Ray Harryhausen R.I.P.


Stop motion effects master Ray Harryhausen died today of the age of 92. He started his film career with   MIGHTY JOE YOUNG and became a special effects technician with IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA. His first PEPLUM film was THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, which became a big hit and forever changed the Sinbad character as someone who battles monsters and sorcerers, not just a sailor conquering women across the 7 seas. His next big Sword & Sandal project was JASON & THE ARGONAUTS and later in the 1970s with THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER. He returned to Greek mythology with CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981), which featured, without a doubt, his greatest creation, the Medusa (pictured above), among other fantastic characters populating that film which would be his last feature length film. I saw COTT when it was released back in the day and the Medusa was truly memorable!

His creations inspired an entire generation of moviegoers AND fx aficionados movie-makers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg whom went on, on their own terms, to change the face of cinema as we know, for better or for worse. As a side note (I know it might not be the best time for this...) Ray was always opinionated (like moi) and never shied away from sharing his thoughts. He often said he hated Italian PEPLUM films (gasp!) and also hated Godzilla (double gasp...who hates Godzilla?!?)! But there's no denying his work was often inspired. He's also one of the few faces we can attach to a special effects technician from the world of movie-making. Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra are others. How many current special effects technicians working in Hollywood, with all that CGI stuff, are as well known? Hmm...

2 comments:

Michael O'Sullivan said...

RIP indeed, to another maestro of cinema who lived to a good age, like ace photographer Jack Cardiff a year or so ago ...

I only recently discovered his Kerwin Matthews films, THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER being particularly brilliant, and 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD. Every holiday season here the original CLASH OF THE TITANS is aired, and we enjoy it all over again. MYSTERIOUS ISLAND is terrific too .... those films marvellously mixed great casts with those terrific effects, ok some of them look a bit cheesy now in this CGI age, but for their time were ground-breaking.

Richard Svensson said...

This man influenced my life more than any other person in pop culture. We shall never see his like again.