Wow. Kudos right off the start to Universal for this outstanding box set. Not only do comsumers get 14 (!) seperate classic Universal monster movies, but three incredibly cool busts of the featured creatures. What more could any DVD fan want? Each of the monsters films (Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula) are housed in their own seperate cases. Frankenstein and Dracula get 5 movies a piece with Wolfman fans getting treated to 4. Each set is housed on 2 discs, one with graphics on top, the other double sided. Note the packaging shows each disc with artwork on the top. The Wolfman set is contained on the back of the box, the others on the side. A clear plastic lets owners look at the individual DVD's when they are in the box.
The front of the box holds the busts of the monsters. Created by Sideshow Collectibles, these are not only heavy but surprisngly well made. Made of rock-solid polystone and hand painted, these are gorgeous collectible pieces. A mix of tape and wires holds them in place. A marble-looking styrofoam serves as their backdrop. The entire set weighs somewhere in the area of 10 pounds, so be careful when picking this one up for the first time. The discs are housed in a flimsy cardboard sleeve with a clear pastic front. Some artwork has been added to the plastic with lightning and other things like castles for effect. Pulling out the actual case from the sleeve reveals a super-thick hardcover book-like package. The discs rest on a hard plastic that prevents the disc from coming loose. Each individual set also comes with a sheet listing the films included. There is an annoying "Made in Mexico" sticker on the outer sleeve that can't be removed without ruining the package. Worse yet, the stupid sticker covers up the specs of the movies. The one sticker on the bottom of the box wasn't enough? I'm not going to sit here and review 14 different films, but a quick preview reveals some great looking transfers and clear Dolby 2.0 sound. Doing some research reveals that only Bride of Frankenstein has been cleaned up from the original (and out of print) DVD release. A few of these films are now avaiable for the first time on the format including a critical favorite Spanish version of Dracula. A complete list of the films follows. Dracula: Dracula, Dracula (1931 Spanish Version), Dracula's Daughter, Son of Dracula, and House of Dracula. Frankenstein: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein. Wolf Man: The Wolf Man, Werewolf of London, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and She-Wolf of London. Extras on the discs are hardly numerous, but anything extra on a 50 year old movie is pretty impressive. There are numerous trailers, art galleries, posters, and other such visual material. There are a few commentaries from various film historians, but only on a few of the films. Commentary time: I find it kind of ridiculous that the only way Universal would release this set is because of the upcoming CG-filled action fest Van Helsing. It's even more absurd that they think Stephen Sommers gets to introduce each of these films simply beause he got the nod to direct Helsing. Who the hell is he? Commentary on some of the films is provided by famous historians, but the whole Sommers thing is just blatant product placement. Whoopee. This is about as wonderful as a DVD box set gets. The few minor quips aside, this is the ultimate example of a DVD product. Unviersal could've settled for cheap plastic busts but went the extra mile and got Sideshow Collectibles who offer a superior product. Now, give me a set like this with the Creature from the Black Lagoon Trilogy, The Mole People, and This Island Earth and I'll faint. No really, I probably would.