A documentary examining the early days of horror films, particularly those crafted at Universal Studios during the 1930s.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Himself / Interview
Carla Laemmle ...
Himself / interview
Sara Karloff ...
Herself / interview
David J. Skal ...
Forrest J. Ackerman ...
Himself / interview (as Forrest Ackerman)
Himself (archive footage)
Herself / interview
Herself / interview
Anne Carré ...
Herself / interview
Nicholas Webster ...
Lupita Tovar ...
Herself / interview


A documentary examining the early days of horror films, particularly those crafted at Universal Studios during the 1930s.

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Release Date:

8 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terror Universal  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Included on the 2014 Universal DVD of Dracula (1931) See more »


Features King Kong (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Start for those New to Universal
29 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Universal Horror (1998) *** 1/2 (out of 4)

This Kevin Brownlow documentary has Kenneth Branagh doing the narration as we're told the history of the Universal Studios monsters. The documentary clocks in at just over ninety-minutes and if you're unfamiliar with the studio and their monsters then it's certainly a must see.

We get interviews with historians as well as people who actually worked at the studio and in some cases in the monster movies themselves. The likes of Ray Bradbury, Nina Foch, James Karen, Carla Laemmle, Sara Karloff, Gloria Stuart, David J. Skal, Fay Wray and Lupita Tovar among others are interviewed for the documentary.

Again, I think the people unfamiliar with the studio are going to be the ones who enjoy this the most since the story is aimed more at people who might not be experts on the studio and the films. I say this because the documentary mainly looks at the higher known pictures like Dracula, FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE WOLF MAN. Yes, the sequels as well as some of the other films are discussed but the documentary doesn't go into great detail about some of the smaller or lesser known pictures.

Still, the interviews are certainly priceless today as many of the people here are now deceased so getting to hear their thoughts on the studio will be great for history. I did have a few issues with the film including the fact that a good portion of the start takes a look at Lon Chaney who wasn't a Universal star. There's no doubt he was important to the genre but I would have preferred hearing more about the lesser known Universal horror films over Chaney and his work at MGM.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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