Universal Horror 1930-1946 – Filmography

James / November 26th, 2012

This is my attempt at cataloguing all the Universal Studios horror films from their classic period (1930-1946). It’s debatable when exactly this period began and ended. It’s tempting to include Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) as the final one, but then I might as well include all the Abbott and Costello “Meet” movies from the 50′s, and at that point, I’d be deep into Universal’s science fiction period which would open up a whole new can of worms!

It’s also tough to decide which films to count within this period, because many of them are not “horror” and are closer to the mystery/ suspense genre. Some of them are difficult to classify at all. Also, Universal made 12 Sherlock Holmes films during this period. Some of them have elements of horror and others do not. I’m mostly using the book Universal Horrors by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas, and John Brunas as my reference. Generally, if it’s included in there, I’m listing it here.

1930

The Cat Creeps

Remake of the silent film The Cat and the Canary (1927) about an elderly millionaire on the verge of dying and the greedy family members who want to inherit the fortune. Set in an old creepy house. There’s no chance of ever seeing this film, because it’s lost. Few clips survive in the comedy short Boo (1932). No one seems to care that it’s lost, because the original 1927 version survives and so do it’s remakes.
Availability: LOST
My rating: n/a 

The Cat Creeps (Spanish version)

Spanish language version of the same film, shot on the same sets with Spanish speaking cast. Also, seems to be lost.
Availability: LOST
My rating: n/a 

1931

Dracula

First talkie version of the Bram Stoker novel. May seem slow and boring to modern audiences, but has a strong unique atmosphere that’s somehow enhanced by its lack of music. Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Renfield (Dwight Frye) are outstanding, even if most of the cast is pretty lame. A true classic, regardless of its flaws.
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 10
COMMENTARY (Audio only) 

SHORT REVIEW

Dracula (Spanish version)

Shot on the same sets, with Spanish speaking cast. This version is even better than the more famous English version. Carlos Villarias is great as Dracula and Pablo Alvarez Rubio is amazing as renfield.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 10
REVIEW 

Frankenstein

Loosely based on the Mary Shelly novel about a scientist (Colin Clive) who attempts to bring life to a human being (Boris Karloff) by re-animating dead tissue. Mostly everyone knows the story. This is the most famous film version by far. The images are unforgettable. 
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 10
REVIEW

1932

Murders in the Rue Morgue

Lugosi is a madman searching for a bride for his pet gorilla. Ludicrous plot, based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, but creepy and effective. Like many early Universal talkies, the lack of music helps create an unsettling mood. Gritty and disturbing.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

The Old Dark House

Cliche plot of travelers who have to spend the night in an old house with a strange family. The dialogue is witty, there’s some genuine suspense, and the constant sound of thunder makes this an enjoyable chiller. It improves with repeated viewings and I think it ranks with all the Universal masterpieces. 
Availability: DVD
My rating: 10
REVIEW

The Mummy

Ancient mummy ImHoTep (Karloff) rises to search for the body of his beloved princess, and then her reincarnation. A strange love story. The pacing is a bit awkward, but Karloff’s deep voice and haunting music create an overall hypnotic tone that keeps you captivated. Also, the opening scene is fantastic!
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 10
SHORT REVIEW

1933

Secret of the Blue Room

Never saw it.
Availability: RARE (occasionally shows up on Ebay as a bootleg DVD)
My rating: n/a

The Invisible Man

Based on the H.G. Wells story. A scientist (Claude Rains) turns himself invisible and goes on a rampage. Impressive special effects, some real funny moments, and purely entertaining.
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 10
REVIEW

1934

The Black Cat

The first screen pairing of Karloff and Lugosi. They play arch rivals who want to kill each other. Karloff is some kind of devil worshipper who keeps dead woman in glass cases. There’s some pretty morbid stuff for the 30′s including a torture scene where someone is skinned alive. Has nothing to do with the Edgar Allan Poe story, but is fascinating nevertheless.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8
REVIEW

