It’s about damn time!

Come October 2nd, The Original Kings of Horror finally arrive on Blu-ray in the Universal Classic Monsters: Essential Collection!  This must-own set will contain 9 films, as well as a 48-page book full of behind-the-scenes photos, posters, and other goodies.  As for the films themselves…

DRACULA (1931)

  • The Spanish version language version* (both on a single BD-50)
  • Introduction to Spanish Dracula by Lupita Tovar Kohner
  • Audio commentary with film historian David J. Skal
  • Audio commentary with Dracula: Dead & Loving It screenwriter Steve Haberman
  • Alternate Philip Glass score composed by the Kronos Quartet
  • “Monster Tracks” interactive pop-up feature about the making of Dracula
  • “The Road To Dracula” featurette
  • “Lugosi: The Dark Prince” featurette
  • “Dracula: The Restoration” featurette
  • The Dracula Archives
  • Trailer gallery

 

FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

  • Audio commentary with film historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Audio commentary with film historian Sir Christopher Frayling
  • “Monster Tracks” interactive pop-up feature about the making of Frankenstein
  • “The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made A Monster” featurette
  • “Karloff: The Gentle Monster” featurette
  • “Universal Horror” featurette
  • The Frankenstein Archives
  • “Boo!: A Short Film”
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “Restoring the Classics”
  • Trailer gallery

 

THE MUMMY (1932)

  • Audio commentary with film historian Paul M. Jensen
  • Audio commentary with Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns, and Brent Armstrong
  • “Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed” featurette
  • “He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce” featurette
  • “Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy” featurette
  • The Mummy Archives
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “The Carl Laemmle Era”
  • Trailer gallery

 

THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)

  • Audio commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer
  • “Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed” featurette
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “Unforgettable Characters”
  • Production photographs

 

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)

  • Audio commentary with Scott MacQueen
  • “She’s Alive! Creating The Bride of Frankenstein” featurette
  • The Bride of Frankenstein Archives
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “Restoring the Classics”
  • Trailer gallery

 

THE WOLF MAN (1941)

  • Audio commentary with film historian Tom Weaver
  • “Monster By Moonlight” featurette
  • “The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse To Modern Myth” featurette
  • “Pure In Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney, Jr.” featurette
  • “He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce” featurette
  • The Wolf Man Archives
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “The Lot”
  • Trailer gallery

 

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943)

  • Audio commentary with Scott MacQueen
  • “The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked” featurette
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “The Lot”
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Production photographs

 

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954)

  • Original 3D, plus the 2D version of the film (also on a single BD-50)
  • Audio commentary with Tom Weaver
  • “Back To The Black Lagoon” featurette
  • 100 Years of Universal featurette: “The Lot”
  • Trailer gallery
  • Production photographs

 

Nine actually, but who’s counting? Oh wait, I am.

The full technical specifications for this set have not been announced and there is the possibility of a few more special features being added, but on the whole the above is what we’re getting.  Each film has been digitally restored from hi-res film elements, so no worries about any of these getting half-assed upgrades.

So where does this leave the remaining sequels/spin-offs to the above films, as well as Universal’s countless other genre offerings?  Not sure yet.  Their release will likely depend on the sales of this set.  Personally, I’m not worried.  What route will the studio take?  While additional collections are possible, I’m guessing the same way they did things the first time these classics were released on DVD:  double-features.  Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of FrankensteinDracula’s Daughter and Son of DraculaHouse of Frankenstein and House of Dracula.  Both Creature sequels.  Paired up Mummy sequels (there are four of ‘em).  You get the idea.  There’s one that we don’t have to worry about though:  Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.  That charming little horror comedy streets on Blu-ray about a month earlier on September 4th!  So does the equally fun Mad Monster Party, for that matter!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the beginning of September through the start of October is going to absolutely murder my wallet.  The Harry Potter Collection on September 4th.  Indiana Jones on September 18th.  James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock on September 25th.  This a week later on October 2nd.  OUCH!  And that doesn’t even factor in individual releases like The Avengers, The Game (Criterion), Titanic, the first round of Shout! Factory’s new horror line-up, a few separate Hitchcock releases, a ton of TV show seasons, etc.  You’d best start saving now!  Until then, I leave you with this…

 

Source | Blu-ray.com (via Andrew Baldwin, my brother from the same mother.)

* – A completely separate film made on the same sound stages as the Lugosi one with an all-Spanish cast.  While the titular lead cannot compare to Bela, this rendition is a lot flashier and far more atmospheric.  I’m psyched that it has been included.