Universal Studios may be chasing contemporary trends in launching its Dark Universe with the Tom Cruise-starring
reboot, but Universal Monsters have been around for long before all this MCU, DCEU, DDS stuff…near 100 years, in fact! In this week’s gallery, we’re sorting every Universal Monster movie that has at least 20 reviews (qualifying it for a Critics Consensus, included with each image), ranked worst to best by Tomatometer! Mummy
(2008, 12%) The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
With middling CG effects and a distinct lack of fun, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor finds the series past its prime.
(2004, 23%) Van Helsing
A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload.
(2014, 23%) Dracula Untold
Neither awful enough to suck nor sharp enough to bite, Dracula Untold misses the point of its iconic character’s deathless appeal.
(2010, 34%) The Wolfman
Suitably grand and special effects-laden, The Wolfman suffers from a suspense-deficient script and a surprising lack of genuine chills.
(2002, 41%) The Scorpion King
Action adventure doesn’t get much cheesier than The Scorpion King.
(2001, 47%) The Mummy Returns
In The Mummy Returns, the special effects are impressive, but the characters seem secondary to the computer generated imagery.
(1999, 57%) The Mummy
It’s difficult to make a persuasive argument for The Mummy as any kind of meaningful cinematic achievement, but it’s undeniably fun to watch.
(1943, 75%) Phantom of the Opera
Though it lives beneath the 1925 version, Claude Rains plays title character well in this landmark color version of the classic tragedy.
(1953, 81%) It Came From Outer Space
It Came From Outer Space is a pulpy-but-effective psychological sci-fi picture, with a provocative message about xenophobia.
(1954, 84%) Creature From the Black Lagoon
A solid, atmospheric creature feature that entertains without attempting to be deeper than it needs.
(1934, 87%) The Black Cat
Making the most of its Karloff-Lugosi star pairing and loads of creepy atmosphere, The Black Cat is an early classic in the Universal monster movie library.
(1948, 88%) Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches.
(1957, 90%) The Incredible Shrinking Man
A curiously sensitive and spiritual addition to the Universal Monsters line-up, tacking on deep questions about a story who is shrinking to death.
(1925, 91%) The Phantom of the Opera
Decades later, it still retains its ability to scare — and Lon Chaney’s performance remains one of the benchmarks of the horror genre.
(1931, 91%) Dracula
Bela Lugosi’s timeless portrayal of Dracula in this creepy and atmospheric 1931 film has set the standard for major vampiric roles since.
(1939, 91%) Son of Frankenstein
Boris Karloff’s final appearance as the Monster is a fitting farewell before the series descended into self-parody.
(1932, 93%) The Mummy
Relying more on mood and atmosphere than the thrills typical of modern horror fare, Universal’s The Mummy sets a masterful template for mummy-themed films to follow.
(1941, 94%) The Wolf Man
A handsomely told tale with an affecting performance from Lon Chaney, Jr., The Wolf Man remains one of the classics of the Universal horror stable.
(1923, 95%) The Hunchback of Notre Dame
A heart-rending take on the classic book, with a legendary performance by Lon Chaney.
(1933, 100%) The Invisible Man
James Whale’s classic The Invisible Man features still-sharp special effects, loads of tension, a goofy sense of humor, and a memorable debut from Claude Rains.
(1935, 100%) The Bride of Frankenstein
An eccentric, campy, technically impressive, and frightening picture, James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein has aged remarkably well.
(1931, 100%) Frankenstein
Still unnerving to this day, Frankenstein adroitly explores the fine line between genius and madness, and features Boris Karloff’s legendary, frightening performance as the monster.