Secret of the Chateau

Never saw it.
Availability: VERY RARE
My rating: n/a

The Man Who Reclaimed His Head

This is NOT A HORROR FILM at all. Not even close, yet it was advertised as such and is featured in the Universal Horrors book. It’s a politically charged drama, about people in power who are profiting from war and an anti-war writer (Claude Rains) who is fighting against them. While it doesn’t belong on a list like this, it still deserves to be noted because of it’s excellent cinematography and passionate acting by Claude Rains.
Availability: RARE (Not officially on home video)
My rating: 8

Life Returns

Supposedly based on a true case. A doctor experiments on bringing a dead dog back to life. Has a documentary feel. The 1930′s was Universal’s golden age when they produced most of their greatest masterpieces. Unfortunately, they were capable of making stinkers as well. This is one of the films that proves it.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 4

1935

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Based on an unfinished Charles Dickens story. Claude Rains is blamed for murder of the title character and an all out investigation ensues. The plot is not very interesting, but the classy victorian era setting, and heavy atmosphere gives it enough appeal for Universal horror fans.
Availability: VHS
My rating: 7

Bride of Frankenstein

2nd in the Frankenstein series. Karloff is back as the monster and this time he wants a mate. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is forced by a villainous scientist Dr. Pratorious (Ernest Thesiger in a brilliant performance) to create the monster’s bride. Stays closer to the Mary Shelly novel. More sophisticated than the first movie with a musical score and some dark humor. The monster gets to talk this time and that’s when Karloff’s acting really starts to shine. You sympathize with the monster a whole lot more.
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 10
REVIEW 

Werewolf of London

A botanist (Henry Hull) travels to Tibet and is bitten by a werewolf. This is the earliest surviving werewolf film. Unfortunately, it’s nothing too special. A minor cult classic.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

The Raven

Bela Lugosi at his most psychotic and sinister! He plays a brain surgeon who is obsessed with the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. When he is “denied of his great love”, he goes mad and tortures his enemies in ways that only Poe would imagine. He uses an escaped criminal (Karloff) as his assistant, after horribly mutilating his face. A must see thriller for Lugosi’s disturbing and over-the-top performance. Incredibly underrated!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 9
REVIEW 

The Great Impersonation

Never saw it.
Availability: VERY RARE
My rating: n/a

1936

The Invisible Ray

Karloff is a scientist who discovers a ray of light that records an image of everything that ever happened in history.  Of all things, he uses this power to find an asteroid in Africa that has some element called Radium X. When he comes in contact with it, the effects are as follows. 1) It makes him glow in the dark. 2) It makes him deadly to the touch. 3) It cures his mother’s blindness. I don’t get it.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

Dracula’s Daughter

Direct sequel to Dracula. Gloria Holden is the daughter of Dracula looking for relief from her vampirism, but can’t resist her unholy urges. The real highlight is her monotone assistant Sandor (Irving Pichel) who has nothing cheerful to say. A minor classic that is well paced and creepy.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

1937

Night Key

Not really a horror film, but close enough. Karloff invents a security system, gets scammed into selling it, then seeks revenge against the crooked businessman who tricked him. Then, gangsters interfere and pressure Karloff into helping them rob places. A somewhat muddled plot, but with Karloff at the center of it all, giving it his best, you can’t complain too much.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

1938

The Black Doll

Typical plot with a group of people confined to a house, all suspects of murder. The “doll” is a prop that exists as a symbol of bad omen. There is little of interest here to horror fans, but it’s a competent crime mystery.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

The Missing Guest

Remake of “Secret of the Blue Room”. It’s your standard murder mystery set in an old house. This is as average as they come, but a few spooky house exteriors will pique a classic horror fan’s interest.
Availability: VERY RARE
My rating: 6

1939

Son of Frankenstein

A three-way battle of wits between a vengeful undead fiend, Ygor (Lugosi), a snooping inspector (Lionel Atwill) and the son of Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), doomed to repeat his father’s mistakes. The monster (Karloff) goes back to being mute and is now just a henchmen for the villainous Ygor. There’s no more Mary Shelley source material and it ignores all continuity from previous Frankenstein films. Nevertheless, this one is lavish and spectacular with great performances all around. It’s just as good as the first two movies, if not better.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 10
REVIEW 

