Universal Monsters Legacy Collection DVD's/Busts
Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein

When it comes to Universal Monsters, there's monsters, then there's MONSTERS.  The big three have always been Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman.  While they may or may not be your favorites, you have to admit they have the greatest longevity and influence.

A new DVD 'legacy' collection has been released for these three guys.  Each one has a two disk DVD set, with several classic films covering each character, and some special extras.  The Dracula DVD set comes with Dracula, the Spanish language version of Dracula, Dracula's Daughter, Son of Dracula, and House of Dracula.  The Wolfman DVD includes The Wolfman, Werewolf of London, She-Wolf of London and Frankenstein meets the Wolfman.  And the Frankie DVD comes with Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein and House of Frankenstein.  That's 13 unique films all together, and each also include a special behind-the-scenes interview with Stephen Sommers (the director of Van Helsing) on how the films effected and influenced him.

Now, you can buy these DVD's individually.  Or you can get the super duper, whoopty whooper, alley ooper version that includes all three DVD sets, PLUS three special mini-busts sculpted by Mat Falls and the creative team at Sideshow Toys.  This DVD gift set is a terrific deal, and is the subject of tonight's review. 

BTW, if you're looking for a place to hang and discuss Sideshow products, check out the Sideshow Collector's message boards.  They have a lot of excellent conversation, and several of the Sideshow folks read and post as well!

Packaging - ***1/2
The only thing holding this package back from a solid four stars is it's rather plain appearance.  It matches up with the colors of the DVD keep cases, but it's still fairly dull.  However, it shows off both the DVD's and the busts extremely well, and uses a creative window layout to manage it.  It's also completely collector friendly, and you can also use the foam insert to display the busts if you're so inclined.

Sculpting - Dracula ***1/2; Frank, Wolfman ****
Do you own the sixth scale Dracula, Frankenstein or Wolfman from Sideshow?  Then you've seen these head sculpts before!  Obviously, the work from the neck down is new, but the heads are exactly the same as the 12" figures.

Okay, not quite exact.  These are clearly the same sculpts, down to the location of every wrinkle.  But these also show off the clear advantages that polystone has over your basic plastic figure.

The sculpt here is much better defined, with greater detail and depth.  That makes the sculpts even more life-like, and improves on what were already great likeness.

The work on the lower half of the busts is excellent, with lots of detail, great scale, and an extremely attractive and appropriate design to the base.  I particularly like the use of the original fonts and design for the name plates on the front of each base.

These busts are smaller than some folks might expect, but after hearing people say they were small, I was actually surprised by their size.  They aren't nearly as small as I'd expected, because of the height of the bases.  The stand about the same height as the Gentle Giant Star Wars busts, but the head and shoulders are smaller, since half the height is made up of the stone base.

Paint - ***1/2
While not quite perfect, the paint ops are well above average.  There's a few spots that could have had been a little better, like the definition between the white tie and red sash on Drac, but overall there is little or no bleed, clean, well defined lines, and nice small detail work.

The DVD's - ***
I've heard some complaints about the quality of the transfer on these films, but I've also heard others say there was no problem.  I compared The Wolfman with the release of the same movie with the Universal Monsters Legendary collection from a few years ago.

I didn't notice any difference, and while these films are far from perfect, with plenty of scratches and imperfections, this pressing didn't appear any different to me than the earlier one.

These are some great films as well, including classics like Werewolf of London, House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein.  It's a great opportunity to own these, particularly if you missed out on the earlier releases.  I can't say I'd recommend buying the DVD's individually without the busts, but if you're looking for the whole shebang, this is the way to go.

Value - ****
If you're a fan of these films, this is a tremendous value.  I'd give them extra stars in this category if I could.

Consider this - each of these three DVD's sells for twenty bucks at Target.  Let's say you try to cheap it out by going on-line, and hit Deep Discount DVD.  They have them for $22 each!  So you're looking at sixty bucks for all three dvd's no matter how you cut it.

Here, you can pick up the entire set, all three films PLUS three extremely nice mini-busts for just $56 AND free shipping!  That is an amazing, eye popping, heart pounding good deal!

Overall - ***1/2
I knew in advance what movies I was getting, but I was pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness of the keep cases, collector friendliness of the packaging, and overall high quality of the busts.  While these busts certainly aren't large, they are a great value considering you're pretty much getting them free with the purchase of the three DVD sets.

Where to Buy - is the place to snag this great deal - but don't delay too long, as it looks like the time to shipment is getting longer, which usually means stock is low.  Just search for 'legacy collection'.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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