|Universal Classic Monsters|
Official franchise logo as displayed on home video releases
Universal Classic Monsters is a phrase used to describe the horror, suspense and science fiction films made by Universal Studios during the decades of the 1920s through the 1950s. They began with The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, both silent films starring Lon Chaney. Universal continued with talkies including monster franchises Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The films often featured Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr.
In 1923, Universal produced the drama The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo. The production sets were built to evoke 15th-century Paris, including a re-creation of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral.
Chaney stars as The Phantom in 1925's horror film, The Phantom of the Opera, based on the mystery novel by Gaston Leroux. The interior of the Opéra Garnier was recreated to scale and was used again in the 1943 remake with Claude Rains.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Cast||RT||IMDb|
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame||September 2, 1923||Wallace Worsley||Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Nigel de Brulier, Brandon Hurst||95%||7.3|
|The Phantom of the Opera||November 25, 1925||Rupert Julian||Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland||90%||7.7|
|The Cat and the Canary||September 9, 1927||Paul Leni||Laura La Plante, Forrest Stanley, Creighton Hale, Flora Finch||93%||7.2|
|The Man Who Laughs||April 27, 1928||Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Brandon Hurst, Olga V. Baklanova, Cesare Gravina, Stuart Holmes, Samuel de Grasse, George Siegmann, Josephine Crowell||100%||7.8|
|The Last Warning||January 6, 1929||Laura LaPlante, Montagu Love, Margaret Livingston, John Boles||N/A||7.5|
|The Last Performance||November 1929||Paul Fejos||Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin||N/A||6.8|
In 1931, Bela Lugosi starred in Universal's Dracula and Boris Karloff in Frankenstein. Actors Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan, who played major supporting roles in both films, made several film appearances in this decade. Make-up artist Jack Pierce created several monsters' make-up starting in the 1930s.
The Mummy, starring Karloff, was produced in 1932. This was followed by a trilogy of films based on the tales of Edgar Allan Poe: Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) starring Lugosi, The Black Cat (1934), and The Raven (1935), the latter two of which teamed Lugosi with Karloff. Universal began releasing sequels including Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Dracula's Daughter (1936) and sequels for The Invisible Man (1933). The first mainstream werewolf picture, Werewolf of London (1935) starring Henry Hull, was not a box office triumph despite being revered by audiences today.
The end of Universal’s first run of horror films came in 1936. The monster movies were dropped from the production schedule altogether and would not re-emerge for another three years. In the meantime, a theatre owner revived Dracula and Frankenstein as a resoundingly successful double feature, prompting the studio to re-release the original movies. Son of Frankenstein (1939), starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi, was filmed as a result of the unexpected resurgence.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Cast||RT||IMDb|
|The Cat Creeps
|November 10, 1930||Rupert Julian||Helen Twelvetrees, Raymond Hackett, Neil Hamilton, Elizabeth Patterson||N/A||7.0|
|La Voluntad del muerto
|1930||George Melford and Enrique Tovar Ávalos||Antonio Moreno, Lupita Tovar, Andrés de Segurola, Roberto E. Guzmán, Paul Ellis, Lucio Villegas, Agostino Borgato, Conchita Ballesteros, María Calvo, Soledad Jiménez||N/A||N/A|
