Halloween is almost upon us, and what better time to reacquaint yourselves with the classics or watch them for the first time! The Universal Monsters have stood the test of time for a reason, each is a classic in its own right, and while this post is by no means an exhaustive list, it does have links for eight of the essential films in the canon.
Bela Lugosi in the role that would –for better or for worse– define his career. Not the first adaptation of Bram Stoker’s work, but for decades that followed, it was (and is) one of the most defining ones.
While it diverges from the original work a little, there’s no denying that this version of the Frankenstein story is iconic.
The Mummy (1932)
True story: I have never actually seen this one, but that’s something that I will be fixing this year!
The Invisible Man (1933)
My favourite of the original Universal Monsters, I adore The Invisible Man, thanks mainly to Claude Rains central performance being entirely on point and delightfully over the top as required. Plus, the effects are pretty great for 1933, too.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Bride of Frankenstein is a very early example of a sequel that is better than the original. A pure cinematic experience and a delight from start to finish.
The Wolf Man (1941)
Another excellent display of effects, another excellent appearance by Claude Rains, and another movie that is both scary and a little heartbreaking, The Wolf Man might be the entry on this list I want to revisit the most. And you should too!
The Phantom of the Opera (1943)
There are two types of people in the world, those who like The Phantom of the Opera (any of its versions) and those who don’t. This early version isn’t my favourite, but it’s a fun version of the story.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1945)
The favourite of many, this movie is (for the 1940s) sensual and weird and frightening and heartbreaking all at once—a pure piece of cinema and worth revisiting no matter what time of year.