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dwatts
10-29-2002, 01:17 PM
Well, as you all know, I bought all of the new „Universal Classics“ in the UK last week. I am slowly making my way through them.

I watched The Mummy (several times, actually) Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Invisible Man.

The first thing that hits me is how similar these films are. We often criticize new horror films for following a formula, and it is interesting to note that it has always been this way – even as far back as 1931!

For instance, Frankenstein and Invisible Man have many similarities. As I watched it I was struck by the mad scientist, the fiancée, the older wiser mentor figure. Most of these observations were borne out by the critics and historians in the documentary that comes with these.

As far as Invisible Man goes, it is a very strange film. On the one hand it is very dark (characters who would not typically get killed off, do, and often in horrible ways.) At the same time we have James Whale’s humor thrown in.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Whales campness and take on humor is a big turn-off for me. While most people seem to think Bride of Frankenstein is a classic that surpasses the original film, I simply don’t see it. The conclusion of Bride is brilliant, but most of what it takes to get there – the ridiculous wife at the start of the movie, who pulls the exact same antics in Invisible Man as the Inn keepers wife - and the obviously gay evil scientist in Bride are just huge negatives to a horror film IMHO.

This air of the ridiculous is more prevalent in Invisible Man, where we have people running around tables after a shirt, as an example. Utterly stupid and distracting. If Whale had wanted a comedy, then why burn the man who loves the heroine to death? Weird. I guess it is just not for me.

Having said that – overall the film has its moments. The FX are amazing for the time – and there are some truly nasty moments (given the time this thing was made.) This is why the humor does not work – the contrast here between the dark and light is too pronounced.

Creature and Mummy follow similar plots. Add a scientist and a beautiful girl, and it won’t be long before they fall in love – the monster grabs the girl – and the guy has to rush in at the end to save the day. It’s the King Kong story over and over again – Beauty and the Beast.

Still, this film has its moments too. I prefer it to Invisible Man, since it takes itself a bit more seriously. The monster effects are good – despite overbearing music and a couple of scenes that are unnecessary (having seen the hand coming out of the water at the start of the film, I don’t need to see the very same thing two more times.)

The thing that struck me in this film is that the humans are basically bastards. Even the “good guys” are rather warped IMHO.

I have watched the Mummy three times so far. Like this one – there are some hilariously bad cuts, and library footage. Some geography makes no sense at all – and the “Mummy” only wears bandages for about five minutes (I like my Mummy’s wrapped up playing Frankenstein.) We also have the climatic scene occur off camera with a clatter of bones, a bit disappointing. Still – I like it. The opening sequence is great fun.

Anyway – that’s where I’m at. Will keep you informed as I go through them :)

Ps: The UK releases have no inserts, and the plastic used on the cases (outer case) is very thin. They are even curling up! Disappointing considering how much these things cost list. I got them for half price, so I can live with it. At full price, I’d have been annoyed.

Pps: I announced a sale of these at Virgin in the UK. I posted that on Thursday of last week. By Saturday it was getting very hard to find them. Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Bride, Wolfman were all sold out. Amazing!

mcchrist
10-29-2002, 10:41 PM
Universal is hit and miss. Unlike Hammer which it seems that every movie they did was entertaining in some way or another, Universal was never that consistant. I agree about Bride of Frankenstein... But I'll go a step further, I didn't like the original, and the latter Universal Frankensteins (Ghost of... ugh!) are bloody awful.

Placing Hammer along side Universal, Hammer pulls off the better film 9 times out of 10.

Universal did have some shining moments like Invisible Man and Creature, and I liked the Wolf Man too, but overall I think Universal's efforts are a tad on the overrated side.

KillerCannabis
10-30-2002, 10:12 AM
I love Creature From the Black Lagoon. I thought it was great as a kid and I feel it still holds up well even today.

Yowie
10-30-2002, 10:42 AM
I love these movies too, but I see what Dwatts is saying. I'm not too crazy about humor in horror myself, sometimes it's ok, like in the Dr. Phibes movies because it's there most of the time in everything Phibes does. I tend to like my horror straight, and as much as I love the old Universal classics personally I could do without Whale's humor. I've always found it annoyning in "Bride..." and much prefer the bleakness of the original, they have very little in common actually. I know it's the same director, but if I can be a little insulting for a moment; "Bride..." is almost like a modern film, like Wes Craven or somebody would've remade the original had he been there. Enough blasphemy, I still love "Bride..." despite its lightness, it has many wonderful scenes in it, Hollywood just took a rather enormous step in only 4 years.

dwatts
10-30-2002, 11:00 AM
I've made no secret of the fact that I feel Bride would make a clasic - brilliant - ten minute movie. Just give me the end sequence and we'd have something great. The opening sequence ought to be good - but with the dozy woman cackling at the death of her husband, well, it just sucks the tension into oblivion.