The House of Fear

Never saw it.
Availability: VERY RARE
My rating: n/a

Tower of London

Historical drama about Richard, the Duke of Gloucester (Basil Rathbone) who murders his way to become king. Watch for a great scene where he finishes off the Duke of Clarence (Vincent Price) in a drinking contest! Not really a horror film, but with Boris Karloff playing an executioner, how can you deny?
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

The Phantom Creeps (Serial)

Bela Lugosi is a scientist with the power of invisibility, a robot, an exploding spider in this wacky 12 part serial. Cheap and cheesy, but enjoyable!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

1940

The Invisible Man Returns

A man wrongly accused of murder (Vincent Price) becomes invisible to track down the real killer. Young Vincent Price (in voice only) gives an amazing performance, breaking his way into the horror genre. The special effects are impressive. This is no cheap sequel, it has class and is almost as good as the original!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 9

Black Friday

What happens when you transplant a piece of a gangster’s brain into the brain of another person? Scientist (Boris Karloff) finds out and it’s not good! Bela Lugosi is miscast in a small role as a gangster-type. Forgettable.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

The House of Seven Gables

When their father dies, one brother frames the other for murder for inheritance of the family estate. This is a drama, NOT a horror film and has no business being on the list, but it has Vincent Price and he’s fantastic! Listen for The Wolf Man theme music, BEFORE The Wolf Man!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

The Mummy’s Hand

Un-related to the Karloff original. This is first in a series that centers around a new mummy, Kharis (Tom Tyler). Archeologists looking for an ancient princess’s tomb, find that she has a mummy defender who is controlled by Egyptian priests. There’s A LOT of comic relief in this one, so if you want humor with your horror, this is for you.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

The Invisible Woman

Cheap jokes about invisibility plague this unfunny comedy about a woman who becomes invisible to get revenge on her mean boss. Very forgettable.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 4

1941

Man Made Monster

A man immune to electricity (Lon Chaney Jr) gets a jolt from a scientist (Lionel Atwill) and becomes a glowing monster. Very cliche, but good fun.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

Horror Island

A group of people go on a treasure hunt which takes them to a creepy old castle where they spend the night. An island adventure & haunted house mystery rolled into one. I’d say pass on this.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

The Black Cat

Universal’s second movie titled “The Black Cat”, once again has nothing to do with the Edgar Allan Poe story. It has more to do with “The Cat and the Canary” (1927). A wealthy old lady reads her will on a stormy night to all her relatives who greedily wait for her death to inherit her fortune. Then, all the guests grow suspicious of each other. Same cliche stuff. Has some great exterior sets in the rain which are genuinely spooky, but otherwise this film is forgettable. Even the presence of Bela Lugosi and Basil Rathbone doesn’t help much.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

Hold That Ghost

Cliche haunted house fare with Abbott and Costello making a trip to an old mansion with a bunch of other people to claim a fortune. A precursor to their monster comedies of the late 40′s and early 50′s. Nothing special, but with Abbott and Costello goofing around, it’s certainly watchable.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

The Wolf Man

Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) is a normal guy, until he gets bitten by a werewolf and becomes a wolf at night to kill those he loves. Chaney’s charisma and atmospheric photography make this a true horror masterpiece.
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 10
SHORT REVIEW 

1942

The Mad Doctor of Market Street

Don’t expect a thriller about a mad doctor. Expect something more like Gilligan’s Island! Seriously. Only the first scene resembles a Universal horror film. After that, it’s about castaways on a tropical island (far away from wherever Market Street is) with romance and comedy. At least it has Lionel Atwill, but what happened? Well, apparently it was originally meant to be an island movie, but at the last minute, they changed the title to fool us into thinking it was a horror film. Good one, assholes.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 3

The Ghost of Frankenstein

The Frankenstein monster (Lon Chaney Jr) and his friend Ygor (Lugosi) are back, and this time, they’re going to pester the second son of Frankenstein to recharge the monster with a new jolt of life. Things change, and they end up going for brain transplanting instead. A bizarre, but fascinating plot. Beginning with the destruction of a castle, and ending with an exploding laboratory, it’s entertaining from start to finish.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8
REVIEW 

