One great memory I have from when I was real little - this goes back to around 1976 or so - is the old canning cellar my grandma had down in her basement. With a door to it straight out of The Evil Dead, this room was 'the forbidden zone' for my older brother and me. If you were brave enough to actually open the creaky door, the room had a single light-bulb with a string hanging down in the center of the room. We would dare each other to dash in and turn on the light (knowing full well the other brother would try to slam the door shut, leaving us to instant annihilation by the ghouls lurking in the shadows or, more likely, dropping stone dead from fright).
The best part of this room, however, were the models. My grandmother, never one to be overly sentimental - and definitely NOT the type to keep creepy monsters around - for some reason held on to my Uncle Chris's Universal Monsters models (I'm not an expert on the subject, but I believe these models were from around 1963 or so). Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Creature From the Black Lagoon - these plastic works of art both terrified and fascinated my young mind. Whenever we'd visit my grandparents I would try to resist the allure of these mini sculptures, but without fail I would find myself down in my grandmother's basement, standing at 'The Door,' my heart pounding and a lump in my throat.
Still to this day I hold the classic line-up of Universal Monsters in high regard - with all other monster movies paling in comparison to those great films from the Silver Age of horror. The above experience is probably why. As for the models, I don't know what ever happened to that evil line-up, but I sure wish I had them today - they'd probably be worth a mint.
Picture courtesy of: www.universalmonsterarmy.com