Saturday, December 24, 2016

Collectible Time #76: A Classic Monster Christmas...Godzilla '14 Eggleton/FM T-Shirt and Universal Classic Monsters Essential Collection

My friend, Brett Turner, always comes through with on-target Christmas gifts. Thematically, he succeeded again, so I wish to mark his generosity by spotlighting his latest submissions...

Brett knows I dig Toho, or any sort of giant-monster variation, including Gojira's Legendary Films/Gareth Edwards reinstatement. In this instance, the latter is represented by acclaimed Godzilla artist, Bob Eggleton, with our colossal hero confronting an approaching M.U.T.O.  The image, in this instance, is displayed on a stylish, Cotton Heritage, black t-shirt. How cool!!! I'll be lookin' mighty sharp (and maybe a trifle intimidating) when I sport it this summer!!!

For the record, Eggleton created this marvelous "Godzilla '14" image for the latest incarnation of Famous Monsters of Filmland: this being the third of four covers to commemorate the big guys' 60th anniversary. Yep, a classy and historic piece of apparel... 

And speaking of classy and historic, good, ol' Brett hit the bullseye in yet another delightful way. You see, he knows I'm into Universal horror, but was a tad behind the times, having my Universal favorites designated to DVD (and prior to such, VHS). Well, thanks to Brett, I now have the founding entries on Blu-ray, in what's called "Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection".

The 8-disc set includes "Dracula" (along with a Philip Glass orchestrated edition, plus the alternate-cast, Spanish version); "Frankenstein"; "Bride of Frankenstein"; "The Mummy"; "The Invisible Man"; "The Wolf Man"; "Phantom of the Opera '43"; and "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (in 3D and flat versions). Accompanying the films are documentaries, trailers and historical commentary by the distinguished likes of Brent Armstrong; Rick Baker; Bob Burns; Rudy Behlmer; Christopher Freyling; Steve Haberman; Paul M. Jensen; Scott McQueen; David Skal; and Tom Weaver. 

To make the compilation all the more collectible, it contains a 48-pg booklet, "The Original House of Horrors", which presents a splendid overview of the Universal hits. In fact, the entire packaging for the "Essential Collection" is visually enriching: accentuated by gruesomely gorgeous graphics.

I mentioned receiving this set to a few of my much younger friends today, who seemed baffled by its significance, believing classic horror to stem solely from the late '70s onward (i.e., from the Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers era), but the reason such modern fiends ever clicked with audiences was due to the successful, storytelling format that Universal established. Of course, the Universal "talkie" entries also had the advantage of some of the most talented actors, writers and directors of any cinematic age: Lugosi; Karloff; Chaney Jr.; Lancaster; Rains; Arnold; Balderston; Browning; Freund; and Whale. Truly, these films are the classics, the ones that one should know and cherish: the indisputable trendsetters from which all others owe an insurmountable debt.  

I thank Brett for supplying this superb collection; I'm sure to revisit it often, with much gratitude and respect for my friend and the marvelous movies it celebrates. 

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