WRITTEN HISTORY: Defining The Classic Universal Horror Movie Canon

EDITOR’S NOTE This podcast is dedicated to Universal Monsters, but there are many excellent (and some awful) vintage Universal Horror films out there that don’t feature any of these classic monsters and so won’t be featured on our show. They are absolutely still worth covering, so we’ve invited guest writers from our listenership to share their thoughts on the finer points of the lesser-known Universal Horror films. Now, enjoy this chronicle of the classic Universal Horror movie canon, from Dark Mark Longfield.

Universal Pictures is a movie production company that was formed in 1912 with Carl Laemmle as president. It’s the oldest still-operating studio in the United States and has produced thousands of films. Among those films, Universal is famous for its early production of iconic horror films that helped create and define the genre of horror as we know today. In this article I will outline a canon of horror films produced by Universal Pictures during its classic era, beginning with The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and ending with The Leech Woman (1960). The focus will be on defining the canon, rather than going in-depth on any individual film, actor, or filmmaker.
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Ep 1.6: Hammer’s Mummy Movies

Welcome to our house at Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging Dark Universe.

Season 1. Episode 6. In this episode we are doing something a little bit different and covering all of the Hammer Films productions of Mummy films. We are joined by special guest RedCapJack who helps us review The Mummy (1959), The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) and Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb (1971). Composer/Producer Kagan Breitenbach joins us again for a solo-cast segment about Hammer Films music. You’ll remember that the first four episodes, we discussed all of the news surrounding Universal’s Dark Universe and reviewed the 2017 film The Mummy. In episode five, we began our classic Universal Horror coverage with The Mummy (1932). We’ll come back around to classic Universal Monster movies and the future of the Dark Universe, but for now …
It’s Hammer Time!
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WRITTEN REVIEW: Man Made Monster (1941)

EDITOR’S NOTE This podcast is dedicated to Universal Monsters, but there are many more excellent (and some awful) vintage Universal Horror films out there that don’t feature any of these classic monsters and so won’t be featured on our show. They are absolutely still worth covering, so we’ve invited some guest writers to share their thoughts on these non-monster Universal Horror films. Now, enjoy this film review from Sal Roma.



Title: Man Made Monster . Studio: Universal Pictures . Writers: George Waggner and Harry Essex . Director: George Waggner . Released: March 28, 1941 . Country: United States . Rating: 7/10

After a bus accident results in the electrocution of all the bus passengers but one, the lone survivor, Dan McCormick (Lon Chaney Jr of The Wolf Man), is hired by Dr. Lawrence (Frank Albertson, the wealthy “Tom Cassidy” in Psycho) to take part in some experiments. Joined by Lawrence’s partner, Dr. Rigas (Lionel Atwill, a regular in many of the Frankenstein sequels), the duo tries to learn more about McCormick’s apparent immunity to electricity. Little does Dr. Lawrence realize that Dr. Rigas has his own sinister side experiments planned to use McCormick’s immunity to turn McCormick into a “Man Made Monster,” compelled to follow all of Rigas’ orders.
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WRITTEN REVIEW: Horror Island (1941)

EDITOR’S NOTE This podcast is dedicated to Universal Monsters. This season is focused mummies and we have several seasons coming up, each devoted to one of the iconic Universal Monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man … you get the idea. But, as most fans know, there are many more excellent (and some awful), vintage Universal Horror films out there that don’t feature any of these classic monsters and so won’t be featured on our show. They are absolutely still worth covering, so we’ve invited some guest writers to share their thoughts on these non-monster Universal Horror films and they’ll be occasionally posted here on the site, in the regular feed. Posts will range from film or Blu-Ray reviews, to historical insights and think pieces. Enjoy the first of those posts, a review of Horror Island (1941), by longtime Horror Movie Podcast listener and friend of Universal Monsters Cast, Sal Roma.



Title: Horror Island . Studio: Universal Pictures . Writers: Maurice Tombragel and Victor McLeod . Based on the story “Terror of the South Seas” by Alex Gottlieb . Director: George Waggner . Released: March 28, 1941 . Country: United States . Rating: 6.5/10

With yet another business venture deemed a failure, struggling businessman, Bill Martin (Dick Foran, star of The Mummy’s Hand), decides to turn his one asset, a mysterious island inherited from an uncle, into a potential business by promising paying customers a hauntingly fun ghost experience. Joined by his buddy, Stuff Oliver and Tobias Clump, sailor who believes there’s buried treasure on the island (Leo Carrillo, star of 1944’s The Phantom of the Opera), Bill and his customers quickly realize that there’s a mysterious Phantom that is set on doing anything it takes to get his hands on the believed gold on the island, even if it means by killing all that arrive at horror island.