Mystery of Marie Roget

Based on an Edgar Allan Poe story which is sort of a follow-up to Murders in the Rue Morgue. A movie star is killed and detectives investigate. The circumstances of the murder is over-pondered for the film’s entire hour running time without any interesting events. Has a few atmospheric moments. Mostly a bore.
Availability: RARE (not officially on home video)
My rating: 5

The Strange Case of Doctor Rx

A comedy/detective story about a series of unsolved murders. If you’re expecting Lionel Atwill as the star villain, think again. He’s only featured on the poster and appears in the film for only a few minutes. Expect to see more of Shemp Howard from the Three Stooges, and a gorilla thrown in at the last minute! What happened?
Availability: DVD
My rating: 3

Invisible Agent

World War II espionage thriller with Nazis trying to discover the secret formula of invisibility. An excellent concept that takes the idea of invisibility to the next level, showing the consequences of what would happen if such a formula was ever invented. The hero character, Frank Griffin Jr (Jon Hall) becomes invisible to help fight the Nazis. It’s funny they can’t decide if the original Invisible Man was his grandfather or his uncle. The dialogue implies both. They say his name was Frank Griffin Sr, and that he invented the formula. Really, the inventor was Jack Griffin. Frank Griffin was Jack’s brother from “The Invisible Man’s Returns”. They really screwed up! Inconsistencies aside, this is an entertaining adventure film. With Peter Lorre and Cedric Hardwicke playing villains, you can’t go wrong. Jon Hall plays a different invisible man in “The Invisible Man’s Revenge”, this time the bad-type. (Named Rob Griffin, but there’s no relation to the other films. The confusion never stops.)
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

The Mummy’s Tomb

The mummy Kharis is back (this time played by Lon Chaney Jr, unrecognizably wrapped from head to toe) to kill off the rest of the archeologists from “The Mummy’s Hand.” Simplistic and dumb, but still satisfying.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

Night Monster

A crippled man in an isolated mansion discovers the power to regenerate his legs and kill the doctors who he blames for his crippled state. There is plenty of fog and atmospheric chills to keep any classic horror fan satisfied, but the story is so incredibly bizarre and incoherent, I can’t say I recommend it very much. There is hardly any “monster” and Bela Lugosi is completely wasted in a small role. In some scenes, he literally stands in the background like a statue without moving or speaking.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

1943

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

A sequel to The Wolf Man, but a reboot to the Frankenstein timeline. Larry Talbot (Chaney Jr), seeking a cure for his werewolf disease, seeks out Dr. Frankenstein, but instead, finds his daughter and his monster (Lugosi). Opens with an excellent cemetery set and ends with an awesome showdown between two of the most famous movie monsters. Impossible not to love!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 9
REVIEW 

Captive Wild Woman

A scientist (John Carradine) turns a female gorilla into a human (Acquanetta). Only problem, she turns back. Even worse, he needs to kill people to keep her in human state. If you like watching endless stock footage of lion trainers, this is for you.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

Phantom of the Opera

In this lavish color remake, the identity of the Phantom is never secret. He’s given more of a story. He’s a violinist who loses his job. Through a series of misfortunes, he gets acid thrown on his face and retreats to the catacombs beneath the Paris opera house. High production values aside, I find this version of Phantom to be underwhelming. You can cut out all the unnecessary opera performances (which supposedly aren’t even real opera) and have a short film. It’s a wonder that Claude Rains was cast as the Phantom and not Lon Chaney jr, having already demonstrated his ability to play a tragic sympathetic character like in the Wolf Man. Why Universal cast him as Dracula, The Mummy, and the Frankenstein monster, but NOT the Phantom baffles me, especially since his father was Universal’s original Phantom. It’s also an injustice that Universal continues to polish up THIS version of Phantom with every home video collection they’ve released over the years, but will never touch the superior and iconic 1925 classic! If you want to know what the Phantom of the Opera is all about, skip this one and watch the 1925 version.
Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
My rating: 6

