The History of Universal Horror

In this podcast series we uncover the history of Universal Horror! We chart the evolution of their legendary monsters - Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Frankenstein Monster, the Invisible Man, The Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

In this opening chapter we learn how Universal began and examine the evolution of its horror films, discussing silent hits such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera and The Cat and the Canary.

In the second chapter we look at the great flowering of Universal Horror in 1931, the year that saw the release of firstly Dracula starring Bela Lugosi and then Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff. We also discuss the little seen but rather excellent Spanish language version of Dracula too!

In our third chapter we unleash the terrors of 1932! This year saw Universal release three new fright flicks - searching for a third horror hit to join their blockbusters Dracula and Frankenstein. Murders in the Rue Morgue had Bela Lugosi bringing Poe's classic tale to the screen. In The Old Dark House director James Whale brought us a blackly comic gothic tale. While The Mummy saw the birth of a new movie monster and another iconic role for Boris Karloff!

The mid 1930s brings madness and mysteries galore! Universal explore The Secret of the Blue Room and The Secret of the Chateau, and introduce us to The Invisible Man and The Man Who Reclaimed His Head! Plus Karloff and Lugosi team up for the first time in another Poe adaption The Black Cat!

In this chapter we have real life reanimation experiments in Life Returns, meet the Werewolf of London and the Bride of Frankenstein!

In this chapter we look at the last movies of the first Universal horror cycle. Firstly The Raven, another Poe inspired movie pairing Karloff and Lugosi, then proto science-fiction horror in The Invisible Ray, and finally meet Dracula's Daughter!

The first phase of our history of Universal horror draws to close with the great Horror Hiatus of the 1930s - the strange period of cinema history where Hollywood stopped making horror movies! We examine the causes behind it all, untangle the history of horror censorship, and investigate the alleged ban on horror films in the UK in 1930s!

A fresh chapter of Universal Horror history! In this episode we examine what happened during the great horror hiatus and how the horror film was resurrected once more!

In this chapter we discover the story behind Son of Frankenstein (1939)! This movie gave us one of the most remarkable resurrections in film history, not just reviving the Universal Frankenstein saga, but also spawning a new era of horror movies!

In this episode we look at the first movies in the second wave of Universal horror - ghostly revenge in The House of Fear, medieval murders in The Tower of London, and more mad science mayhem in The Invisible Man Returns!

Exploring the origins and evolution of mummies in horror
Uncovering the history of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and related aquatic horrors
How the werewolves of folklore transformed into a modern day monster
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