Mind you, I'm all for cutting these films some slack, we ARE talking about the 30's and 40's after all. Still, Whale could have been a great, but with his odd sense of humor, he's just an okay with a couple of clasics under his belt.

MaxRenn
11-02-2002, 07:15 AM
Funnily enough I'm also working my way through this DVD boxset (with my kids) although I've seen most of them before. And I came to the same conclusion about "The Invisible Man". The humor and some of the acting styles were very dated and out of place. For me it really detracted from the main storyline (which was actually pretty silly). However I think Whale was a very talented filmmaker. He was ahead of his time as he was not treating his subject matter with total seriousness, wanting to satirize the material in the film. It didn't work for me in this movie. Best thing about the movie is Claude Rains.

"Creature From the Black Lagoon" was pretty good but not a classic. It pales next to another 50s monster movie, "Them". That has a better atmosphere, more realism, more suspense and a great finale.

I am looking forward to seeing "The Mummy" on DVD. This film has a great dreamlike atmosphere and Boris Karloff.

bloodthirsty
11-02-2002, 08:13 AM
wow... you should have bought them all from FBO in Australia! they are all £5.76 (AU $16.10) each! (that's $8.94 U.S. if anyone in the U.S. wants to order the AU discs)
even if they were half off the £17.99 UK price, it's still TOO MUCH! the discs are dual encoded for Region 2 & 4

PLUS if you buy 2, you get a 3rd Universal Monsters DVD of your choice for FREE!
so that's 3 DVD's for £11.52 ($17.88 U.S.)

dvdasia62
11-02-2002, 04:13 PM
Originally posted by bloodthirsty
even if they were half off the £17.99 UK price, it's still TOO MUCH!

Actually you can get them for 15.99 UK at Bensonsworld which in the US is on par for the most part to what they were costing before the moritorium. I bought several of these from Bensonsworld and the prices are DEFINATELY not too much. Worth every penney to me personally just to get a chance to own the disc's. I'm very pleased with them. :)

bloodthirsty
11-02-2002, 09:39 PM
(the above 15.99 is in UK pounds sterling, not U.S.$)

I'm just trying to help here... I don't mean to step on anyone's toes... but bensonsworld is not where you want to buy them from. those DVDs (which are DUAL encoded PAL-Region 2 & 4) from bensonsworld are the exact same releases that you can get A LOT cheaper if you buy from Australia (as I have stated in my previous post)
for U.S. people, bensonsworld would cost US$25.02 per DVD.
if you buy from them Australia they are only US$8.94 per DVD.

dvdasia62
11-02-2002, 11:32 PM
My posy clearly pointed out that the 15.99 was UK pounds. All I'm saying is that the conversion to US funds, which is around $24 and change is around what the R1 DVD's went for before the moratorium. If folks desire these disc's and want to purchase them from AU, that's cool. All I'm saying is that at $24 US, they were more then worth it and I'm extremely pleased to have them. If you can get them cheaper, go for it, if you can't then the price is not bad.

bloodthirsty
11-03-2002, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by dvdasia62
If you can get them cheaper, go for it, if you can't then the price is not bad.

oh, I know what you were saying... I'm just saying that you definitely CAN get them for less. not "if"
I just didnt want anyone to be misled into buying the UK versions.
just trying to be clear and helpful.

(and actually they were $16.10 at DDDVD before they went on moratorium, and in a 8-DVD box set for $99.98 so that is still a far cry from $24 each that is suggested to be a good price)

you can also get the U.S. 8-DVD box set for $119.99 from Amazon.com as of today 11/02/02:

Universal's Classic Monster Collection (Dracula/Frankenstein/The Mummy/The Invisible Man/The Bride of Frankenstein/The Wolf Man/The Phantom of the Opera/The Creature from the Black Lagoon)

Used & new from $119.99
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Product Details
* Encoding: Region 1 (US and Canada only)
* Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Box set
* Rated: NR
* Studio: Universal Studios
* DVD Features:
* Parental Lock
* 8-disc boxed set
* The "Classic Monsters Collection" includes eight of Universal's popular monster films, all in deluxe Special Editions: "Dracula" (1931, 75 min. + Includes the complete Spanish version, shot simultaneously on the same sets by Paul Kohner, starring Carlos Villarias and Lupita Tovar), "Frankenstein" (1931, 71 min.), "The Mummy" (1932, 74 min.), "The Invisible Man" (1933, 71 min.), "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935, 75 min.), "The Wolf Man" (1941, 70 min.), "The Phantom of the Opera" (1943, 93 min.), "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954, 79 min.). See individual titles for complete special features.
* Full-screen format
* Number of discs: 8

and since the AU/UK version of DRACULA doesnt have the Spanish version on it, I'd track down the U.S. version for at least DRACULA!

