Universal Classic Monsters

Universal Classic Monsters (also known as Universal Monsters and Universal Studios Monsters) is a media franchise based on a series of horror films primarily produced by Universal Pictures from the 1930s to the 1950s. Although not initially conceived as a franchise, the enduring popularity and legacy of the films and the characters featured in them has led the studio to market them under the collective brand name of Universal Studios Monsters.[1] Steve Jones of USA Today described Universal's most famous monsters as "pop culture icons", specifically Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolf Man.[2][3][unreliable source?]

Universal Classic Monsters
Universal Classic Monsters logo.jpg
Official franchise logo as displayed on home video releases
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
CountryUnited States

MerchandisingEdit

After the Universal horror films were syndicated to television, this led to a rise in the popularity of merchandise based on Frankenstein's monster and Dracula.[4] Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, the Universal monsters were promoted via merchandizing which included: Halloween costumes, Aurora model kits, paperback novelizations, makeup how-to manuals, T-shirt iron-ons, posters, trading cards, and more.[5] Since 1991, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Parks & Resorts have featured characters from the Universal Classic Monsters franchise. From 2006 to 2014, the characters also appeared in the year-round walk-through attraction, Universal's House of Horrors, at Universal Studios Hollywood. The franchise is also the central theme of Universal's Horror Make-Up Show. The live show opened in 1990 at Universal Studios Florida and is still in operation.[6] Merchandizing of the characters in formats such as clothing and board games has continued into the 21st century.[7][8]

Home video lineEdit

Louis Feola was the head of Worldwide Home Video for Universal Studios and said in 1999 that "a couple of years ago" he decided to "reinvigorate and re-market" Universal's Classic Monsters catalog which included the series Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Wolf Man, and The Mummy.[1] In 1992, in an interview with Billboard, Feola stated that to market and sell home video, the most important thing was the packaging of their sales which was "probably our single biggest priority and has been for a number of years", and that it was key to make the series of films "look like a line".[9]

In 1995, MCA/Universal released a collection of the film on home video under the title "The Universal Studios Monsters Classic Collection".[10] This series included Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon series.[10] A collection of stamps featuring Universal Classic Monsters were also released in September 1997 titled "Universal Classic Movie Monsters series".[11] Other characters included in the series included the Mummy, Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff), Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney) and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.).[12]

FilmsEdit

The columns show the subsequent home video releases.

Universal Studios Monsters films
Year Title The Classic Collection
(1991–94)
Classic Monster Collection
(1999)
The Legacy Collection
(2004)
Universal Classic Monsters Ref(s)
Essential Collection
(2012)
Complete Collection
(2018)
1931 Dracula           [13][14][15][16][17][18]
Dracula           [13][14][15][16][17][19]
Frankenstein           [20][21][22][16][17][23]
1932 Murders in the Rue Morgue           [24][25]
The Mummy           [26][27][28][16][17][29]
Island of Lost Souls[a]           [31][32]
1933 The Invisible Man           [33][34][35][16][17][36]
1934 The Black Cat           [37][36]
1935 The Bride of Frankenstein           [38][39][22][16][17][40]
Werewolf of London           [41][42][17][43]
The Raven           [44][45]
1936 Dracula's Daughter           [46][15][17][47]
1939 Son of Frankenstein           [48][22][17][49]
Tower of London           [50][51]
1940 The Invisible Man Returns           [52][35][17][53]
The Mummy's Hand           [54][28][17][55]
The Invisible Woman           [56][35][17][57]
1941 The Monster and the Girl[a]           [58][59]
Man-Made Monster           [60][61]
The Wolf Man           [62][63][42][16][17][64]
1942 The Ghost of Frankenstein           [65][22][17][66]
Invisible Agent           [67][35][17][68]
The Mummy's Tomb           [69][28][17][70]
1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man           [71][42][17][72]
Captive Wild Woman           [73][74]
Phantom of the Opera           [75][76][16][17][77]
Son of Dracula           [78][15][17][79]
The Mad Ghoul           [80][81]
1944 The Invisible Man's Revenge           [82][35][17][83]
The Mummy's Ghost           [84][28][17][85]
House of Frankenstein           [86][22][17][87]
The Mummy's Curse           [88][28][17][89]
1945 House of Dracula           [90][15][17][91]
1946 House of Horrors           [92][93]
She-Wolf of London           [42][17][94]
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein           [17][95]
1951 Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man           [17][96]
1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon           [97][98][99][16][17][100]
1955 Revenge of the Creature           [101][99][17][102]
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy           [17][103]
1956 The Creature Walks Among Us           [104][99][17][105]
  1. ^ a b Although originally produced and released by Paramount Pictures, Universal obtained the rights to the film in 1958 and branded it with Universal Studios Monsters in its 1991 home video release.[30]

