A few years ago, Universal released a Blu-ray collection of the entire Universal Monsters franchise. Now it’s already time to upgrade them again. The second collection of Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror lets you revisit four creatures in new detail.
The Mummy has some fuzzy stock footage of Egypt but once they’re on a set, it’s clear without sacrificing authentic grain. The black and light lighting contributes to the 4K high dynamic range. You’ll see the texture in the mummy makeup and bandages. They really weathered Karloff. Daylight exteriors in the California desert are bright enough to sell it as Egypt.
Bride of Frankenstein gets away with including a sequel in this collection since it introduces the Bride. It is the grainiest film of the bunch, but that’s still authentic to its original presentation. Dr. Pretorius’s miniature people are seamless with the backgrounds, and his lair has the most shadow for HDR.
The Phantom of the Opera is the only color entry in this set, and its bright Technicolor holds up against Singing in the Rain and The Red Shoes 4Ks. The movie itself doesn’t, but it looks great with red stage curtains and bright red theater costumes.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon is another great crisp black and white 4K. In broad daylight it shows the most detail, but even nighttime has an artificial moonlight shine, which is actually bright set lights. The cool thing about Creature is the rear projection really makes the foreground actors stand out distinctly now.
Underwater, the footage can get understandably fuzzier with film cameras in the ‘50s. The creature’s lair at the end looks great with all the light bouncing off the slanted rock walls. Now, let’s hope they remaster all the sequels in 4K.