The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Arguably the most dramatic single scene in all of horror films is the unmasking of the Phantom from the Lon Chaney Sr. film, The Phantom of the Opera. This diorama depicts that scene when the mask is just pulled off and the Phantom reacts in surprise.
Kit Maker: X-O Facto
Makeup: Following the success of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1923, Chaney was once again given the freedom to create his own make-up as the Phantom, a habit which became almost as famous as the films he starred in. Chaney painted his eye sockets black, giving a skull-like impression to them. He also pulled the tip of his nose up and pinned it in place with wire, enlarged his nostrils with black paint, and put a set of jagged false teeth into his mouth to complete the ghastly deformed look of the Phantom. When audiences first saw The Phantom of the Opera, they were said to have screamed or fainted at the scene where Christine pulls the concealing mask away, revealing his skull-like features to the audience.
Chaney’s appearance as the Phantom in the film has been the most accurate depiction of the title character, based on the description given in the novel, where Erik the Phantom is described as having a skull-like face with a few wisps of black hair on top of his head. As in the novel, Chaney’s Phantom has been deformed since birth, rather than having been disfigured by acid or fire, as in later adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera.
Soundstage 28: The infamous Stage 28, or Phantom of the Opera stage
The unmasking scene which was said to have made theater patrons scream and faint in 1925. The 1930 version is on the left, the original 1925 version on the right.
According to Universal Studios, part of the set from the 1925 film has never been torn down and still stands. Inside soundstage 28, part of the opera house set continues to stand to the side where it was filmed some eight decades ago.