|February 12, 1931||Tod Browning||Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan||91%||7.6|
|April 24, 1931||George Melford||Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton, Pablo Álvarez Rubio, Eduardo Arozamena||N/A||7.2|
|Frankenstein||November 21, 1931||James Whale||Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr||100%||7.9|
|Murders in the Rue Morgue||February 21, 1932||Robert Florey||Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames, Bert Roach, Brandon Hurst, Noble Johnson, D'Arcy Corrigan||83%||6.4|
|The Old Dark House||October 20, 1932||James Whale||Boris Karloff, Melvin Douglas, Gloria Stuart, Charles Laughton, Lilian Bond, Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore, Raymond Massey, Brember Wills, John Dudgeon||100%||7.3|
|The Mummy||December 22, 1932||Karl Freund||Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan, Arthur Byron||93%||7.2|
|Secret of the Blue Room||July 20, 1933||Kurt Neumann||Lionel Atwill, Gloria Stuart, Paul Lukas, Edward Arnold||6.6|
|The Invisible Man||November 13, 1933||James Whale||Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains, William Harrigan, Dudley Digges, Una O'Connor, Henry Travers, Forrester Harvey||100%||7.7|
|The Black Cat||May 18, 1934||Edgar G. Ulmer||Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Jacqueline Wells, Lucille Lund, Egon Brecher, Harry Cording, Henry Armetta, Albert Conti||87%||7.2|
|The Mystery of Edwin Drood||February 4, 1935||Stuart Walker||Douglass Montgomery, Claude Rains, Heather Angel, David Manners, Francis L. Sullivan, Valerie Hobson||N/A||6.7|
|Bride of Frankenstein||April 22, 1935||James Whale||Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor, Ernest Thesiger, E. E. Clive||100%||7.9|
|Werewolf of London||May 13, 1935||Stuart Walker||Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Lester Matthews, Spring Byington, Clark Williams, Lawrence Grant||77%||6.5|
|The Raven||July 8, 1935||Lew Landers||Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Irene Ware, Lester Matthews, Inez Courtney||100%||7.1|
|The Invisible Ray||January 20, 1936||Lambert Hillyer||Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton||80%||6.6|
|Dracula's Daughter||May 11, 1936||Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan, Irving Pichel, Nan Grey||46%||6.4|
|Night Key||April 18, 1937||Lloyd Corrigan||Boris Karloff, J. Warren Hull, Jean Rogers, Alan Baxter, Hobart Cavanaugh, Samuel Hinds, David Oliver, Ward Bond, Frank Reicher, Edwin Maxwell||N/A||6.3|
|The Phantom Creeps
|January 7, 1939||Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind||Bela Lugosi, Robert Kent, Dorothy Arnold, Regis Toomey, Edward Van Sloan||N/A||4.6|
|Son of Frankenstein||January 13, 1939||Rowland V. Lee||Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Josephine Hutchinson, Donnie Dunagan||89%||7.2|
|Tower of London||November 17, 1939||Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, Ian Hunter, Vincent Price, Nan Grey, John Sutton, Leo G. Carroll, Miles Mander, Lionel Belmore, Rose Hobart||N/A||6.7|
During the 1940s, Universal released The Wolf Man (1941), with Lon Chaney Jr. The junior Chaney became the studio's leading monster movie actor in the 1940s, just as his father had been two decades earlier, supplanting the 1930s' Karloff and Lugosi by a wide margin in terms of the number of leading roles that he played. Chaney Jr. physically resembled his father apart from usually being somewhat overweight, which the senior Chaney never was. The studio dropped the "Jr." from the junior Chaney's billing almost immediately to confuse some in the audiences into assuming that this was the same actor.