dvdasia62
11-03-2002, 12:57 AM
I ran into copies of "Bride", "The Wolf Man" and "Invisible Man" at best buy and they were going for $29.99 a pop. Forget about what they are going for at E-Bay! You can order some of these titles at Amazon, but they are or never seem to be in stock or "will ship when stock arrives". Deep Discount did have cheaper prices but before the moratorium places like Amazon and dvdempire had them going for $23 and $24 so, if for some reason you can't order from AU, like me, at least there is another option and with that option, you won't, for the most part, be paying anything more then what you paid before the moratorium or what you might pay now. Believe me, I wish I could have ordered them from AU but I couldn't, so I did have another option which was cool. :)

bloodthirsty
11-03-2002, 02:57 AM
Originally posted by dvdasia62
Believe me, I wish I could have ordered them from AU but I couldn't, so I did have another option which was cool. :)

my posts aren't directed toward you and you only... sorry if it seemed that way.
I am just trying to put out info for others that might be interested in purchasing these DVDs now.

I also understand your point... that they are "worth" every penny of $24.00 (yes, they are GREAT!) but for future reference, they can be had for A LOT less.

or, like I said one person has the NEW set of 8-DVD's for $119.99 and since it is a private seller THRU Amazon (not AMAZON directly) if it is listed as 'FOR SALE' then at that moment the person DOES have it for sale and you are guaranteed to get it:

cut'n'pasted from AMZ:

$119.99 <---BEST DEAL
New
Usually ships within 24 hours
------------------------------------------------------------------------

$154.99 <---STILL CHEAPER THAN $24 EA
New
Ships from: GA, United States
Comments: - Brand new & factory sealed. Fast shipping.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

$159.99 <---STILL CHEAPER THAN $24 EA
New
Ships from: PA, United States
Expedited shipping available
Comments: - BRAND NEW AND FACTORY SEALED. We specialize in hard-to-find videos.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

this is not to try and show you up "dvdasia62" I understand your points.
this is just for others to benefit from.
I already got all of my AU versions, which seem to use better card stock for the picture sleeves than what has been reported on for the UK editions (even though both versions are encoded for Region 2&4, the covers are different)

dwatts
11-04-2002, 01:01 PM
Erm, why save a few bucks and wait for them to ship from Australia - when I can just pick them off the shelf at 10 pounds each? Each to their own, but sometimes saving a few bucks just isn't worth it - as in this case.

Getting a film for the cheapest price is not what drives me. I weigh up the whole situation - availability being one of the key things. As others have said - each to their own, I guess.

bloodthirsty
11-04-2002, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by dwatts
Erm, why save a few bucks and wait for them to ship from Australia - when I can just pick them off the shelf at 10 pounds each? Each to their own, but sometimes saving a few bucks just isn't worth it - as in this case.

Getting a film for the cheapest price is not what drives me. I weigh up the whole situation - availability being one of the key things. As others have said - each to their own, I guess.

yeah, companies hope people are lazy and impatient. it's what makes them money. just think if you spent your money wisely how much the savings adds up.
but, to each their own.

(BTW, it takes 3-4 days for my AU DVDs to arrive in the US... I can wait that)

Fart Lighter
11-04-2002, 08:51 PM
have you watched the documentary on THE MUMMY? Even that admits that it's a re-hash of Dracula.
Universal ran of steam/ideas very early on, but the atmosphere of these films makes them so good. I perosnally prefer the earlier, more German Expressionism style ones to the later more conventional efforts.
Unfortunately MUMMY director Carl Freund seems to have picked his ideas up from Tod Browning, and carries all his faults across.

Damed
11-07-2002, 09:31 PM
Hmph. I am a big fan of (most) Universal horror "Classics". Some of the later Frankenstein flicks "ghost, house" are not so great, but overall I like them.

Granted, I have not seen the rest of the mummy series (only own the original). Given that they are OOP, I don't think I will be seeing them anytime soon, either. Any opinions on those ones?

MaxRenn
11-10-2002, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by Fart Lighter
Unfortunately MUMMY director Carl Freund seems to have picked his ideas up from Tod Browning, and carries all his faults across.

Just curious, but what faults? Personally I think "The Mummy" is fantastic. Apart from Karloff's performance and makeup the movie actually has a good plot and atmosphere. It's not just a silly chase movie. From what I remember the various sequels degenerated into comedy/chase movies.