The Universal Monsters Have Never Looked Better

The UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION gives these classics the red carpet treatment.

By Ryan Scott · @RyanScottWrites · February 13, 2024, 7:17 PM EST
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Universal Monsters, as a franchise, is more than 90 years old at this point. Most things made 90 years ago simply don’t hold up, be it thanks to the uncompromising ravages of time or simply because times have changed enough that the thing in question no longer suits modern sensibilities. But these films have endured in the public consciousness. Universal has given eight of these classic films the red carpet treatment with the Universal Classic Monsters Limited Edition Collection. These monsters have, quite simply, never looked better.


This collection brings together eight of the Universal Monsters films, including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The movies themselves are, of course, the main event, but what stands out instantly is the packaging, with the classics housed in a hulking and gorgeous book-style package.

The pages of the book are filled with stunning full-color artwork and loving tributes to these films. It is designed as a showpiece for one’s physical media collection.

While I can’t attest to every minute of every one of the movies just yet, I can tell you Creature from the Black Lagoon, in its entirety, is perfected here. The bits of the other discs I took in were just as remarkable. Dracula, in particular, is baffling, given that the movie was released in 1931.

That is largely the point here. In the age of streaming, these movies have often been hard to track down, let alone in such a pristine presentation. No matter what the future holds for any of the numerous streaming services available to us right now, nobody can take these discs away from you. And nobody can take away the history contained in the bonus features and book this set is packaged in.


This is by no means the most complete collection of the Universal Monsters films out there. The Universal Classic Monsters Complete 30-Film Collection on Blu-ray may be the right choice for many viewers. But that definitely feels like a more traditional box set.

Here, we have something that feels like the equivalent of putting each of these eight movies in a museum exhibit to display on your shelf for all to see. So sure, it may be missing the likes of Werewolf of London and The Mummy’s Hand, among others, but the essentials are there. And they’re there in 4K Ultra HD, a format that tends to benefit older movies the most when the restorations are done right.

There are a few perceivable downsides. The collection is limited to 5,500 copies, so it’s really going to be a first-come, first-served situation. Then again, there is an appeal to that sort of thing. It’s also not going to tuck nicely onto one’s regular ol’ Blu-ray/DVD shelf as it is more like a coffee table book with some discs in it rather than a traditional box set.

But for serious collectors who have the space and the money to spare, this feels like a no-brainer, much like the Criterion Godzilla box set for so many of us several years back. This doesn’t feel like a money grab; it feels like something created with love and care. That’s not something that can often be said of a studio the size of Universal Pictures. It’s rare, and I believe that deserves to be applauded.


Yes, these movies are individually available in 4K. But what’s nice to see here is Universal providing so much craft, care, and attention for movies that are anywhere from seven to nine decades old. In the streaming era, it feels like so much classic cinema is lost to time or, frankly, just not cared about at all.

But these movies are not only classics - they’re downright important. They deserve preservation beyond the digital realm. Damned if this box set isn’t one heck of a way to do just that.

The Universal Classic Monsters Limited Edition Collection is available now on Amazon.