This is the first in a series showing the reference material (mostly stills) for monster mag cover art. While most cover paintings are copied from very familiar movie stills (and some completely original), there are a number of them that are a bit of a mystery.
FIRST UP IS HORROR MONSTERS No. 7
It's obviously The Phantom of the Opera, but which Phantom is it? Although it says on the cover that it's Lon Chaney, it obviously isn't he. Some have thought it is the James Cagney make-up from the Chaney biopic, but it isn't that, either. What it is, is this guy.
Unfortunately, that doesn't solve the mystery. Is it a guy in a mask? Is it a make-up? Is it from some obscure horror movie? Nobody seems to know! Mask experts don't recognize it as being from any mask line, so it must be a make-up, but for what?
The photo was published in Horror Monsters and was part of a stills set that they sold (see ad), but no other photos of this Phantom have ever turned up and you have to wonder why they would have gone to all the trouble to create this, just for a still, when a Chaney still would have done just as well. If you have the answer to this mystery, please leave a comment.