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Universal Horror Collection, Volume Five: The Monster and The Girl (1941), Captive Wild Woman (1943), Jungle Woman (1944), Jungle Captive (1945)

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Universal Horror Collection, Volume Five

Men and women in ape suits?  Yes, please!

The Universal Horror Collection returns with even more mad scientists, crazed apes, and wild women!  Woot, woot!  I’ve been excited for this release since it was originally announced and, with a few short months of waiting, Scream Factory’s ongoing release of the Universal Horror Collection flows into the  film noir territory with four more horror titles seeing High Definition for the first time ever.  

"Scream Factory’s ongoing release of the Universal Horror Collection flows into the  film noir territory with four more horror titles seeing High Definition for the first time ever."


 

Mad, mad science meets trumps fiction right off the bat in the fifth release in the Universal Horror Collection sets. What’s not to love about this collection of Ape Man and Ape Woman flicks? Absolutely nothing at all and the proof is Scream Factory's new 2K scanned release of the films that make up the Universal Horror Collection, Volume Five.

Okay, so director Stuart Heisler’s 1941 The Monster and The Girl might not be up to The Wolf Man-like standards, but its hair-raising tale of an organist who gets executed and his brain gets transplanted into an ape’s body is pretty damn exciting AND unexpected.  

With some film noir elements sprinkled throughout, we witness an organist named Scot Webster (Philip Terry) - whose sister, Susan (Ellen Drew), winds up involved with some gangsters led by W. S. Bruhl (Paul Lukas) - take the fall for a crime that he’s not guilty of.  Happens all the time in Hollywood horrors, right?  While the film takes too much time in the courtroom, it completely makes up for it after he is executed. {googleads}

But the twist here is that Scot, whose consciousness is kept alive in the gorilla’s skull, absolutely remembers all those who did him wrong and, in the guise of an ape, he takes out his revenge and turns into a killing machine.

And that’s only the first mad movie in this set!  There are three more marvels to witness as David Carradine turns all Mad Scientist and brings forth the beauty of Aguanetta!

The second film, Captive Wild Woman, directed by Edward Dmytryk in 1943, features David Carradine as a mad scientist who has more than a passing interest in what Fred Mason (Milburn Stone) has brought back from his safari; a gorilla named Cheela (Ray Corrigan).  What follows is an insane feature that has the crazed doctor stealing the ape, turning her into a sexy siren (Acquanetta), and giving her the dynamic brain of his assistant (Fay Helm).  Insane as it is, the film pulls the concept off and remains focused as the Whipple Circus comes to town!

The third film in the set, Jungle Woman, is the sequel to Captive Wild Woman and sees the Paula Dupree (Acquanetta) character being resurrected by Dr. Carl Fletcher (J. Carrol Naish) and it’s up to the doctor's daughter, Joan (Lois Collier), and her fiancé, Bob Whitney (Richard Davis), to put an end to his wicked, wicked ways.  Paula and Cheela are one and the same?!  You don’t say!Universal Horror Collection, Volume Five

The Cheela saga continues in the final film of the set, Jungle Captive.  Directed by Harold Young in 1945, Jungle Captive begins with a scientist named Stendahl (Otto Kruger) dabbling with electricity as he brings a dead rabbit to life.  His two assistants, Ann Forester (Amelita Ward) and her fiancé Don Young (Phil Brown), remain innocent as he takes on the task of reanimating Cheela (now played by Vicky Lane).  Thanks to Moloch (Rondo Hatton), the corpse of the Ape Woman is now in his hands.  Of course, his antics have also aroused the suspicions of the police and Inspector Harrigan (Jerome Cowan) isn’t clowning around.

Pre-Code Hollywood fascinates me.  There are a lot of grand and wonderful films reflecting the true culture of the time period from 1930 – 1934.  Man, it must have been a wild time. These films, featuring strong sexual innuendos, different races mingling together, strong female characters, lots of skin, malicious murders, and horrors upon horrors of grisly situations still resonate.  But, in the years that followed the Pre-Code era, the studios continued to experiment with horror themes and dabbled, as seen in this collection, in some bizarre science fiction elements, seeing just how far the audience would let them go when it comes to breaking laws and bending science fact to bring about some crazy sex changes and ape-themed killers.

The highlights in this set might be the brains of David Carradine and the beauty of Aquanetta, but it is my sincere hope that this series continues!

5/5 stars

Universal Horror Collection, Volume Five

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory!
Available on Blu-ray
- June 16, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.37:1, 1.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; four-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Volume 5 of the Universal Horror Collection includes four tales of terror from the archives of Universal Pictures, the true home of classic horror. A mobster's brain is transplanted into an ape who carries out his revenge in The Monster And The Girl. A mad scientist turns an ape into a beautiful, but deadly woman in Captive Wild Woman. Jungle Woman, the sequel to Captive Wild Woman, is an eerie thriller with all the danger of wild animals on the loose and a sexy killer on the prowl! And in Jungle Captive, a scientist has experimented on re-animating animals ... but now he has decided to go one step further and re-animate a human!

Video:

With new 2K scans, these films – all in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio - have been preserved as best as possible, considering the fire that wiped out a lot of Universal’s catalog of classics.  The black-and-white photography is ripe with details and depth, highlighting the scope of the productions. There are lots of sumptuous looks at city-scapes, houses, laboratories, and swamps, too.  Interiors are solid, too, with lots of strong details. The cast and their faces are perfectly captured by the black and white photography; lines and imperfections add great character to the individual stories, too.

Audio:

All titles come with strong English 1.0 DTS-HD MA tracks to help create the spooky moods needed for a total enjoyment of these flicks.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are FOUR wonderful commentaries on each of these discs.  Stay tuned for the breakdowns in the special features.

Special Features:

Scream Factory, once again, does hounds of horror a solid with this release.  Watch the movies, but stick around for the VERY informative commentaries!

DISC ONE: THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL

  • NEW 2K Scan Of A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Tom Weaver And Steve Kronenberg

DISC TWO: CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian/Author Tom Weaver
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

DISC THREE: JUNGLE WOMAN

  • NEW 2K Scan Of A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian Gregory William Mank
  • Still Gallery

DISC FOUR: THE JUNGLE CAPTIVE 

  • NEW 2K Scan Of A Fine Grain Film Element
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian Scott Gallinghouse
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

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Universal Horror Collection, Volume Five

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