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Ep 1.5 The Mummy (1932)

We bid you welcome to Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging Dark Universe.

Season 1. Episode 5. In this episode we are joined by special guest The Bride (better known as Station! from The Sci-Fi Podcast) for our review of The Mummy (1932). In the first four episodes, we discussed all of the news surrounding Universal’s Dark Universe and reviewed the 2017 film The Mummy. We’ll come back around to what we think the future may hold for the Dark Universe when the Blu-Ray for The Mummy (2017) is released in September, but for now we’ll be going back to some classic monster movies, beginning with our review of The Mummy (1932)!
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Ep 1.4: The Mummy (2017) and Universal’s Dark Universe

Welcome to a New World of God’s and Monsters! This is Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging Dark Universe.

Season 1. Episode 4. The time has come; the time is now! The Mummy has risen and we will take our first look at the film and Universal’s newly-minted Dark Universe. The mainstream reviews are not great. Some fans agree. Others don’t. The horror community has been a tad more forgiving. What did you think of The Mummy? What does this do to your hopes for the Dark Universe franchise? Let us know in the comments below.

Some are ready to call The Mummy dead on arrival, but if there is one thing we’ve learned from The Mummy’s many incarnations over the years, it is that Death is Only the Beginning!
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Ep 1.3: A New World of Gods and Monsters – Part 3 “Industry Insight”

We bid you welcome to Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – will regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging Dark Universe.

Season 1. Episode 3. This is a continuation of our introduction to the show and the final part of a 3-part series that we’re calling “A New World of Gods and Monsters,” wherein we discuss everything we know about the new Dark Universe.

Part 1 featured a discussion amongst the hosts, giving you our opinions on all of the news and rumors that we know so far. Part 2 featured a discussion with a panel of our listeners, telling us what the fans really want. And this episode, Part 3, will feature a discussion with some industry insiders, giving us some educated insight into what we can actually expect the studio to give us.

And now it is time to listen to the children of the night. What music they make!
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Ep 1.2: A New World of Gods and Monsters – Part 2 “Fans React”

We bid you welcome to Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – will regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging, shared cinematic universe.

Season 1. Episode 2. This is a continuation of our introduction to the show and the 2nd part in a 3-part series that we’re calling “A New World of Gods and Monsters,” wherein we discuss everything we know about the new Monsters Universe. Part 1 featured a discussion amongst the hosts telling you what we know so far. Part 2 features a discussion with some of our listeners, telling us what the fans really want. And Part 3 will feature a discussion with some industry insiders, giving us some insight into what we can actually expect the studio to give us.

And now it is time to listen to the children of the night. What music they make!
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Ep 1.1: A New World of Gods and Monsters – Part 1

It’s alive! Welcome to the very first episode of the very first season of Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – will regularly brave discussions of many a monstrous thing, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging, shared cinematic universe.

Season 1. Episode 1. This is the premiere episode of our debut season and the 1st part in a 3-part series that we’re calling “A New World of Gods and Monsters,” wherein we discuss everything we know about the new Monsters Universe. Part 1 features a discussion amongst the hosts telling you what we know so far. Part 2 will feature a discussion with some of our listeners, telling us what the fans really want. And Part 3 will feature a discussion with some industry insiders, giving us some insight into what we can actually expect the studio to give us.

And now it is time to listen to the children of the night. What music they make!
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BONUS: The Essential Universal Monsters

This trial run for the Universal Monsters Cast was originally conceived of as a BONUS episode of Horror Movie Podcast. With the regular host out for the week, co-hosts Wolfman Josh and Dr. Shock decided to discuss listener feedback from the recent HMP “Essential Universal Monsters” poll, give their own personal classic Universal Horror recommendations, and give their initial thoughts on the teaser trailer and first poster for The Mummy (2017) – as well as the potential for a new shared cinematic universe. Doc also brought his picks for the best monster movies of the 1930s that were not made by Universal Pictures.

Horror Movie Podcast is typically a bi-weekly show, released every other Friday, hosted by Jay of the Dead, Dr. Shock, Dr. Walking Dead, and Wolfman Josh. You can find the show on iTunes, Stitcher and HorrorMoviepodcast.com

Help us spread the word and build up the following for this show on Twitter @MonstersCast. You can also follow Wolfman Josh on Twitter @IcarusArts and Dr. Shock on Twitter @DVDinfatuation. Music for this episode composed and produced by future UMC producer, Kagan Breitenbach. Check out Kagan’s work at KaganBreitenbach.com

Thanks for listening to this trial run of the Universal Monsters Cast!

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