LegacyEdit

After the success of the 1999 film The Mummy, Universal spent the next decade attempting to reboot their classic monsters with films such as Van Helsing (2004), The Wolfman (2010), and Dracula Untold (2014). 2017's The Mummy remake starring Tom Cruise was an attempt to establish a "Dark Universe" series comparable to Marvel's Cinematic Universe.[106] The success of popular cross-over series has led to reassessments of Universal's monster films to be among the earliest "cinematic universes" starting with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.[106][107][108][109]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Bessman, Jim (September 4, 1999). "Glass Scores 'Dracula' For Universal; Will Tour in Support". Billboard. Vol. 111, no. 36. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  2. ^ Jones 2012.
  3. ^ http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2811/Paper07.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ Early & Malkowicz 2017.
  5. ^ Murray & Phipps 2012.
  6. ^ Gavin, Michael (October 24, 2017). "It's Alive! Universal Studios' Classic Monster Café gets updated with new life – and is ghoulishly gorgeous". insidethemagic.com. JAK Schmidt, Inc. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "Unique Vintage Launches Universal Monsters Collection". Licesnse Global. August 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Kondrad, Jeremy (July 10, 2019). "Universal Monsters Ravensburger Game Horrified Coming August 1st". Bleedingcool. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  9. ^ McCullaugh 1992, p. 63.
  10. ^ a b Nye 1995, p. 6.
  11. ^ "A Vampire Media Resource Guide". The Herald Statesman. April 16, 1997. p. 3C.
  12. ^ "Send In a Monster". Los Angeles Times. June 19, 1997. p. 53. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Dracula (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  14. ^ a b Dracula (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  15. ^ a b c d e Dracula: The Legacy Collection (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 2004.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (Blu-ray). Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection (Blu-ray). Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 2018.
  18. ^ Rhodes 2014, p. 245.
  19. ^ Rhodes 2014, p. 282.
  20. ^ Frankenstein (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  21. ^ Frankenstein (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  22. ^ a b c d e Frankenstein: The Legacy Collection (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 2004.
  23. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 38.
  24. ^ Murders in the Rue Morgue (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  25. ^ Mank 2010, p. 105.
  26. ^ The Mummy (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  27. ^ The Mummy (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  28. ^ a b c d e The Mummy: The Legacy Collection (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 2004.
  29. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 63.
  30. ^ McDougal, Dennis (2001). The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood (pp. 231-232). Da Capo Press.
  31. ^ Island of Lost Souls (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  32. ^ "At the Theatres This Week". Arizona Daily Star. December 18, 1932. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ The Invisible Man (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  34. ^ The Invisible Man (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  35. ^ a b c d e The Invisible Man: The Legacy Collection (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 2004.
  36. ^ a b Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 78.
  37. ^ The Black Cat (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  38. ^ Bride of Frankenstein (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  39. ^ Bride of Frankenstein (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  40. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 120.
  41. ^ Werewolf of London (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  42. ^ a b c d The Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 2004.
  43. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 129.
  44. ^ The Raven (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  45. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 138.
  46. ^ Dracula's Daughter (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  47. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 162.
  48. ^ Son of Frankenstein (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  49. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 182.
  50. ^ Tower of London (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  51. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 200.
  52. ^ The Invisible Man Returns (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  53. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 207.
  54. ^ The Mummy's Hand (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  55. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 229.
  56. ^ The Invisible Woman (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  57. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 237.
  58. ^ The Monster and the Girl (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  59. ^ "The Monster and the Girl". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  60. ^ Man-Made Monster (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  61. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 241.
  62. ^ The Wolf Man (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  63. ^ The Wolf Man (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  64. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 261.
  65. ^ The Ghost of Frankenstein (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  66. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 275.
  67. ^ Invisible Agent (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  68. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 294.
  69. ^ The Mummy's Tomb (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  70. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 305.
  71. ^ Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  72. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 322.
  73. ^ Captive Wild Woman (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  74. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 337.
  75. ^ Phantom of the Opera (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  76. ^ Phantom of the Opera (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  77. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 345.
  78. ^ Son of Dracula (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  79. ^ Kiss 2019, p. 95.
  80. ^ The Mad Ghoul (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  81. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 373.
  82. ^ The Invisible Man's Revenge (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  83. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 400.
  84. ^ The Mummy's Ghost (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  85. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 417.
  86. ^ House of Frankenstein (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  87. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 447.
  88. ^ The Mummy's Curse (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  89. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 456.
  90. ^ House of Dracula (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  91. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 501.
  92. ^ House of Horrors (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  93. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 525.
  94. ^ Weaver, Brunas & Brunas 2007, p. 539.
  95. ^ "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  96. ^ "Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  97. ^ Creature from the Black Lagoon (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  98. ^ Creature from the Black Lagoon (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 1999.
  99. ^ a b c Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Legacy Collection (DVD). Universal Studios Home Video. 2004.
  100. ^ "Creature from the Black Lagoon". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  101. ^ Revenge of the Creature (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  102. ^ "Revenge of the Creature". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  103. ^ "Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  104. ^ The Creature Walks Among Us (VHS). MCA Home Video. 1991.
  105. ^ "The Creature Walks Among Us". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  106. ^ a b Reimann 2020.
  107. ^ Brooks 2021.
  108. ^ Young 2015.
  109. ^ Young 2021.

SourcesEdit