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Frankenstein Blu-Ray Review

Universal Monsters Blu-rayReviewed by Chris Risdal, MoreHorror.com

Note: This is (so far) only available on the 'Universal Classic Monsters Essential Blu-ray Box Set'.

‘Frankenstein’ is a classic film from 1931 that has influenced many modern horror films today and was highly controversial at the time of its released, where it was considered so horrifying that many audience members were rumored to have fainted at showings. It is not a perfect film for sure, but it’s a classic in every sense of the word and it is not to be missed for any fan of the genre.

I personally grew up on the old Universal Horror and Hammer Horror films before moving into the modern horror territory, and I feel many have done the same. These films are just fantastic for a young mind to take in and I personally was fascinated by them, two in particular being Universal’s ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’, which both came out in 1931.

‘Frankenstein’ has some of the best atmosphere and set pieces of any horror film I’ve seen today. The foggy cemeteries, the dark rooms with lots of German-Expressionist shadows throughout, and the fantastic Mad-Scientist laboratory, and an iconic monster, yep this film has pretty much everything you’d want from a horror film. Boris Karloff is still one of the best horror actors in film history, with that death-like stare and ghastly pale face, thanks in part to famous make-up artist Jack Pierce. Though the monster is iconic, I feel the best part is the performance of Dr. Victor Frankenstein by Colin Clive, who I’ve always wondered why he wasn’t in more classic monster movies as he gives a very powerful performance that makes you really believe that he’s willing to do anything to create his monster.

There are some flaws with the film though, such as some random moments where you ask yourself ‘why?’, but these are minor nitpicks at best because quite simply ‘Frankenstein’ is a masterpiece of the horror genre and it well earns its continued popularity.

Video Quality: With Universal’s 100th birthday this year, we are getting some great releases from the company for blu-ray, the most recent being the excellent ‘JAWS’ BD that I proudly own and now I can add this film to that list. We have a great transfer that even though the film is almost 100 years old, it still looks fantastic on blu-ray. It was restored from scratch like many of the 100th anniversary Universal films and it shows when you’re comparing it with the old DVD. Although no DNR is seemingly present, the film shows almost no more blemishes while still retaining some good film grain. It definitely looks much better than I expected and I have to say it’s a nice surprise to get.

Audio Quality: The audio has been touched up nicely as well for this high-def transfer. Dialogue is clear and crisp, again another surprise when dealing with a film this old. There’s rarely any noticeable hiss, pops, or skips throughout, though not completely without them. These are mostly during the quieter moments however and don’t affect the sound effects or dialogue. Overall, it’s once again another nice surprise in the audio department.

Special Features: Feature Commentaries with Rudy Behlmer and Sir Christopher Frayling, Trivia Track, A documentary about Universal Horror films, BOO! A Short Film, and Archival Featurettes about the film. These are all ported over from the 2006 special DVD and it’s nice to see that they didn’t take anything and added a few new items as well, such as a documentary about the restoration process of the various Universal Horror Classics, which is a nice little addition. The commentaries I feel are the bread and butter here however, even if they are just reading off of notes the whole time. It’s still informative and worth a listen if you’re interested. Nice special features to say the least and well worth the purchase of the set as most of the other films have similar features.

‘Frankenstein’ along with the rest of the Classic Monster box set is well worth the purchase and I got to say I was truly impressed with the work done here. It’s a perfect set for your Halloween marathon and your horror collection.

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