The Frankenstein and Wolf Man series continued with The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), in which Chaney Jr. played Frankenstein's monster and Lugosi reprised his role as Ygor, and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) with Lugosi as the Frankenstein monster and Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man. Son of Dracula (1943) featured Chaney Jr. in Lugosi's original role as the Count. The Mummy series was also continued with The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Mummy's Tomb (1942), The Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse (both 1944) with Chaney Jr. as the Mummy in the last three films. House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945) featured many of the monsters from the studio's previous films. As the decade drew to a close, the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) features Lugosi in only his second film as Count Dracula, alongside Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot (the Wolf Man), and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Cast||RT||IMDb|
|The Invisible Man Returns||January 12, 1940||Joe May||Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Nan Grey, John Sutton, Cecil Kellaway||80%||6.5|
|Black Friday||April 12, 1940||Arthur Lubin||Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Stanley Ridges, Anne Nagel, Anne Gwynne, James Craig||N/A||6.3|
|The Mummy's Hand||September 20, 1940||Christy Cabanne||Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Wallace Ford, Cecil Kellaway, Eduardo Ciannelli, George Zucco, Tom Tyler||67%||6.1|
|The Invisible Woman||December 27, 1940||A. Edward Sutherland||Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore, John Howard, Charlie Ruggles, Oscar Homolka||N/A||6.1|
|Man Made Monster||March 28, 1941||George Waggner||Lionel Atwill, Anne Nagel, Frank Albertson, Samuel S. Hinds, Lon Chaney Jr.||N/A||6.3|
|Horror Island||March 28, 1941||Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo, Peggy Moran, Fuzzy Knight, Lewis Howard, Walter Catlett||N/A||6.0|
|The Black Cat||May 2, 1941||Albert S. Rogell||Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Brod Crawford, Bela Lugosi, Gale Sondergaard, Anne Gwynne, Gladys Cooper, Cecelia Loftus, Claire Dodd||N/A||6.3|
|The Wolf Man||December 12, 1941||George Waggner||Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr.||94%||7.4|
|The Mad Doctor of Market Street||February 27, 1942||Joseph H. Lewis||Lionel Atwill, Una Merkel, Nat Pendleton, Claire Dodd, Richard Davies, Anne Nagel, Hardie Albright||N/A||5.2|
|The Ghost of Frankenstein||March 13, 1942||Erle C. Kenton||Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr.||75%||6.1|
|The Strange Case of Doctor Rx||April 17, 1942||William Nigh||Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill, Anne Gwynne, Mona Barrie, Paul Cavanagh, Samuel S. Hinds||N/A||5.2|
|The Mystery of Marie Roget||April 23, 1942||Phil Rosen||Maria Montez, Patric Knowles, Maria Ouspenskaya, John Litel, Edward Norris, Lloyd Corrigan||N/A||6.0|
|Invisible Agent||July 31, 1942||Edwin L. Marin||Ilona Massey, Jon Hall, Peter Lorre, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, J. Edward Bromberg, John Litel, Albert Bassermann||N/A||6.1|
|Night Monster||October 20, 1942||Ford Beebe||Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Leif Erickson, Irene Hervey, Ralph Morgan, Don Porter, Nils Asther, Frank Reicher||N/A||6.4|
|The Mummy's Tomb||October 23, 1942||Harold Young||Lon Chaney Jr., Dick Foran, John Hubbard, Elyse Knox, George Zucco, Wallace Ford, Turhan Bey||29%||5.7|
|Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man||March 5, 1943||Roy William Neill||Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lon Chaney Jr.||25%||6.6|
|Captive Wild Woman||June 4, 1943||Edward Dmytryk||Evelyn Ankers, John Carradine, Milburn Stone, Lloyd Corrigan, Martha MacVicar, Vince Barnett, Acquanetta||40%||5.7|
