Universal Monsters or Universal Horror is the name given to a series of distinctive horror, suspense and science fiction films made by Universal Studios from 1923 to 1960. The series began with the 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and continued with such movies as The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Son of Dracula, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The studio’s leading horror actors were Lon Chaney, Béla Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney, Jr., and the numerous directors included Tod Browning, James Whale, Robert Florey and Karl Freund.
By the 1950s, Universal had retired most of its original line of horror characters, with Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man having been retired with the Abbott & Costello film in 1948. It was left to Abbott & Costello to keep alive public interest in characters such as the Mummy and the Invisible Man. But in 1954 Universal’s horror films returned to popularity.
With the success of Creature from the Black Lagoon (directed by Jack Arnold in 1954) the revived “Universal Horror” franchise would gain a whole new generation of fans. The original movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein were re-released as double features in many theatres, before eventually premiering on syndicated American television in 1957 as part of the famous Shock Theater package of Universal Monster Movies, the Hammer versions were also popular and, in turn, sparked renewed interest in the “originals”. Soon dedicated magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland would help propel these movies into lasting infamy. Universal spent the last half of the decade issuing a number of one-shot monster films. By the early 1960s the original monsters were merchandised in the form of toys , model kits and licensed t-shirts.
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Svengoolie has been the premiere horror show icon of Chicago, since multiple Emmy award winner Rich Koz became the hand-picked successor to the original Svengoolie back in the late 70s. Since then, generations of viewers have become fans of the monstrous mirth and movies that this video vampire dispenses every week over the airwaves!
Only Svengoolie brings you the classic Universal horror films, many of which have not been seen on broadcast television in years! Check out his website HERE.