Classic Monsters, Vol. 1 [Universal 100th Anniversary] [4 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 19886256
  • Release Date: 03/06/2012
  • Rating: G
  • 5.0 (1)
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
5.0
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

Special Features

  • Dracula
  • The Road to Dracula, an Original Documentary
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian David J. Skal
  • New Score by Philip Glass Performed by the Kronos Quartet
  • Poster and Photo Montage
  • The Bride of Frankenstein
  • She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein, an Original Documentary
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen
  • The Bride of Frankenstein Archives
  • Frankenstein
  • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
  • Frankenstein Archives
  • Boo! - A Short Film
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Creature From The Black Lagoon
  • Back to the Black Lagoon
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • Production Photography

Synopsis

Creature from the Black Lagoon
Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member (Julie Adams), spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Bride of Frankenstein
This greatest of all Frankenstein movies begins during a raging thunderstorm. Warm and cozy inside their palatial villa, Lord Byron (Gavin Gordon), Percy Shelley (Douglas Walton), and Shelley's wife Mary (Elsa Lanchester) engage in morbidly sparkling conversation. The wicked Byron mockingly chastises Mary for frightening the literary world with her recent novel Frankenstein, but Mary insists that her horror tale preached a valuable moral, that man was not meant to dabble in the works of God. Moreover, Mary adds that her story did not end with the death of Frankenstein's monster, whereupon she tells the enthralled Byron and Shelley what happened next. Surviving the windmill fire that brought the original 1931 Frankenstein to a close, the Monster (Boris Karloff) quickly revives and goes on another rampage of death and destruction. Meanwhile, his ailing creator Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) discovers that his former mentor, the demented Doctor Praetorius (Ernst Thesiger), plans to create another life-sized monster -- this time a woman! After a wild and wooly "creation" sequence, the bandages are unwrapped, and the Bride of the Monster (Elsa Lanchester again) emerges. Alas, the Monster's tender efforts to connect with his new Mate are rewarded only by her revulsion and hoarse screams. "She hate me," he growls, "Just like others!" Wonderfully acted and directed, The Bride of Frankenstein is further enhanced by the vivid Franz Waxman musical score; even the film's occasional lapses in logic and continuity (it was trimmed from 90 to 75 minutes after the first preview) are oddly endearing. Director James Whale was memorably embodied by Ian McKellen in the Oscar-winning 1998 biopic Gods and Monsters. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Frankenstein
Still regarded as the definitive film version of Mary Shelley's classic tale of tragedy and horror, Frankenstein made unknown character actor Boris Karloff a star and created a new icon of terror. Along with the highly successful Dracula, released earlier the same year, it launched Universal Studio's golden age of 1930s horror movies. The film's greatness stems less from its script than from the stark but moody atmosphere created by director James Whale; Herman Rosse's memorable set designs, particularly the fantastic watchtower laboratory, featuring electrical equipment designed by Kenneth Strickfaden; the creature's trademark look from makeup artist Jack Pierce, who required Karloff to don pounds of makeup and heavy asphalt shoes to create the monster's unique lurching gait; and Karloff's nuanced performance as the tormented and bewildered creature. Frankenstein was greeted with screams, moans, and fainting spells upon its initial release, obliging Universal to add a disclaimer in which Edward Van Sloan advises the faint of heart to leave the theater immediately. If they don't: "Well...we've warned you." Director James Whale was memorably embodied by Ian McKellen in the Oscar-winning 1998 biopic Gods and Monsters. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dracula
"I am....Drac-u-la. I bid you velcome." Thus does Bela Lugosi declare his presence in the 1931 screen version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Director Tod Browning invests most of his mood and atmosphere in the first two reels, which were based on the original Stoker novel; the rest of the film is a more stagebound translation of the popular stage play by John Balderston and Hamilton Deane. Even so, the electric tension between the elegant Dracula and the vampire hunter Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) works as well on the screen as it did on the stage. And it's hard to forget such moments as the lustful gleam in the eyes of Mina Harker (Helen Chandler) as she succumbs to the will of Dracula, or the omnipresent insane giggle of the fly-eating Renfield (Dwight Frye). Despite the static nature of the final scenes, Dracula is a classic among horror films, with Bela Lugosi giving the performance of a lifetime as the erudite Count (both Lugosi and co-star Frye would forever after be typecast as a result of this film, which had unfortunate consequences for both men's careers). Compare this Dracula to the simultaneously filmed Spanish-language version, which makes up for the absence of Lugosi with a stronger sense of visual dynamics in the lengthy dialogue sequences. In 1999, a special rerelease of Dracula was prepared featuring a new musical score written by Philip Glass and performed by The Kronos Quartet. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Richard Carlson
    Richard Carlson - David Reed
  • Julie Adams
    Julie Adams - Kay Lawrence
  • Richard Denning
    Richard Denning - Mark Williams
  • Antonio Moreno
    Antonio Moreno - Carl Mala
  • Nestor Paiva
    Nestor Paiva - Lucas

Overall Customer Rating

(1 Review)

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