Blu-Ray Review: Universal Horror Collection Volume 6

Universal Horror Collection Volume 6

Scream Factory recently released its newest line of vault horror classics with the Universal Horror Collection Volume 6. While maybe not specifically a true horror in and of itself, these are classic movies that star a horror legend such as Lon Chaney Jr (Dracula) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein). This time, the studio has moved into films from the 1950s. The collection has the four following films:

The Black Castle (1952)
Boris Karloff (Frankenstein) and Lon Chaney Jr. (The Wolf Man) star in supporting roles (Karloff as a good guy, actually) in this movie about Sir Ronald Burton. We find Sir Burton in a coffin initially, and the film flashes back to tell the story of how he got there. While visiting Count Von Bruno, Sir Ronald discovers he has a secret dark side and a castle full of torture. He goes about investigating and discovering more secrets until he is caught and put into a coffin….but is this how it will end for Sir Ronald? The running time is 82 minutes.

Cult of the Cobra (1955)
A group of soldiers is about to ship back to the United States and what to let off some steam before they leave. They manage to sneak into a ceremony in which a cult turns people into cobras and get caught. One of them gets bit by a cobra, and the rest board their ship where they encounter a mysterious woman and get mysterious snake bites themselves. The running time is 82 minutes.

The Thing That Couldn’t Die (1958)
A gifted psychic helps a small group of ranchers go looking for a place to dig a new well and instead find a box with a head in it. The head was buried as a punishment 400 years ago and can control people with its mind. Intent on finding his body and becoming a whole, powerful being again. Can the creature be stopped? You’ll have to watch and see. The running time is 69 minutes.

The Shadow of the Cat (1961)
This is a black & white Hammer film (incredibly unusual as they primarily made color films) that had never been released in the United States before this. A wealthy woman is killed by her husband, and the only witness is her cat. The cat makes it clear that the murder won’t go unsolved, and the man must try to kill the cat while also finding (and destroying) a new will that cuts him out of the inheritance. The cat foils his evil plots along the way. The running time is 79 minutes.

The video quality on these releases is very good, especially considering that they were made in the mid-1950s. The video is 1.37:1 for Black Castle, The Shadow of the Cat is 1.66:1 anamorphic, and the other two are 1.85:1 anamorphic. They look so good on HDTV. The audio for all four films is DTS-HD MA mono. The sound is crisp, and you can clearly distinguish the various could be it cats and alligators or special effects or dialogue.

Bonus Features

DISC ONE: THE BLACK CASTLE (1952)

  • NEW 2K Scan From A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • NEW Universal Horror Strikes Back! – A Look At Universal Horror In The 40s
  • Still Gallery

DISC TWO: CULT OF THE COBRA (1955)

  • NEW 2K Scan From A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Tom Weaver, Steve Kronenberg, David Schecter, And Robert J. Kiss
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots For The Double Feature Of REVENGE OF THE CREATURE/CULT OF THE COBRA
  • Still Gallery

DISC THREE: THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE (1958)

  • NEW 2K Scan From A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Authors/Film historians Tom Weaver And C. Courtney Joyner
  • Theatrical Trailer

DISC FOUR: THE SHADOW OF THE CAT (1961)

  • NEW 2K Scan From A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Author/Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
  • NEW In The Shadow Of Shelley – An Interview With Barbara Shelley
  • TV Spot For The Double Feature Of THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF/THE SHADOW OF THE CAT
  • Still Gallery

Overall, this is a fun set of films. It’s not the usual movies people think of when they think of stars like Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff, but that’s the beauty of these vault sets. They introduce people to classic films that are not as well-known and that get you to appreciate some of the other works of that era. It’s a set worth having.

Universal Horror Collection Vol 6 is currently available from Scream! Factory

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