|Phantom of the Opera||August 27, 1943||Arthur Lubin||Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster, Claude Rains, Edgar Barrier, Leo Carrillo, Jane Farrar, J. Edward Bromberg, Fritz Feld, Hume Cronyn||74%||6.5|
|Son of Dracula||November 5, 1943||Robert Siodmak||Louise Allbritton, Robert Paige, Evelyn Ankers, Frank Craven, J. Edward Bromberg, Samuel S. Hinds, Lon Chaney Jr.||60%||6.2|
|The Mad Ghoul||November 12, 1943||James P. Hogan||Turhan Bey, Evelyn Ankers, David Bruce, George Zucco, Robert Armstrong, Milburn Stone||N/A||5.8|
|Calling Dr. Death||December 17, 1943||Reginald Le Borg||Lon Chaney Jr., Patricia Morison, J. Carrol Naish, Ramsay Ames, David Bruce||N/A||6.1|
|Weird Woman||March 1, 1944||Lon Chaney Jr., Anne Gwynne, Evelyn Ankers, Lois Collier, Ralph Morgan, Elisabeth Risdon, Elizabeth Russell||N/A||6.5|
|Jungle Woman||June 1, 1944||Reginald Le Borg||Evelyn Ankers, J. Carrol Naish, Lois Collier, Milburn Stone, Douglass Dumbrille, Acquanetta||N/A||5.3|
|The Invisible Man's Revenge||June 9, 1944||Ford Beebe||Jon Hall, Leon Errol, John Carradine, Alan Curtis, Evelyn Ankers, Gale Sondergaard||N/A||5.8|
|The Mummy's Ghost||July 7, 1944||Reginald Le Borg||Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Ramsay Ames, Barton MacLane, George Zucco, Robert Lowery||33%||5.8|
|The Climax||October 20, 1944||George Waggner||Susanna Foster, Turhan Bey, Boris Karloff, Gale Sondergaard, June Vincent, Thomas Gomez, George Dolenz, Jane Farrar, Ludwig Stössel||N/A||5.4|
|Dead Man's Eyes||November 10, 1944||Reginald Le Borg||Lon Chaney Jr., Jean Parker, Paul Kelly, Thomas Gomez, Jonathan Hale, George Meeker, Acquanetta||N/A||6.1|
|House of Frankenstein||December 1, 1944||Erle C. Kenton||Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, J. Carrol Naish, Anne Gwynne, Peter Coe, Elena Verdugo, Lionel Atwill||55%||6.3|
|The Mummy's Curse||December 22, 1944||Leslie Goodwins||Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Coe, Kay Harding, Martin Kosleck, Virginia Christine, Kurt Katch||44%||5.6|
|The Frozen Ghost||June 1, 1945||Harold Young||Lon Chaney Jr., Evelyn Ankers, Elena Verdugo, Tala Birell, Martin Kosleck, Douglass Dumbrille, Milburn Stone||N/A||5.9|
|The Jungle Captive||June 29, 1945||Otto Kruger, Amelita Ward, Phil Brown, Jerome Cowan, Vicky Lane, Rondo Hatton||N/A||5.5|
|Strange Confession||October 5, 1945||John Hoffman||Lon Chaney Jr., Brenda Joyce, J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Bridges, Milburn Stone, Addison Richards||N/A||6.9|
|House of Dracula||December 7, 1945||Erle C. Kenton||Lon Chaney Jr., Martha O'Driscoll, John Carradine, Lionel Atwill, Onslow Stevens, Glenn Strange, Jane Adams, Ludwig Stössel||50%||5.8|
|Pillow of Death||December 14, 1945||Wallace Fox||Lon Chaney Jr., Brenda Joyce, J. Edward Bromberg, Rosalind Ivan, Clara Blandick||N/A||6.1|
|The Spider Woman Strikes Back||March 22, 1946||Arthur Lubin||Gale Sondergaard, Kirby Grant, Brenda Joyce, Milburn Stone, Rondo Hatton||N/A||6.5|
|House of Horrors||March 29, 1946||Jean Yarbrough||Bill Goodwin, Robert Lowery, Virginia Grey, Martin Kosleck, Alan Napier, Joan Fulton, Rondo Hatton||N/A||6.3|
|She-Wolf of London||May 17, 1946||June Lockhart, Don Porter, Sara Haden, Eily Malon||17%||5.2|
|The Cat Creeps||May 17, 1946||Erle C. Kenton||Lois Collier, Fred Brady, Paul Kelly, Noah Beery Jr., Douglass Dumbrille, Rose Hobart||N/A||5.5|
|The Brute Man||October 1, 1946||Jean Yarbrough||Tom Neal, Jane Adams, Jan Wiley, Peter Whitney, Donald MacBride, Rondo Hatton||N/A||3.8|
|Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein||June 15, 1948||Charles Barton||Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolph||88%||7.6|
|Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff||August 22, 1949||Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff||N/A||7.1|
Abbott and Costello appeared in films featuring characters such as the Mummy and the Invisible Man.