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death

This is part of a 14-film series starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. The first two were produced by 20th Century Fox. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1939) which is very much a creepy “horror” film, and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (1939). When Universal picked up the series, they moved the time setting to present day World War II era. The first three made by Universal were “Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror” (1942), which despite the title, is NOT even close to a horror film, “Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon” (1943), and “Sherlock Holmes in Washington” (1943). Now we come to the title we’re talking about “Sherlock Holmes Faces Death” (1943) which is a murder mystery set in an old house. This one has light traces of horror. Worth including. And seeing as well.
Availability: DVD and BLU-RAY
My rating: 7

Flesh and Fantasy

The title sounds like a porn film! This is an anthology film with a Twilight Zone-like feel to it. The three stories deal with supernatural elements, but are not quite “horror” enough. The first story is mildly interesting, set in a Mardi Gras costume party. The second one, about a man running from his fate told by a fortune teller, is suspenseful. The third one, about a circus performer, is when you start checking the timer. If you’re curious enough, watch the first two tales and leave it at that.
Availability: On DVD, but hard to find.
My rating: 6

Son of Dracula

Count Alucard or “Dracula” comes to town to do what he does best, steal women from their would-be-husbands. This mis-titled Dracula reboot offers some good chills, but isn’t as good as the first two. (“Dracula” and “Dracula’s Daughter”)
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

The Mad Ghoul

A professor of chemistry (George Zucco) exposes one of his students to a gas, making him into a mindless zombie, to obey his every command. An enjoyable enough little chiller film. It’s cliche nature somehow works to it’s advantage.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

Calling Dr. Death

Inner Sanctum series #1. First in a series of mysteries starring Lon Chaney jr, always with a mustache, but never actually the same character. Here, he’s a doctor who’s wife has been murdered. He thinks he may have been committed the act under hypnosis.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

The Spider Woman

Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of suicides which he believes are actually murders committed by the clever “Spider Woman”. With a title like that, it’s hard not to include it here on our horror list, but it’s not really much of a horror film. A decent entry in the Holmes series.
Availability: DVD and BLU-RAY
My rating: 7

1944

Weird Woman

Inner Sanctum series #2. Lon Chaney jr is a professor who marries a woman who he suspects to have some supernatural tribal powers. I guess that’s “weird” enough.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6

The Scarlet Claw

Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of murders, all victims with their throats slashed, blamed on a supernatural monster. Now THIS is good and spooky, the closest the Holmes films came to horror since “Hound of the Baskervilles” (1939). Not quite as good as that one, but still one of the best for Holmes fans and Universal monster fans.
Availability: DVD and BLU-RAY
My rating: 9

The Invisible Man’s Revenge

A psychopathic criminal (Jon Hall) gets help from a scientist (Jon Carradine) who has discovered the secret of invisibility. Has no connection to The Invisible Man and The Invisible Man Returns, although the criminal’s last name is Griffin, named after the original Invisible Man, just to be confusing! Good movie, though. For the first time since the original, the main character is a murderous and tragic figure.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

Ghost Catchers

Before Peter Venkman and company were busting ghosts, comedy pair Olsen and Johnson were goofing around in a nightclub and mansion. I don’t know what the hell I just watched. If it hadn’t been for its connection with Universal, I would not be seeing it. It’s a musical, for the most part. I like musicals, but not this one. I tried to view it in the same kind of light that I would an Abbott and Costello film, but there’s nothing funny here or entertaining. Lon Chaney Jr has a nonchalant cameo, in a bear costume!
Availability: VHS and DVD both extremely overpriced
My rating: 5

Jungle Woman

Who would’ve thought a sequel to Captive Wild Woman would come into existence?! Acquanetta is back as the ape woman, still alive, being looked after by scientist (J. Carrol Naish). Without expecting much, this little film moves along at a decent pace. No masterpiece for sure, but definitely watchable.
Availability: VHS
My rating: 6

