By James L. Neibaur. (2017, 228 pp).
Horror has been part of Hollywood since the silent movie days. While some studios delved into the genre more than others, none were as synonymous with movie monsters than Universal. In fact, as this book explains, films like Dracula, The Mummy and Frankenstein ultimately kept the studio afloat during the 30s and 40s. Collectively, they were a genre unto themselves. Today, "Universal Monsters" is an instantly identifiable brand name.
It all started somewhere. The Monster Movies of Universal Studios is a detailed and comprehensive chronicle of those glory years. Beginning with 1931's Dracula, each chapter thoroughly covers every Universal monster film through the 50s, from conception, casting & filming to release, critical consensus & box office performance.
Author James L. Neibaur writes more-or-less objectively, though he clearly displays affection for his subject. Most importantly, he does a great job making the reader appreciate the cultural impact these films had at the time, which in many ways is still being felt today. Those of you who assume the whole 'cinematic universe' began with Marvel...think again.
A must-read for any avid horror fan or classic movie buff, The Monster Movies of Universal Studios is an fascinating look back at a struggling studio and the genre that saved it. For those who weren't around at the time, the book provides a wealth of insight & trivia, and if it prompts the reader to revisit any of these classics, then it's done its job.
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS