In the 1930s, the relatively new field of horror cinema was dominated by Universal, with its often wonderful monster movies such as Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy. As the Universal movies got campier in the 1940s, not many studios really filled the void. Certainly, the best of 1940s horror came from Val Lewton's pictures for RKO (Cat People, The Leopard Man and others). Fox, on the other hand, did not really have a reputation for horror in this era, as is obvious from the Fox Horror Classics set. That's not to say that they are bad movies, just that I don't know if they are really horror.
Besides being Fox movies, the three movies in this set are also tied together by all being directed by John Brahm. First made of these three - and the closest to being a horror movie - is also the weakest in the set: The Undying Monster. The story deals with the isolated Hammond family that is plagued by a curse that has a monster preying on the male Hammonds over the past few generations. This is a pale imitation of two genres made famous by Universal: the monster movie (particularly the Wolf Man) and the mystery movie (particularly the Sherlock Holmes movies, though Fox was actually the first to do the Rathbone movies). The biggest failing of the movie is the fact that the monster is on screen too infrequently.
Much better is The Lodger, a remake of what was Alfred Hitchcock's first suspense movie. Even if you've watched the older version, however, this one is still fun to watch and substantially different, plotwise. Among the big names in the movie are Merle Oberon and George Sanders, but the star is Laird Cregar who plays the title character. Sadly, Cregar's career was very short (less than a decade) because he steals the show in most of his movies (especially in I Wake Up Screaming, part of the Fox Film Noir series). The movie itself deals with Cregar as Jack the Ripper, taking up residence in a rooming house where his fellow residents begin to suspect he may not be fully on the up-and-up.
Best of all is Hangover Square. In a way, it is a reworking of The Lodger to capitalize on that movie's box office success, with Sanders and Cregar both returning in hero and villain roles respectively. Actually, Cregar is not so much evil as sick, driven under stress to take on a second, homicidal personality; in his lucid moments, however, he is a good guy, a musician who falls for bad girl Linda Darnell, my favorite femme fatale from the 1940s (who, like Cregar, would die at a young age under tragic circumstances). Besides Cregar and Darnell, there is also the great music of Bernard Herrmann that is an essential part of the movie.
The Lodger and Hangover Square fit more in the thriller or mystery category than horror, but that doesn't diminish their quality. Overall, The Undying Monster merits a low three stars, The Lodger four and Hangover Square five. Add to that some special features, most notably commentaries on the Cregar movies and some mini-documentaries on Cregar and Brahm, and this set merits a full five stars. It may not really be a horror set, but Fox Horror Classics is a worthwhile collection of some generally obscure movies.