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!

1940 was a year for returning horror stars and brand new sequels! In this podcast we look at Black Friday starring Karloff and Lugosi, and The House of Seven Gables with Vincent Price. Plus, meet new monster Kharis in The Mummy's Hand, and hook up with The Invisible Woman!

In this chapter we look at a landmark year for Universal horror - 1941 - the year that brought us the first appearances of Lon Chaney Jnr. , Evelyn Ankers and the men the monsters feared... Abbott & Costello! In this show, we discuss Man-Made Monster, Horror Island, The Black Cat with Basil Rathbone and Bela Lugosi, and Hold That Ghost!

In this chapter we look at one of the most seminal horror movies ever made - The Wolf Man (1941). Starring Lon Chaney Jnr., Evelyn Ankers, Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, and Maria Ouspenskaya, this is the movie that redefined werewolves for ever!

Universal are riding high on the success of The Wolf Man, and are launching a record-breaking number of horror movies in 1942, including a new addition to the Frankenstein saga with their newly crowned king of horror, Lon Chaney Jnr. donning the famous square skull and neck bolts!

1942 continues to be a bumper year for Universal, with Kharis rising from the grave once more in the shape of Lon Chaney Jnr. in The Mummy's Tomb, delivering old dark house thrills in Night Monster with Bela Lugosi, and pitting two titans of terror against one another in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man! Plus the great detective Sherlock Holmes, as played by Basil Rathbone, begins a long running series of film adventures at Universal!

1943 was another bumper year for Universal, with a new Phantom of the Opera, Lon Chaney Jnr. taking on the cloak of the Count in Son of Dracula, and a new franchise launching with Captive Wild Woman. Even the adventures of Holmes and Watson were taking an eerie turn...

The horrors of '43 continue with mad science zombies in The Mad Ghoul, an eerie anthology of tales in Flesh & Fantasy, and Holmes tangles with The Spider Woman! Universal also begins another franchise with Calling Dr Death - the first of the Inner Sanctum Mysteries starring Lon Chaney Jnr.

1944 would see another bumper crop of fright flicks released by Universal, with the year opening with fresh instalments in their various franchises - a new Inner Sanctum movie Weird Woman, a chilling new adventure for Holmes and Watson in The Scarlet Claw, and the return of one their original horror characters in The Invisible Man's Revenge!

The frights of '44 continue coming thick and fast from Universal! Ape woman Paula Dupree returns in the Jungle Woman, Kharis walks again in The Mummy's Ghost, Sherlock Holmes is menaced by the Hoxton Creeper while hunting The Pearl of Death, and Boris Karloff goes all mad doctor at the opera in The Climax!

The final frights of 1944 find Lon Chaney Jnr. looking through Dead Man's Eyes, spectral shenanigans in Murder in the Blue Room, Kharis walking for a final time in The Mummy's Curse, and the famous monsters meeting up at the House of Frankenstein!

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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