Creature from the Black Lagoon, directed by Jack Arnold, was released in 1954. Dracula and Frankenstein were re-released as double features in theatres, and were later broadcast in syndication on American television in 1957 as part of the Shock Theater package of Universal Monster Movies. Magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland covered the monster films. Universal spent the last half of the decade issuing a number of one-shot monster films.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Cast||RT||IMDb|
|Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man||March 19, 1951||Charles Lamont||Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Nancy Guild, Adele Jergens, Arthur Franz, William Frawley, Sheldon Leonard||78%||7.0|
|The Strange Door||December 8, 1951||Joseph Pevney||Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Sally Forrest, Richard Stapley||N/A||6.3|
|The Black Castle||December 25, 1952||Nathan H. Juran||Richard Greene, Boris Karloff, Stephen McNally, Rita Corday, Lon Chaney Jr., John Hoyt, Michael Pate, Nancy Valentine||N/A||6.4|
|It Came from Outer Space||May 25, 1953||Jack Arnold||Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Russell Johnson, Kathleen Hughes, Joe Sawyer||81%||6.6|
|Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde||August 10, 1953||Charles Lamont||Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, Helen Westcott, Craig Stevens, Reginald Denny||71%||6.7|
|Creature from the Black Lagoon||February 12, 1954||Jack Arnold||Richard Carlson and Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, Nestor Paiva, Whit Bissell||84%||7.0|
|Revenge of the Creature||March 23, 1955||John Agar, Lori Nelson, John Bromfield, Nestor Paiva||25%||5.5|
|Cult of the Cobra||May 30, 1955||Francis D. Lyon||Faith Domergue, Richard Long, Marshall Thompson, Kathleen Hughes, William Reynolds, Jack Kelly, Myrna Hansen, David Janssen||N/A||5.8|
|This Island Earth||June 1, 1955||Joseph M. Newman and Jack Arnold||Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason, Lance Fuller, Russell Johnson||71%||5.8|
|Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy||June 23, 1955||Charles Lamont||Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor, Michael Ansara, Peggy King||27%||6.5|
|Tarantula||December 14, 1955||Jack Arnold||John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Ross Elliott||92%||6.5|
|The Creature Walks Among Us||April 26, 1956||John Sherwood||Jeff Morrow, Rex Reason, Leigh Snowden, Gregg Palmer, Maurice Manson||43%||5.8|
|Curucu, Beast of the Amazon||December 1956||Curt Siodmak||John Bromfield , Beverly Garland, Larri Thomas, Tom Payne, Harvey Chalk||N/A||3.9|
|The Mole People||December 1956||Virgil W. Vogel||John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Nestor Paiva, Alan Napier||N/A||4.7|
|The Incredible Shrinking Man||February 22, 1957||Jack Arnold||Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey||89%||7.7|
|The Deadly Mantis||May 26, 1957||Nathan H. Juran||Craig Stevens, Alix Talton, William Hopper, Florenz Ames, Donald Randolph||38%||4.7|
|The Land Unknown||October 30, 1957||Virgil W. Vogel||Jock Mahoney, Shawn Smith, William Reynolds, Henry Brandon, Phil Harvey, Douglas Kennedy||N/A||5.8|
|The Monolith Monsters||December 18, 1957||John Sherwood||Grant Williams, Lola Albright, Les Tremayne, Phil Harvey, Trevor Bardette||N/A||6.5|
|The Thing That Couldn't Die||June 27, 1958||Will Cowan||William Reynolds, Andra Martin, Carolyn Kearney, Jeffrey Stone||N/A||3.4|
|Monster on the Campus||December 17, 1958||Jack Arnold||Arthur Franz, Joanna Moore, Judson Pratt, Nancy Walters, Troy Donohue, The Beast||N/A||5.8|
|Curse of the Undead||May 1959||Edward Dein||Eric Fleming, Kathleen Crowley, Michael Pate, John Hoyt, Bruce Gordon||N/A||5.9|
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Cast||RT||IMDb|
|The Leech Woman||May 1960||Edward Dein||Coleen Gray, Grant Williams, Gloria Talbott, Phillip Terry||N/A||4.3|
- This table only includes characters which have appeared in multiple films.
- A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
- A G Cedric Hardwicke played the son of Henry Frankenstein, he also played the ghost of Henry Frankenstein.
- A P indicates the character was mentioned and shown in a photograph.
- A U indicates a uncred role.
- A V indicates a voice-only role.
