DRACULA & MUMMY
LEGACY COLLECTIONS

The Dracula and Mummy Complete Legacy Collections

Universal Blu-ray, $39.98 each

Following on the paws ‘n’ claws of last year’s Frankenstein and Wolf Man Legacy sets, Universal presents two new sets for 2017, offering between the two of them a total of 12 classic horrors and horror/comedies, 7 of which are new to Blu-ray, plus all the extensive bonus material ported over from the old DVD collections. A word of warning (or at the very least, a note needing your attention): because after 1942 Universal offered their movie monsters in a group setting, you’ll find many of these films offered in more than one set, so if you purchase all four of the BD sets you’re getting what looks at first glance to be 27 (or 28, see below) films… but you’re actually getting only far fewer. If you purchased the big original Universal Classic Monsters Essential Collection BD set and the earlier BD release of Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein, you’re only getting about a dozen new-to-BD movies but SAY, let’s just tell you what you ARE getting, shall we?

DRACULA: COMPLETE LEGACY COLLECTION

This includes the 1931 classic Dracula with Bela Lugosi, gorgeously restored and looking absolutely astonishing, plus the simultaneously-filmed Spanish-language version of the film, made on the same sets but at night with a Spanish-speaking cast. (Both were released on BD earlier.) Universal didn’t get around to making a sequel until 1936 but Dracula’s Daughter with Gloria Holden was worth the wait (lack of Lugosi notwithstanding), it’s a moody classic. Next up was, naturally, Son of Dracula (1943) with Lon Chaney, Jr., one of the studio’s better 1940s monster films but marred by the miscasting of the rather chunky Chaney as Count Alucard. (Both the Son and Daughter of Dracula are making their HD debuts here.) John Carradine stepped into the top hat and tails for the next two films in the series, the all-star monster rallies House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), but Bela was back in 1948 for Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, the classic film which may well hold the current record for most Blu-ray editions (it is on five different discs that I know of).

Dracula didn’t get a lot of respect from Universal back in the day, probably because the censors frowned upon the blood-thirsty count more than his ghoulish brethren, but his three solo films are all entertaining (particularly the first, helped a lot by Dwight Frye’s unforgettable fly-eater, Renfield). The only BD debuts in the set are Dracula’s Daughter and Son of Dracula, so you decide if the collection is worth the cost, you completist, you.

THE MUMMY: COMPLETE LEGACY COLLECTION

Im-Ho-Tep and Kharis didn’t get invited to the monster parties; hence, of the six films on this set, five are brand new to Blu, making this a much better value than the Drac pack. The original 1932 The Mummy with Boris Karloff is the one undeniable classic in the set and the only one on prior BD; the series was rebooted in 1940 with The Mummy’s Hand starring Tom Tyler as Kharis and Dick Foran and Wallace Ford as the Abbott-and-Costello-like team who stumble into his tomb. Despite too much comedy, this Mummy is truly scary and the sequels flew fast and furious, with Lon Chaney, Jr.  stepping into the bandages for The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse. A decade passed before Abbott & Costello meet the Mummy, and by that time, not many people cared. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, it was one of their better monster comedies (and the last). We're big fans of the Mummy sequels, although we admit you have to be movin' REAL slow (or stumble into a dead-end alley) to get THIS Mummy's wrath 'round your throat.

Still to come on Blu-ray: Universal also released DVD Legacy collections for The Invisible Man (5 films) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (3), but it sure would be nice to get a set of the Karloff-Lugosi collaborations, which included The Raven, The Black Cat, The Invisible Ray and others. Most of the studio’s prime 1950s offerings, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, Monster on the Campus, and Tarantula, aren’t on BD in the U.S. either. So c'MON already, Universal!