Universal Horror is a documentary about the great era of classic monster movies that were made at Universal Studios during the 1930s. This era is generally agreed upon as beginning with the Bela Lugosi Dracula (1931) and the Boris Karloff Frankenstein (1931) – although the documentary traces the beginnings to much earlier with the Lon Chaney [Sr] versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925), as well as the Old Dark House classic The Cat and the Canary (1927). The documentary charts in depth the classics that came out at Universal under Carl Laemmle Jr during this era, covering the likes of Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), The Old Dark House (1932), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Black Cat (1934), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). Although one does feel that the title is somewhat of a misnomer. While the film tells a history of Universal Studios during this era and discusses the Laemmle family in detail, it does also move out beyond the mandate of strictly Universal horrors to discuss works from other studios such as MGM’s The Unknown (1927), Paramount’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Island of Lost Souls (1932), RKO’s King Kong (1933) and Warner Brothers’ Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and even personalities who never made any Universal horrors such as Fritz Lang and Kong co-director Merian C. Cooper.
Kenneth Branagh (Narrator). With: Forrest J. Ackerman, Turhan Bey, Ray Bradbury, Arianne Cipes Ulmer, Curtis Harrington, Rose Hobart, Gloria Jean, James Karen, Sara Karloff, Carla Laemmle, Curt Siodmark, David J. Skal, Gloria Stuart, Lupita Tovar, Fay Wray