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"Feast your eyes, glut your soul on my cursed ugliness!!"

Ah, yes, with that famous line of dialogue, the era of Universal Horror movies truly kicked off, as the hideous face of the Phantom of the Opera was finally revealed in all its terrible glory!  I remember the first time I saw that scene; I was just a kid, and although I had begun my fascination with the classic monsters, seeing them as less scary and more like companions, the face of the Phantom still had power to run chills down my spine.  The image of it burned into my brain and has never left.



I think a large part of my fascination with the character, beyond the amazing makeup developed by Lon Chaney, lay also in the rarity of a screening of the film.  Creature Feature regularly showed any number of classic films featuring Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, etc, but those were all movies with sound.  The original Phantom being silent meant it was never going to be shown on those Saturday afternoon tv shows... I only knew about it through books and magazines featuring s…
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Of skeletons and dungeons...

In 1966, Aurora produced the last of its large scale monster model kits. It was number 13 in the line (a fitting number, indeed!), and was a departure from what they had established in the line so far.  James Warren, publisher of Famous Monsters magazine, had approached Aurora with the idea of producing a kit that would be connected with the magazine, and would feature the magazine's logo on the box cover.  In exchange, Warren would heavily advertise the kit in his monster magazines.  The idea was a classic: a forgotten skeletal prisoner, languishing away in a moldering dungeon setting.


 The difference from the previous kits was its lack of a connection to any established monster film franchise,which made it unique among the kits (although it could be argued that the Salem Witch had no direct connection, either, to any film).  Another stand out feature of the kit was the inclusion of a wall "set piece" to create a mini diorama, something the other kits lacked, as well. …