It is about time I've read this old horror classic. I've seen the 1925 Lon Chaney film, The 1943 movie with Claude Rains movie (My favorite even though it is the less horrific and inundated with light operatic moments), the 1962 Hammer film and the film of Webber's musical (My least favorite. I am sure the stage musical was in no way as boring). So I guess I felt the novel wouldn't have anything new to say. I should have known better. It is always best to go to the source. Of all the cinematic efforts, the 1925 movie is closest to the novel. As for the book, in spite of Leroux's dated and melodramatic style I really enjoyed it. It is best to call this tale a romance more than a horror novel, perhaps even a Gothic romance. My only complaint is that the hero Raoul is so wimpy and the phantom so overwhelms him. I was rooting for the phantom and I'm sure that was exactly what the author wanted.