The Universal Monsters have never been too far from the hearts of audiences — or the minds of studio heads. It was the 21-year-old Carl Laemmle Jr. who had an obsession with horror movies when he took over Universal Pictures in 1928, and that love led to the greenlighting of such pictures as “Frankenstein” and “Dracula.”
Movies like “The Mummy” and “The Wolf Man” followed. These and other horror movies pushed the boundaries of visual effects and entered new absurdist territory not seen before in films made for wide release. The period forever influenced cinema.
And Universal has never given up on these beloved monsters. The studio has brought them back time and time again for new generations, with projects such as 1999's "The Mummy," 2004's "Van Helsing," and 2010's "The Wolfman."
Now, the studio sees more potential than ever. Tom Cruise stars in this weekend's "The Mummy" — and it's kicking off a combined universe that already has the participation of actors Russell Crowe (Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde), Johnny Depp (The Invisible Man), and Javier Bardem (Frankenstein's monster), among others.
The new universe could introduce the Universal Monsters in the biggest way since they were originally birthed in the '30s and '40s. Whatever happens, the original movies remain classics of cinema and contain some of the best moments ever captured on film.
Here's a look at five of the best moments from Universal's long history of monster movies.
It's Alive! – "Frankenstein," 1931. Director James Whales' "Frankenstein" is still considered the best version of Mary Shelley's 1818 book. The mix of humor and horror made for a film with an energy not yet seen at the time.
The most memorable moment is, of course, when Frankenstein's monster is struck by lightning and brought to life. The manic energy that comes from the voice of the doctor as he exclaims, "It's alive!" is exactly what set this film apart. Part comic, horror, and scientific intrigue, "Frankenstein" helped launch a universe of movie monsters that have survived for over 80 years.
Last Modified: June 7, 2017, 12:11 pm