2/6: The Face of Void – The Phantom of the Opera!
One of my earliest childhood “monster memories” is Lon Chaney, Sr. as Phantom of the Opera. In my earlier 13-part segment on influences that led to Void over the years, Lon Chaney, Sr. was #2 on that list. You can link to that post right here:
While the monstrous face of Chaney’s Phantom filled my young mind, there was an even more frightening version lurking … waiting … for me. Although filmed in 1962, this version (from England’s Hammer Studios) stormed into my life around age 12-13 (early 1970s) and presented a visual image of the Phantom that still haunts me to this day. While legendary Dracula star Christopher Lee was considered to play the lead, the part went to Herbert Lom, who turned in a creepy, masterful performance.
It was this version that led to the final look of my first masked avenger, Jeremiah Bronson, aka The Night Terror, in my 2009 novel, I Know Why the Dogwoods Blush. But the impact of that spooky mask spilled over into the rise of Deacon Void as well.
With this deadly mask as the exterior, it is impossible to have any indication of the face, expression, or mood of the person lurking behind it. It still creeps me out to this day. And so, to some degree, it is Herbert Lom and his horribly scarred visage, hiding behind the mask of the Phantom of the Opera, who plays a major role in the look and feel of the mysterious London-based investigator we know as … VOID!
I am going to teach you to sing, Christine. I am going to give you a new voice! A voice so wonderful that theatres all over the world will be filled with your admirers. You will be the greatest star the opera has ever known. Greater than the greatest! And when you sing, Christine, you will be singing only… for me.
Herbert Lom, Phantom of the Opera (1962)
Coming September 13, 2011, Void 2.8: Team-Up with Scotland Yard!
Coming September 15, 2011, Part 3/6 of The Face of Void: “Put a bandage on that!”