If you love the old Universal monsters this is the set to have. It includes all the movies and the follow up films. Including the Spanish version of Dracula who many say is better then the US version. And a good documentry. The 3 Busts of the Wolfman, Dracula and Franky are just a joy to own. There is a Blue Ray sey out now, but it doesnt include all the films and there are no busts. So for me this is the set to own.
This box set is excellent value for fans of the Golden Age of Hollywood horror. It includes all of the classic Universal Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf Man flicks from the 30s and 40s plus welcome extras in the shape of WereWolf of London, The Mummy and The Invisible Man (as well as less fitting items, of which more later). On top of that there's the the fascinating Spanish language version of Dracula (filmed simultaneously with the Lugosi version), the interesting Kevin Brownlow documentary Universal Horror, and other documentaries and commentaries on each of the monster traditions.
However, I do have quibbles. Why, for example, include the Claude Rains version of Phantom of the Opera, the B-movie She Wolf of London and Creature From the Black Lagoon here? These are all out of place in the context of the rest of the material in the box. The 1943 version of Phantom was never really part of the Universal horror world, more a glossy melodrama, with too much emphasis on the musical element (Nelson Eddy after all gets top billing).
She-Wolf of London is a long forgotten low budget B movie, just included to make up the numbers in the Wolfman set. For a start it doesn't have a werewolf in it (the plot is the hoary drive-the-heroine-mad scenario) and is obviously a second rank filler, clocking in at just under 60 minutes. I had to search high and low to find any reference to it anywhere, eventually stumbling on a Kim Newman article on director Jean Yarb(o)rough while looking for something completely different in an old edition of Shock Express. Of course, I have no objection to it being released on DVD but it's a waste of space here; why not on a Universal B-movie collection.
And Creature from the Black Lagoon dates from a different era, part of the 50s Sci-fi/horror wave; again put it on a box set with Incredible Shrinking Man, It Came From Outer Space et al.
With these anomalies removed, this set could then have included Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Old Dark House, The Black Cat, The Raven and The Invisible Ray, titles more in keeping with the spirit of the rest of the box. Hell, why not chuck in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein too. Unfortunately whoever put this collection together seems to have got too hung up on the `monster' aspect and allowed that to sway their decisions of what to include (which in the case of She Wolf is a cheat anyway). Why not just call it The Universal Horror collection and thus broaden the remit? As is often the case, it is frustrating to have such a potentially definitive collection botched, apparently in this instance by the short sighted dictates of the marketing department. Check out the blurb where it says that these "thrilling classics not only established a major movie genre but also inspired the 2004 epic adventure film event Van Helsing". There is revealed the real motivation for the set's contents, i.e. to sell it to the ADD Van Helsing audience. Why not consider who will be more likely to buy a set like this: the baby boomers who remember BBC2's Saturday night horror double bills of the late 1970s/early 1980s, people who will be clued up about the contents of just such a box set.
Still, despite these reservations, and I know I've spent more space complaining about it than praising it, if you are in any way interested in the early years of horror cinema I would still recommend The Monster Legacy as a purchase. It's the easiest way to gather up all the Universal Dracula/Frankenstein/Wolf Man movies and it's no hardship to have the additional movies too. Also I haven't mentioned the 3 exclusive polystone busts of Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and the the Wolf Man that come with it. They are pretty chunky, and hence useful for bashing the heads of idiot box set compilers should you ever encounter one.