The Mummy’s Ghost

3rd in the Kharis mummy series. The Mummy (Chaney Jr) finds the reincarnation of his beloved mummy princess. A good change of pace in the series.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 8

The Pearl of Death

Sherlock Holmes, on the case of a stolen pearl, finds a trail of murders committed by a hulking monstrous man known as “The Creeper” played by Rondo Hatton who reprised his Creeper role in more Universal thrillers like “House of Horrors” (1946).
Availability: DVD and BLU-RAY
My rating: 7

The Climax

Originally conceived as a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, it was also shot in color, and on the same opera-house set. Unfortunately, no effort went into the script. Boris Karloff is a doctor, who first kills his opera singer girlfriend, because he doesn’t want anyone to hear her sing. Why not? Who the fuck knows?!! Next, he hypnotizes the girl who replaces her on stage, because he doesn’t want her singing the same material. His motives are too bizarre to take seriously. Karloff seems very subdued and tired. The production value is top notch, but the plot is lousy, there’s too much opera singing as filler, and for a movie called “The Climax”, there is none!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

Dead Man’s Eyes

Inner Sanctum series #3. Lon Chaney jr is an artist accused of murder who must track down the real killer and prove his innocence, while BLIND! Good stuff.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 7

Murder in the Blue Room

At a sleepover party in a mansion, someone goes missing in the notoriously haunted room. This minor remake of “Secret of the Blue Room” and “The Missing Guest” takes a comedic tone. It’s full of cheap gags and plenty of musical numbers. Extremely cliche and self aware. Entertaining enough.
Availability: RARE
My rating: 6

House of Frankenstein

Boris Karloff gives his final bow in the Frankenstein series, this time as a mad scientist who wants to play a game of brain-swapping with his enemies. He meets The Wolf Man (Chaney Jr) and the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange). Then, a bunch of other stuff happens. A love triangle, revenge… Oh and there’s Dracula too (John Carradine) in a warm up act. Sounds like a mess, but it somehow all works. A highly underrated monster mash!
Availability: DVD
My rating: 9
REVIEW 

The Mummy’s Curse

The mummy Kharis rises in a swamp to stalk again. The resurrection of Princess Ananka is the highlight. There’s some good moments, but the formula has worn thin. For being 5th in the Mummy series (4th in the Kharis series), that’s to be expected.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

Destiny

Never saw it.
Availability: VERY RARE
My rating: n/a

1945

The House of Fear

Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder mystery in an old castle. Sounds like a cliche log line, but this is good stuff with lots of quality chills. The last of the Universal Holmes films that comes close to “horror.” The remaining flicks are “The Woman in Green” (1945), “Pursuit to Algiers” (1945), “Terror by Night” (1946) (Includes NO TERROR), and “Dressed to Kill” (1946). A great series of films that sometimes overlaps horror and other times does not.
Availability: DVD and BLU-RAY
My rating: 8

That’s the Spirit

This does NOT belong on this list at all, but it was included in the Universal Horrors book and I just spent an hour and a half watching it, so I feel obliged to include it. It’s one of those movies where an angel or spirit comes down from heaven to teach a character a moral lesson. I’ve seen it done better many times, even in Twilight Zone episodes, without excessive song and dance performances as filler. Buster Keaton makes an appearance. Other than that, I think my mind has already erased the whole experience. I’ve read many positive reviews of it online that I wish I could agree with.
Availability: RARE
My rating: 5

The Frozen Ghost

Inner Sanctum #4. Lon Chaney Jr is a hypnotist who thinks he accidentally murdered a stage heckler through his mind. He hides out in a wax museum where women fight over his romance. Another death occurs and someone else may be behind it. The wax museum setting has great potential, but it goes to waste with a strange plot and overall tedium.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 4

The Jungle Captive

Final installment in the Captive-Wild-Jungle-Woman TRILOGY. Once again, the ape-woman is revived by another scientist who intends to perform some kind of brain operation. Rondo Hatton (best known for his role as “The Creeper”) is also thrown into the mix, almost making this into a minor league monster-mash, and a very boring one.
Availability: VHS
My rating: 5

