Abbott & Costello Meet the Monsters Collection
2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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This is a two-disc collection featuring Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953), and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955).
While I already owned the Frankenstein movie as a part of the Frankenstein Legacy set, it’s good to see all of these movies in one collection. They’ve all been available on DVD previously but in various other box sets. Surprisingly, these four movies were collected and released on Laser Disc in 1994 under the exact same title as part of a 3-disc set!
What I wish they would’ve included was Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. I know it’s not based on a Universal Monster, but it is a Universal horror comedy and features Universal’s most popular horror icon. Seems like a no-brainer to have included it here as a bonus movie. 1941’s Hold That Ghost would’ve been another good choice for Abbott & Costello horror comedy completists!
Anyway, if you want my thoughts on the Mummy movie, click here. As for the rest, it’s a case of diminishing returns. The Frankenstein movie is rightfully considered a comedy classic. It’s good but it does make me a bit sad to see the monsters played for laughs. It’s almost like it’s mocking them. I don’t consider this canon at all in the Universal Monsters universe!
When Abbott & Costello meet the Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde but affairs are passable but nothing exceptional. At least …Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde features Boris Karloff in the role of Dr. Jekyll. Unfortunately, it was a stuntman who played the role of Mr. Hyde. Also, that film seemed a bit more straight-forward. There were long scenes that didn’t feature Abbott or Costello (unless I missed it, I don’t think they appeared until 10 minutes or so into the movie) and the jokes were sparse.
By the way, it’s interesting to note that the only time Universal took a crack at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was in an Abbott & Costello movie. Then again, seems like every studio but Universal had tried some variation of the novel, so maybe that’s why Universal had stayed away.
I like to imagine that if the comedy duo’s popularity hadn’t dwindled and Universal hadn’t dropped them, we’d probably have gotten Bud and Lou interacting with the likes of the Phantom of the Opera and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Frankenstein movie is essential viewing while the rest are merely a decent way to waste your time, but I can’t imagine any hardcore Universal Monster fan (such as myself) not wanting to have any of these movies in their collection.