Universal Horror Classic Movie Archive

 

The Black Cat (1941)     Man Made Monster (1941)

Horror Island (1941)     

Night Monster  (1942)      Captive Wild Woman  (1943)

 

On the back of the box: From the studio that created the horror genre comes five terrifying films that will send chills down your spine and bring terror to your heart in the "Universal Horror Classic Movie Archive"! Unearthed from the vaults and on DVD for the first time, Universal invites you to journey through fog-filled moors, into haunted mansions and through secret hallways to meet a chilling collection of mad scientists, crazed circus performers, an ape woman and maniacal killers! Prepare yourself for hours of pure terror starring some of the most iconic actors in the history of horror, including Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi! Includes the films THE BLACK CAT (1941), MAN MADE MONSTER (1941), HORROR ISLAND (1941), NIGHT MONSTER (1942), and CAPTIVE WILD WOMEN (1943).

 

Titles

 

 

 

The Black Cat (1941)    

Directed by: Albert S. Rogell

Release date: May 2nd, 1941

Comments: Undistinguished comedy-chiller involving the familiar routine of old dark house, reading of a will, assorted murders. Nothing to do with Poe's story except for some business involving cats, it's worth watching mainly for the admirable Stanley Cortez camerawork. Alan Ladd has a small role as Rathbone's son.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Man Made Monster (1941)

Directed by: George Waggner

Release date: March 28th, 1941

Comments: While Man-Made Monster is not one of the all-time great horror films like many of its thirties and forties Universal Pictures celluloid brethren, it is not without certain merits; in particular, it can be viewed historically as the proving ground for one of Universal's undisputed classics, The Wolf Man. Both filmed in 1941, Man-Made Monster first teamed many of the people who would later collaborate on The Wolf Man. Star Lon Chaney Jr., and director George Waggner are well known to have gone on to make the furry opus, but many of the other talents that reunited for the Wolf Man included some of Universal's stable of technicians and artists like special effects wizard John P. Fulton (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Ten Commandments), makeup magician Jack Pierce (Frankenstein, The Mummy), musical director Hans Salter (The Mummy's Hand, Ghost of Frankenstein) and costumer Vera West (The Man Who Laughs, Son of Frankenstein).

Excerpt from Jason Jones review at Classic Horror located HERE

Horror Island (1941)     

Directed by: George Waggner

Release date: March 28th, 1941

Comments: A small-time entrepreneur takes advantage of a fake treasure map he has acquired to stage a treasure-making scheme to an island with an old castle that he has rigged up to be haunted. However, he finds himself being stalked by a killer known as "The Phantom," and the treasure-seekers find themselves being knocked off one by one.

Excerpt from Dave Sindelar review at Sc-fi.org located HERE

Night Monster  (1942)     

Directed by: Ford Beebe

Release date: October 20th, 1942

Comments: ...as for the movie itself, it's a minor Universal horror film, to be sure, but it's probably my favorite of their lesser ones. There's very little padding or wasted space, and it has the courage of its convictions in that it isn't simply a mystery disguised as a horror film (which one might suspect, given the fact that the movie is sort of a variation of the "Old Dark House" type of movie). The first time I saw this movie was in unusual circumstances; my local Creature Feature had mixed the final reels of this movie with the opening reels of THE MUMMY'S HAND, and I found myself suddenly thrown into another plot halfway through the movie. Nevertheless, at least one scene remained stuck indelibly in my memory; this is the scene where we learn the truth about the paralysis suffered by the patriarch of the house. Also, the clever use of sound is memorable; the croaking frogs in the vicinity become quiet whenever the murderer is around. The movie uses this devise sparingly, but very effectively. This was one movie I hadn't seen in years until I saw it for this series of movies. It was nice to see how well it held up.

Excerpt from Dave Sindelar review at Sci-fi.org located HERE

Captive Wild Woman  (1943)

Directed by: Edward Dmytryk

Release date: June 4th, 1943

Comments: A 61-minute Universal programmer from 1943, directed by Edward Dmytryk, in which John Carradine turns an orangutan into a beautiful woman (Acquanetta) who goes nuts because of unrequited love and kills a lot of men. This was popular enough to spawn two sequels, Jungle Woman and Jungle Captive.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at The Chicago Reader located HERE

 

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1941 - 1943

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for his assistance!

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Although available at 'Best Buy' brick and mortar stores - some individuals have it for sale at Amazon Marketplace above.

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:10:12 + 59:44 + 1:00:30 + 1:12:03 + 1:00:30 
Video Original Aspect Ratios 1.33:1
Average Bitrate: 6.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:  Disc 1
The Black Cat / Man Made Monster / Horror Island

Bitrate: Disc 2
Night Monster / Captive Wild Woman

Audio English (2.0 mono) 
Subtitles English (Hoh), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratios 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailers for 3 of the 5 features
 

DVD Release Date: October 2007
2 - tired Digipack (see image above)

Chapters: various

 

 

Comments:

Like the immensely popular and out-of-print The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Volume 1 (Reviewed HERE) followed by last month's The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Volume 2  (Reviewed HERE this Universal Horror Classic Movie Archive is being sold 'exclusively' at Best Buy although all three are also available at Amazon now via third parties.

The 5 films are spread over 2 dual-layered - single-sided discs. They are encoded in the NTSC standard for region 1. All are progressively transferred and  three of the five have trailers. Each have original English audio and optional English, or French subtitles.

They look fairly consistent with the quasi-comedy of the package - typical 'dark house' variety - The Black Cat  is probably the weakest in terms of image (of the five) with some heavy digital noise that pleasantly resembles grain (but watch for Alan Ladd!). The rest are a notch superior with surprisingly moments of clarity and excellent contrast.  Considering the age of the films (and sharing discs) this would be considered quite acceptable. Audio as well was consistent and I noted no heavy instances of pops or dropouts that would impinge upon viewing.

No extras save the theatrical trailers for three of the five which remain enjoyable in their own right.

I always thrill these type of boxsets - simple, short horrors filled with nostalgia and at a reasonable price. I wouldn't say any of the five are stupendous, but it was interesting to see Night Monster and Horror Island as well as Dmytryk's effort with Captive Wild Woman (albeit a silly film). I'm probably the worst person to ask about these films as I can't see how everyone wouldn't want them - they are fun and I love the period they were made. Price is right and if you have any interest I can vouch that you will enjoy - hopefully as much as I.
 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus (Samples)


 


Screen Captures

 

Black Cat

 

 

 

 


 

Man Made Monster

 

 


Horror Island

 

 

 

 


Night Monster
 

 

 


Captive Wild Woman
 

 



DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Although available at 'Best Buy' brick and mortar stores - some individuals have it for sale at Amazon Marketplace above.

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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