Chris Hicks: Truth in advertising: Universal's 'Classic Monsters' really are classics

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

“The Wolf Man” marked Lon Chaney Jr.’s entrance into the horror world with his sympathetic portrayal of a poor sap bitten by a werewolf and thereby cursed to turn into a ravaging animal with every full moon, and Rains is equally fine as his tragically disbelieving father.

Although a bit too much time is given to the operatic performances of Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster in “Phantom of the Opera,” the disfigured composer is wonderfully played here by Rains. And the vivid Technicolor transfer of the only color movie in this set is quite stunning.

Still — and this is the exception I referred to above regarding the box art — it must be said that the 1925 silent Lon Chaney “Phantom of the Opera” will forever be the definitive version and should have been considered for this set.

Finally, there’s the “Gill-Man” of “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” played by two obscure actors — one on land and another underwater — as the character pursues Julie Adams. In 3-D when it was initially released, this is arguably the campiest choice in this set but the film is still enjoyable, and I must confess it takes me back to the first time I saw it, when I wore those silly plastic glasses and the creature leaped out at me from the big screen. An extra point here for nostalgia.

If you’re looking to run a Halloween movie marathon this weekend, you can’t do better than these. Still fantastic chills and thrills after all these years.

EMAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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