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Must-Own Halloween Blu-Rays In 2012 – Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection + 1

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No other holiday will ever compare to Halloween for true horror fans. When the season arrives, it’s like the world around us becomes a horror convention for 31 days. But it’s never enough. Like Hellraiser‘s Frank Cotton, any self-respecting horror junkie seeks to push the boundaries of his or her experience.

I find the dragon most of us are chasing is “the devil in 1080p,” or as dealers call it “Blu-ray.” I love ‘em, you love ‘em, and in the three-month stretch from August to the end of October we’re going to be treated to a veritable fuck-ton of Halloween Blu-rays (that’s on the metric system, by the way). But there’s really only one collection that has us bouncing off the walls this year. The films within are unquestionably classic, they’re old, revered, and fit right in with Halloween. Having them in the Blu-Ray format is like having the Papal Tiara — when you’re not the pope.

Whether you started your Halloween Blu-ray collection years ago or you’re just getting started now, no marathon vault is complete without The Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection. We’ve also included a little something extra, something not in the collection, for you to set your sights on.

Must-Own Halloween Blu-Rays In 2012

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection

If I was going to recommend any one set for purchase this Halloween, it’s the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection. This might be a hard sell given the dreaded quadruple dip the set represents. I’m sure most of us have been around the digital block with the Universal Monsters a couple of times now with the Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection, the franchise-packing Legacy Collections, and the 75th anniversary editions of Frankenstein and Dracula. Why is The Essential Collection a worthwhile upgrade?

One word: restoration. From a purely technical and aural standpoint, Universal is pulling out all the stops to makes sure its prestige monsters are getting the red carpet treatment they deserve. This, of course, comes at the cost of a $159.98 at Amazon (on sale for $139.99), but hey– you get what you pay for, and what you’re paying for is the cleanest, most detailed transfers of these films anyone has ever seen. Check out the video below if you don’t believe me.

Note that you’re also getting all the special features from the former releases and — finally– a version of Creature from the Black Lagoon on 3-D Blu-ray. If I was a richer man I would be fully tempted to go out and purchase a 3-D television and player for Creature alone.

However, impressive specs don’t necessarily justify a full purchase. If it did, Babylon A.D. would be considered a must-own. No, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding here is eight of the studio’s all-time best Universal Monster movies: Dracula (English and Spanish versions), Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, Phantom of the Opera, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Sure, the collection is missing a few unsung classics — Dracula’s Daughter and Son of Frankenstein — but the films included are absolutely seminal. Just hold on to your Legacy Collection DVDs if you want to have a complete Universal marathon this October.

What’s the first film up for inspection on our Halloween Blu-ray list? Find out after the jump…

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