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Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946

Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946 [Kindle Edition]

Tom Weaver , Michael Brunas , John Brunas
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Revised and updated since its first publication in 1990, this acclaimed critical survey covers the classic chillers produced by Universal Studios during the golden age of hollywood horror, 1931 through 1946. Trekking boldly through haunts and horrors from The Frankenstein Monster, The Wolf Man, Count Dracula, and The Invisible Man, to The Mummy, Paula the Ape Woman, The Creeper, and The Inner Sanctum, the authors offer a definitive study of the 86 films produced during this era and present a general overview of the period. Coverage of the films includes complete cast lists, credits, storyline, behind-the-scenes information, production history, critical analysis, and commentary from the cast and crew (much of it drawn from interviews by Tom Weaver, whom USA Today calls "the king of the monster hunters"). Unique to this edition are a new selection of photographs and poster reproductions and an appendix listing additional films of interest.


A study of the 85 films produced during Hollywood's golden age. For each film, complete cast lists, credits, storyline, behind-the-scenes information, production history, commentary from the cast and crew, and in-depth critical analysis are included. Illustrated with publicity, off-camera, and gag shots. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portlan

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 23281 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland; 2nd edition (15 Feb 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006IX7F5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive? Oh Yes! 2 Sep 2008
Format:Library Binding
When looking for any book that gives a well rounded, concise and informative summation of it's subject, then normally you end up with a short selection, that tend to cater for perhaps only a specific part and sadly don't manage to cover the whole spectrum, you'll then reach for the one that best fits the bill when you need to reference anything,

So how refreshing is it to find a book that simply covers the lot, if you're in any way interested in the Horror movies produced by Universal then you must have this book,

Naturally there are quite a few books on the subject of the Universal Horror output but for the very reasons that opened this review they simply aren't comprehensive enough and you'll find yourself looking for others to fit the bill, that is never going to be required here, every movie of note is covered in depth by authors who truly "know their stuff" I noted myself as a fair hand when it came to these movies but I was stunned at the amount of unknown information that these gents have managed to unearth, an additional bonus that though this book is certainly scholarly within it's genre, it's isn't a stuffy read but is accessable to any level and genuinely intertaining as well as being informative,

As with many of this series and as normal for this Publisher, this isn't the cheapest book around and may perhaps be out of reach of some budgets, however, if you are a fan of these classics and are watching the pennies I would put a little aside for a time and then buy it, you won't be disappointed if you do,

I can't recommend it enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but flawed study 18 Oct 2011
By P.T.
The authors, especially Tom Weaver, are good writers with an excellent knowledge of film. Personally I abhor their openly acknowledged Browning bashing and, occasional, Lugosi lashings, but the deepest flaw with the book[ignoring the ridiculous cover price, of course]is that they include a whole host of films that are simply not Horror Films: all 12 of the Universal Sherlock Holmes series are included! This wastes the majority of the book's 580 odd pages of text on the films-far more of that text could have been devoted to the real Universal Horrors-good and bad.

I would thoroughly recommmend a libray rental.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I love all of Weavers stuff 11 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love all of Weavers stuff, he is one arguably the best writer working in the horror genre today, both in terms of his style and his in depth knowledge of the subject. With Universal Horrors, however, he is tackling a well trodden path and though he doesn't make the same mistake recent writers do with Hammer of going for increasing obscure ares,there isn't so much here that is new. It is very well written, well structured and informative- up to a point.

I'd recommend it for anyone with an interest in the subject and I'd also recommend the author's DVD commentaries. If you are already a student of the period and want something that pulls it all together it's a good buy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but expensive 17 Jan 2014
By De Mutt
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Firstly. Actual content ***** Cost ***
Loads of quality information about the classic Universal Monsters and I was very pleased to also see coverage of the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films. Downside being for an electronic book a bit pricy at pushing £14!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIBLE OF UNIVERSAL HORROR 6 July 2007
By Tim Janson - Published on
The classic horror films of the 30's and 40's have never been as popular as they are today. Baby Boomers who grew up watching the old Shock Theater packages in the 50's and 60's hold a tremendous fondness for the films that terrified them as children. The Boris Karloff Frankenstein and Bela Lugosi Dracula are still the most recognized images of those two classic much so that their families had to move to legally trademark their images to protect them.

