Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Universal built its name and legacy on horror pictures, using Dracula, Frankenstein, even the Creature from the Black Lagoon to haunt moviegoers for decades. In celebration of its 100th anniversary, it is awesomely appropos that the studio has released this fantastic collection of eight horror classics for the first time on Blu-ray (especially of note: a newly restored 3D version of Creature from the Black Lagoon that is simply excellent, as well as a doc on the restoration of Dracula). Here's what's inside:
-Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi - Debut featurette on the restoration, plus pop-up facts, archives, feature on the stars and the 1931 Spanish version
-Frankenstein (1931) starring Boris Karloff - Featurettes on Karloff, the making-of the monster, historian commentary, more
-The Mummy (1932), starring Boris Karloff - The effects art of Jack Pierce, commentary by Rick Baker and others, feature on the Mummy legacy, more
-The Invisible Man (1933) starring Claude Rains - Features on the character, historian commentary, more
- Bride of Frankenstein (1935), starring Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester - features on creating the bride, more
- The Wolf Man (1941) starring Lon Chaney Jr. - featurettes on the wolf man myth, Lon Chaney Jr., more
- Phantom of the Opera (1943) starring Claude Rains - featurettes on the Phantom, production stills
- Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), debuting on 3D in high def in addition to the 2D version - featurettes on the new 3D conversion (which looks spectacular, BTW -- you won't believe how incredible the underwater shots look, for example) and more
It goes without saying that if you're a horror fan, this is an absolute Must Own. If you're a movie fan in general, the set gives you a terrific look at a particular time in history when the most notable movie monsters were created, along with commentary by their creators, how the effects were done those many years ago, and much much more. Besides, its that time of year when Boo!'s the word, and you can never go wrong with classics like these around Halloween time.
Dark Shadows Fans of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's longtime collaboration were, of course, thrilled to hear about the duo comingling for this goth gag-fest based on the almost-campy 1970s TV soap that took its vampires, werewolves and witches seriously. Critics, though, dinged it for turning the silly melodrama into highly stylized comedy, in which Depp plays a vamp named Barnabas who died in the 1700s and is resurrected in 1972 complete with Alice Cooper tunes and oral sex jokes. Weird, indeed. Extras: "The Collinses: Every Family Has Its Demons" featurette on the cast and their characters (DVD/BD); the BD/DVD combo pack adds featurettes on Depp's reimagining of Barnabas, the final battle sequence, the 1970s, special effects, Tim Burton's monster designs, and an Alice Cooper rock show.
People Like Us Chris Pine stars as a slick salesman who finds out--surprise! he has an older sister (Elizabeth Banks) when his father dies unexpectedly and he's forced to reunite with his estranged family. Extras: Audio commentary with writer/director Alex Kurtzman, Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer; the BD adds a featurette on the based-on-truth story, deleted scenes, gag reel and more.