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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for our latest home video recommendation from film critic Bob Mondello. This week, Bob gets ahead of the Halloween curve with an eight-disk classic monster's collection from Universal Pictures.

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BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: This scene is not in the novel "Frankenstein."

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) Oh, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive. It's alive.

MONDELLO: No electrifying the creature with lightning, no ecstatic doctor's cry. Purists will tell you Mary Shelley created Frankenstein's monster, but the 1931 movie is what brought him to life. And he and his creature-feature buddies Dracula, Mummy, Wolfman, Phantom and Invisible Man returned the favor by giving Universal Pictures a new lease on life, also by turning folks like Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi into huge stars.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) Listen to them. Children of the night, what music they make.

MONDELLO: This collection includes eight monster movies, mostly featuring surprisingly empathetic creatures like the one in the Black Lagoon, who's just minding his own business.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (As character) Whatever the species might be, if you let it alone, it won't bother you.

MONDELLO: But a couple are cranks like Invisible Man, who's definitely looking for attention.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) I'll show you who I am and what I am.

(LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: The monsters' staying power stems not from how monstrous they were, but from how human Universal made them. Of course, it helped that while they seem kind of quaint now, for their day, they were downright terrifying.

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MONDELLO: The eight-disk set has 12 hours of extras, including a documentary that puts 1930s monstrousness in context, a look at early monster makeup and pre-digital special effects, and a host of Dracula extras including an alternate Philip Glass soundtrack.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (As character) I had a frightened dream a few nights ago.

MONDELLO: And an entire second movie because while director Todd Browning was putting Bela Lugosi and the English cast through their paces during the day...

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) I am Dracula.

MONDELLO: A Spanish director and cast were shooting the same scenes on the same sets at night.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As character) Soy Dracula.

(As character) (Speaking foreign language).

MONDELLO: Hollywood Gothic eventually went out of fashion. By the late 1950s, audiences saw it as old hat. But in this collection, you can see the seeds it planted. Universal kept trying to scare the yell out of audiences for decades in "Psycho," "Jaws," "Hellboy," "Jurassic Park," but never with more finesse than in the eight films in this classic monsters collection. I'm Bob Mondello.

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