The Universal horror films are the subject of Universal Horrors, the second edition of this outstanding book by noted classic film historian Tom Weaver and Michael & John Brunas. Throughout the massive 608 page hardcover, the authors cover each one of the 85 horror films made by Universal from 1931 - 1946. Just do the math...that's an average of about seven pages spent on each film during this period. This is no mere listing of actors with a one-page synopsis. Rather this is a definitive guide to these 85 films with complete cast and credits, detailed storyline synopses, production history, behind-the-scenes information, critical analysis, period reviews, and commentary by cast and crewmembers. Most of the comments come from the voluminous numbers of reviews that Weaver has conducted over the years.

The films are listed chronologically beginning with Dracula in 1931 and ending with The Brute Man in 1946. It even includes the Spanish version of Dracula which was filmed on the same set as the original at the very same time! White The Lugosi version was shot during the day, the Spanish crew took over at night. In many ways, the Spanish version outshines the Tod Browning directed original.

One of my guilty favorites of the Universal Classic film era is 1932's Murder in the Rue Morgue, presenting Lugosi in truly one of his most sadistic and macabre roles. This film ended up being the bone that both Lugosi and Director Robert Florey received for NOT getting their respective parts in Frankenstein, which instead went to Karloff and Director James Whale. This rather film features Lugosi as Dr. Mirakle, who injects the blood of an ape into women he captures. When the experiments fail, he dumps the women into a river. It's a highly underrated film and one of Lugosi's best roles.

Weaver and partners don't give a short shrift to lesser-known films. While the most popular films do get more coverage, even the least well-known of the Universal Horrors gets several pages devoted to it...and there are a number of lesser known films. Unfortunately a number of these are not on DVD or even VHS for that matter meaning that the entry in this book is probably the closest you'll get to the film without actually seeing it.

Many of these lesser-known films are not true horror but often murder mysteries with horror trappings such as "old dark house-style" films. These films include Secret of the Blue Room, Secret of the Chateau, The House of Fear, and The Black Doll. The appendix goes on to list several dozen more films that were borderline exclusions...close, but just not making the cut to receive a full write-up for various reasons. Actually it's somewhat difficult to figure out while some of these were left out of the main listing since many are quite similar in plot and tone.
This book is simply fabulous. Everything that Weaver does is always meticulously researched and extraordinarily entertaining. This is THE Bible to fans of Universal's classic horror films, and one of the finest film reference books I've ever read.

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable reference! 12 July 1999
By Stan Xhiao - Published on
Format:Library Binding
This book has it all for the serious student of classic horror films. Choose from a wide selection of bios, cast lists, plot summaries, anectdotes and more compiled by these mavens of the genre, Messrs. Brunas and Weaver. Thrill as they explore the nooks and crannies of the House That Universal Built. This comprehensive work is obviously the result of exhaustive hands-on research and deserves an honored spot in every true horror fan's library.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any fan of vintage horror films 29 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Library Binding
An amazing source of information for anyone who ever stayed up watching the late late show on a Saturday night. I am truly impressed at the thorough research that went into this book; many factoids which have escaped even the most die-hard of fans will be brought to light. I commend McFarland Press for providing fans of such an "un-hip" genre with consistently fine sources of in-depth information, especially keeping in mind that with each passing year the facts directly from those who were there are getting more and more difficult to find. This book probably does not hold a lot of interest for anyone who does not hold a special place in their heart for the studios' genre work prior to buying the book, and the authors do tend to often drift into becoming overly opinionated and putting much too much thought into subject matter that was never intended to be overanalyzed. Nonetheless, this is still an extremely fun read for any fan.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Guide to Universal Classic Horror Films 28 Sep 1998
By - Published on
Format:Library Binding
"Universal Horrors" is an excellent guide to the classic Universal Studios horror films. The authors are fans of these films, and their affection for the films makes this book fun to read. Besides facts and behind-the-scenes stories on each film, there is a great deal of humor thrown in, which makes this book all the more enjoyable. Highly recommended!!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Updating of a Great Book 25 Sep 2008
By Jean Valjean - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Universal Horrors, which was originally published in 1990, is an excellent reference book of every horror related films made by Universal from 1931 to 1946. That book was a real eye awakener for horror movie fans and had a huge impact on how film books would since be written.

The second edition of Universal Horrors, published 17 years after the first edition, is essentially an updating and rewriting of the earlier version. It has additional quotes from the performers and production folks. Also, there are many new pictures added to the book. It goes to show that what was perfect can still be improved upon!

This book is highly recommended for anyone with interest in the old horror films from Hollywood's golden years. Those who already have the 1990 version should really consider going for this new updated version.
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