In the 1940s Universal Pictures produced a series of highly-popular monster movies. Some of these (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster) were based on classic literature, while others were inspired by legends (The Wolf Man, The Mummy).

Known as the "Universal Monsters", these characters cross-pollinated into films that featured several at once, eventually turning into self-parody (such as 1948's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein). The later original creation The Creature from the Black Lagoon (aka The Gill Man) is the only official Universal Monster to be featured in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 production (Experiment #801 Revenge of the Creature).

Several of the actors who appeared in these movies played multiple characters across the many projects in which they were involved. Viewers may find it interesting to note that one of the most iconic of the Universal Monsters Actors - Boris Karloff - has not appeared in any film used by Mystery Science Theater 3000 or its corollary productions (as of February 2019).

More recently, Universal attempted to revive the Universal Monsters in a multi-picture franchise (similar to Marvel and DC Comics' superhero franchises). The first offering - 2017's The Mummy - was not well-received. It remains to be seen if Universal will continue this effort.

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