The global popular cultural significance of the 1930s and 1940s Universal movie monsters cannot be understated. These films were smash hits that, despite the efforts of censorial prigs on both sides of the Atlantic, created a huge fan base within the moviegoing public.
With the huge success of Creature from the Black Lagoon, in 1954, the revived “Universal Horror” franchise gained a whole new generation of fans. The original movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein were being re-released as double features in many theatres, before eventually premiering on syndicated American television in 1957 (as part of the famous Shock Theater package of Universal Monster Movies); the Hammer versions were also popular and, in turn, sparked renewed interest in the “originals”.
Soon dedicated magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland would help propel these movies into lasting infamy.
By the early 1960s the original monsters were merchandised in the form of toys and model kits, the most famous of which were from the now-defunct Aurora Company.
By the late 1970s, Universal monsters iconography was everywhere, even in the form of the lunch boxes and thermos flasks pictured above.
In 1982, Halloween scream queen star Jamie Lee Curtis presented John Landis’ oddly-titled Coming Soon trailer compilation of old horrors, which also includes a tribute to Universal monsters and the extended Psycho trailer:
Meanwhile, as the 1980s progressed, Universal movie monsters franchising continued, albeit at a slower pace…
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