particularly in October. Classic movies are meant to be seen on the big screen, and these films are no exception to this.



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This is the Inner Sanctum. A strange, fantastic world controlled by a mass of living, pulsating flesh - THE MIND. It destroys, distorts, creates monsters, commits murder! Yes, even YOU....without knowing.....can commit...MURDER.
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Joined: December 27th, 2009, 1:48 pm

September 14th, 2018, 5:06 pm #17

Alamo Drafthouse gets into that once in a while. I saw Nosferatu there last year. The Unis can't be far behind.
Peace,
Stu

https://independent.academia.edu/StuBurns
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HalLane
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Joined: October 16th, 2005, 5:18 am

September 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm #18

I taped most of them off cable on VHS,  having previously taped them off broadcast tv on reel to reel audio. Frank, Spanish Dracula and MUMMY'S TOMB are my only pre-recorded tapes. Then it's the Legacy DVDs, and the Boris, Bela, Inner Sanctum and Sci-Fi sets, with a few DVD-Rs to supplement. The Frankenstein set and It Came From Outer Space are my only blurays.

Each medium offers unique features, like the original audio on the reel to reels (where it's easier to hear the snippets of Bela-speak in FMTWM), the "short" version of MUMMY'S TOMB, the full-screen versions of '50s stuff etc.

So which do I watch most frequently? Why, Svengoolie and STARZ streaming, natch.
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