|Dracula||Frankenstein||The Invisible Man||Bride of Frankenstein||Dracula's Daughter||Son of Frankenstein||The Invisible Man Returns||The Wolf Man||The Ghost of Frankenstein||Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man||Son of Dracula||House of Frankenstein||House of Dracula||Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein||Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man|
|The Frankenstein Monster||Boris Karloff||Boris Karloff||Boris Karloff||Lon Chaney, Jr.||Bela Lugosi||Glenn Strange|
|Count Dracula||Bela Lugosi||Lon Chaney, Jr.||John Carradine||Bela Lugosi|
|The Wolf Man
|Lon Chaney, Jr.||Lon Chaney, Jr.||Lon Chaney, Jr.|
|Van Helsing||Edward Van Sloan||Edward Van Sloan|
|Henry Frankenstein||Colin Clive||Colin Clive||Cedric HardwickeG|
|The Invisible Man
|Claude Rains||Claude RainsP||Claude RainsP|
|Elizabeth||Mae Clarke||Valerie Hobson|
|Ygor||Bela Lugosi||Bela Lugosi|
|The Invisible Man
|Vincent Price||Vincent PriceUV|
|Maleva||Maria Ouspenskaya||Maria Ouspenskaya|
|Elsa Frankenstein||Evelyn Ankers||Ilona Massey|
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Main cast||RT||IMDb|
|Dracula||July 13, 1979||John Badham||Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier||64%||6.5|
|The Mummy||May 7, 1999||Stephen Sommers||Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and Arnold Vosloo||57%||7.0|
|The Mummy Returns||May 4, 2001||Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo and Dwayne Johnson||47%||6.3|
|The Scorpion King||April 19, 2002||Chuck Russell||Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli, Steven Brand, and Michael Clarke Duncan||41%||5.5|
|Van Helsing||May 7, 2004||Stephen Sommers||Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley and Will Kemp||23%||6.1|
|The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor||August 1, 2008||Rob Cohen||Brendan Fraser, Maria Bello and Jet Li||12%||5.2|
|The Wolfman||February 12, 2010||Joe Johnston||Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving||34%||5.8|
|Dracula Untold||October 10, 2014||Gary Shore||Luke Evans||25%||6.3|
|The Mummy||June 9, 2017||Alex Kurtzman||Tom Cruise||15%||5.5|
Dark Universe is the term given by Universal Pictures to their planned cinematic universe, which will be based on the classic Universal Monsters film series. The studio's first attempt at this universe was with the film Dracula Untold. Released on October 10, 2014 with Luke Evans in the titular role, the film was developed prior to plans for a shared universe of horror films. However, it was retooled to be a part of the franchise. The film's mixed financial and critical reception resulted in the film's future status within the franchise becoming uncertain. Since the release of Dracula Untold, the connections to the shared universe have been downplayed. Universal, which had announced plans to reboot The Mummy franchise in 2012, decided to re-position the new installment as the first film in the series. The Mummy was set to be released in 2017 with Alex Kurtzman as director. Also, Kurtzman and Chris Morgan were announced as headlining the Dark Universe, with collaborations from David Koepp and Christopher McQuarrie.
Along with the crew, Universal announced the casting of Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde, Javier Bardem as the Frankenstein Monster, and Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man. They would join Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella, as Nick Morton and Princess Ahmanet / The Mummy. Bill Condon was announced as the director of the franchise's Bride of Frankenstein, originally set to be released on February 14, 2019. Even though various sources claimed that Evans' character might have at least a cameo in The Mummy or any of the upcoming films in the universe, Kurtzman denied these claims, stating that he considered the film to not be a part of the Dark Universe. Additional rebooted versions of their characters were announced to have films in development as well including: the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Phantom of the Opera, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The shared film universe's official theme music was composed by Danny Elfman.
On June 9, 2017, The Mummy was released. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, and performed below the studio's expectations at the box office. By November, The Bride of Frankenstein was pulled from its initial release, and lead producers/co-architects of the Dark Universe, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, left Universal and departed from the franchise. Universal has put a hold on future projects while they create a plan for future releases. Universal Studios released an official statement reading:
After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein. None of us want[s] to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.
By January 2018, development on the film progressed with Condon hiring a production team consisting of cinematographer Tobias A. Schliessler, production designer Sarah Greenwood, composer Carter Burwell, and costume designer Jacqueline Durran. In May of the same year, artist Robert Vargas announced from his social media account that he had attended a meeting with the studio and will collaborate on the Dark Universe films moving forward. Successful horror film producer Jason Blum has publicly expressed his interest in working on the Dark Universe franchise.
The 'Shock!' package was sold in 142 markets. As a result, stations across the country aired a late-night Shock Theatre series to showcase these pictures.
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