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Ray Harryhausen


This probably the best thing ever: all of Ray Harryhausen’s creatures in chronological order.

First, watch it. Even if you have seen it before, it’s good every time.

The great thing about Ray Harryhausen is that he is an artist with a style that no one could ever match. Not just in the designs of the creatures, but in the way they are animated. We remember talking to Shannon Wheeler once when he was working at Will Vinton’s claymation studio, and he mentioned that doing stop motion animation is surprisingly PHYSICAL work. No one but Harryhausen could have made these monsters and flying saucers and everything else MOVE like this. He was an Astaire, a Kelly, a Jackie Chan, a Bruce Campbell, a visual poet. There will never be anyone like him.

It also makes us feel sad that 95% of all today’s ubiquitous CGI animation, while worked on by very talented craftspeople, has none of this character, none of this flair. It’s bland, generic.

That said, it is funny just how many ways you can make tiny humans poke a monster with a sharp stick.

  1. When I was a kid, Medusa from Clash of the Titans gave me nightmares for months. Thanks for digging up that clip Heidi.

  2. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ray several times. Both of his recent books are treasure troves because he willingly revealed all his secrets and techniques, probably because he knows no one uses them any more and this way his knowledge is preserved for those who appreciate it. In AN ANIMATED LIFE it was amazing to see all of the projects he wanted to do which never got made, including THE WAR OF THE WORLDS before George Pal did it.

  3. Check out Ray’s most recent (2006) film contribution, “She”. The Merian C. Cooper film was one of his and Ray Bradbury’s favorite films. Ray H. designed the color for She as his mentor Cooper would have wanted it. Cooper had to shoot the film in black and white when RKO cut his production budget at the last minute. http:www.rayharryhausen.com.

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