Strange Confession

Inner Sanctum #5. Lon Chaney jr is a chemist who’s greedy boss releases his drug to the public before it’s ready. Some say it’s the best of the Inner Sanctum mysteries, but I found it to be a chore to watch, because nothing interesting happens.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

House of Dracula

The Wolf Man and Dracula come to a doctor seeking a cure for their curses, but the doctor becomes preoccupied with the dormant Frankenstein monster and becomes a Jekyll and Hyde-type character, thanks to a blood transfusion from Dracula. The Wolf Man is rarely seen and the Frankenstein monster never gets up until the very end. All the focus is on the doctor (Onslow Stevens). Stale finale to the monster mash series, only to be redeemed by the comedy “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.”
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5
REVIEW 

Pillow of Death

A pillow is what you’ll need if you try to watch this. Inner Sanctum #6. The last in the Inner Sanctum series. As usual, the plot is a murder mystery that revolves around Lon Chaney Jr. This time, the victim is his wife. Haven’t we seen this before?
Availability: DVD
My rating: 5

1946

The Spider Woman Strikes Back

Never saw it.
Availability: VER RARE
My rating: n/a

House of Horrors

The brute killer “The Creeper” (Rondo Hatton) befriends a sculptor who wants to get revenge on the art critic who insulted his work. Nothing special, but has enough Universal charm to keep it from becoming a total waste.
Availability: DVD (overpriced)
My rating: 6

The Cat Creeps

Another remake of the Cat Creeps. I can’t find it anywhere, so I assume it’s extremely rare or lost like the other two from 1930. I guess all these Cat Creeps movies were cursed! Supposedly, it’s not lost, because many people have reviewed it. It’s supposed to be one of the worst Universal films.
Availability: EXTREMELY RARE
My rating: n/a

She-Wolf of London

A stale murder mystery with NO WEREWOLF! Avoid it.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 3

The Brute Man

The Creeper (Rondo Hatton in his final role as the character) is on the loose, killing people, but elicits some sympathy from us this time, when he befriends a blind woman, who is the only person not appalled by his physical ugliness. Sounds familiar, right? Bride of Frankenstein. It’s definitely not one of the worst Universal horror films, although it’s the only one from the classic cycle that got riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Availability: DVD
My rating: 6
MY RATING SCALE

10 = An outstanding masterpiece that everyone should see!
9 = An excellent film that is mandatory viewing for horror fans and worth repeated viewings.
8 = A great film that is sure to satisfy any horror fan.
7 = A good film that is recommended for fans of the genre.
6 = Not recommended, but is worth seeing for curiosity’s sake. Hardcore horror fans may be satisfied.
5 = A forgettable film, only worth seeing for research purposes.
4 = A lousy stinker. Not recommended under any circumstances.
3 = A film that is not only bad, but tricks the audience with a misleading title or somehow disappoints even those who are expecting something average.
2 = A horrible shit bomb that is worth talking about for its wretchedness.
1 = Films made by major studios almost never fall to this level. This lowest rating is reserved only for films that are literally unwatchable. Movies that are falling apart so badly, you can’t even make sense of them.

Comments

  • spidertour02

    November 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Great work!

    FYI, the Spanish version of Dracula IS on Blu-Ray. It’s a bonus feature on the Dracula disc of the recent Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection.

  • trivialord

    November 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Hey James! At least at the moment, Secret of the Blue Room can be viewed on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXPfd5B7ylo

    Really appreciate all you do, and I’m an especially avid Monster Madness fan. Hope I could help in some small way.

    Now if I could just find you a copy of Bubble Bath Babes for the NES.

  • November 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    this list is outstanding and i appreciate the time you put into this!

  • taykel

    November 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I hope you do more lists like this. I’m a complete movie buff.

  • Kenshiroh

    November 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    You might like this. Japanese illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe stories.
    http://www.crackajack.de/2012/11/23/edgar-allan-poe-imagined-by-a-vintage-japanese-magazine/

  • Mr. Arkadin

    November 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Or there’s “Venus Flytrap” with a mad scientist who spends the movie pissed off for no reason and incomprehensible dialogue by Ed Wood.

