Stiq Flicks – from film and video game industry freelance writer Kevin Kelly – examines video games and attempts to pair them with matching films. It's like wine and cheese, but with more aliens.
Resident Evil 6 infected numerous consoles this week, continuing the storyline of Capcom's flagship horror franchise. This time, the series brings you fresh terror in the form of C-Virus zombies, still bent on your demise. They are extremely persistent, and with any luck they'll eventually overrun the planet and kill humankind.
While the undead shamble through plenty of video games, we wonder where the rest of the monster squad is hiding out?
Since Resident Evil has the zombie angle covered, we're recommend the seriously impressive Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-ray set for this week's flick. Yes, it's a huge set, containing eight classic Universal monster movies, but this is definitely a must-have set for any cinephile or horror fan. There's enough material here to keep you entertained through the month of October.
Carl Laemmle worked quietly as an office manage and bookkeeper in Chicago for 20 years at the turn of the century, spending his spare time buying nickelodeons and eventually turning them into a small film distribution service. In 1915, he banded together with several other film company owners and together they established Universal Studios in California. In 1923, Laemmle and Irving Thalberg produced The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney Sr., kicking off the age of the Universal Monster Movies.
In 1928, Carl's son became the head of production at Universal, and the string of Universal's monster flicks continued. However, despite a string of monster-themed hits, including Dracula, Frankenstein, and many others, Laemmle and son were both forced out of Universal, as the company had been spending a ton of money on a string of big-budget flops.
Thankfully, the 1940s saw the revival of the monster movies, and Universal churned out a ton of horror sequels, and originals like The Wolf Man. The 1950s continued this trend, culminating with The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954, and it's two sequels Return of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us.
Hollywood has revisited most of these films through remakes over the years, but the black and white classics are still the best, and thankfully Universal has spent some series time putting this set together, restoring films, and gathering huge amount of extra material together. For instance, the Dracula disc includes the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, which was shot with a Spanish cast at the same time as the original.
That's just one of the features you can find throughout this set, which includes The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. And yes, this set includes the 3D version of The Creature from the Black Lagoon as well. There are audio commentaries from film historians on each disc, as well as tons of archival material and newly-produced featurettes.
There are more than 12 hours of extras in all, and the slipcased set includes a 48 page book full of photographs, correspondence, movie poster, and more. As a free bonus to everyone (not just people who purchase the set), horror aficionado Scott Essman has written an e-book entitled, "Universal Pictures: 100 Years of Classic Monsters" that fans of the classic horror genre will enjoy. You can download it for free right here.
Where You Can Watch Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection While this is a Blu-ray set, many of these titles are available to stream on many of the different video services for different prices. You can also pick them up on DVD on the cheap as well, usually for around $10 per movie. But if you want to get them in high definition, you'll need to get the entire Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-ray set. Which breaks down to about $14 per film at the current on-sale price of $111.99 at Amazon.
What's truly bizarre, however, is that if you order the UK edition of this set, which includes a nifty coffin case and collectible postcards featuring the original movie posters, it actually works out to around $70, including shipping! Now that's math for you. But whichever way you purchase this set, or even if you choose to watch each of these movies individually, you'll be treating yourself to why actors like Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester became the horror stars for decades to come. With any luck, these films will survive for another hundred years and continue to entertain.
Kevin Kelly is a writer and pop culture junkie with a fixation on video games, movies, and board games. His writing has been seen at io9, Film School Rejects, Machinima, TechRadar, Wizard World, and The Austin Chronicle. He lives in Los Angeles and does not know how to surf. Follow him on Twitter @kevinkelly.