    (I know the link says Doctor X, but that’s a great WB horror movie from 1932 and something entirely different.)

    http://archive.org/details/PhantasmagoriaTheater-DoctorX1932737

  • Allen Lucas

    November 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Great job putting the list together. Maybe you can do a similar list of Hammer horror between 1955′s The Quatermass Xperiment and 1976′s To the Devil a Daughter plus your thoughts on their recent films Let Me In, The Resident, Wake Wood, and The Woman in Black.

    Only a few things I disagree with you about. I really enjoyed The Invisible Ray mostly for Karloff’s performance. If you can believe the radioactive powers, it can be a fun and enjoyable horror film.

    I agree that The Invisible Man and The Invisible Man Returns are really good in their own way. I thought The Invisible Woman had me rolling on the floor even when some of the jokes don’t work. Invisible Agent was OK, but I considered The Invisible Man’s Revenge to be the worst. Some of the effects were lazy especially one shot where a guy gets pulled to the table by very visible strings, which took me out of the film entirely.

  • Sat

    November 27, 2012 at 4:20 am

    The Spanish Dracula is on the Blu-Ray, that was my first time viewing it last month!

    I think this shows that Universal got much more than the usual monster classics and could go beyond their recently released blu-ray box set. Films like The Raven, The Black Cat (8/10? This one is a straight 10 James!) and The Old Dark House need their prestige release too.

    How about a non-Universal 1930-1946 horror list? That would be interesting.

  • November 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    That is a sweet Rating scale! I was nerd enough to read this entire thread.
    Even though I have no intention of ever watching any of these again. I saw at least half of these when I was a kid, they were so boring compared to Alien. I was like JEEEZE Dad another black and white?

  • decollate

    November 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm

  • November 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    @decollate
    Holy shit! You gotta be fucking kidding me! Couldn’t find it on DVD/VHS anywhere. Never would have guessed the whole thing is on YouTube. Thanks for the link! Now I’m going to have to watch it when I get the chance and update the list.

  • Sam Wood

    November 28, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Hey James, This is just a suggestion, but could you make a list of all the Hammer Horror Films? (Just wondering).

  • frostare

    November 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Loved reading through this! And please announce whenever this list is updated with Secret of the Blue Room and The Cat Creeps!

  • November 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Secret of the Blue Room is on there, too. It also has the Swan Lake music at the beginning:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXPfd5B7ylo

  • smoss469

    November 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Hey James, would love to see a video running down some of the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies. I’ve got about 20 different Sherlock Holmes movies and the Rathbone ones are all great!

  • dansims

    November 29, 2012 at 2:55 am

    The cat creeps 1946 version is on youtube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9TM5IugtBo

  • November 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I watched Secret of the Blue Room last night. Pretty average and predictable, really. The Old Dark House is way, way better (and both star Gloria Stuart from James Cameron’s Titanic).

    Based on James’ review scale I’d probably give it a 6 for having a good atmosphere an enjoyable cast and a really cool shootout near the end. But it’s pretty standard. Nothing we haven’t seen before.

  • Stefanoragnopazzo

    November 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Amazing hope this becomes a page that’s gonna be updated with your discoveries. Like some of the big pages that you can go from the home system of links.

  • Johnny Calavera

    November 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Dracula (Spanish version) is also available on Blu-ray. It is included in the “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection” Blu-ray box.

  • horrorshow

    December 2, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Flesh and Fantasy can be viewed here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NG0x81prcc
    I was all ready with a box of tissues for that one. Very disappointing.

    Could you perhaps spend an ungodly amount of time watching all the Hammer Horror films and giving them a score?

  • Basedewd

    December 12, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Maybe you could find some rare horrorflicks here aswell? http://archive.org/details/moviesandfilms

    It’s a archive for old stuff that no1 wants to take care of, including movies (thank god). Alot of material would have been gone/destroyed if it were not for these kind souls.

  • August 5, 2013 at 5:12 am

    wouldn it be fun if you did a commentary on frankenstein too

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