So I know just last week I posted a tribute to Bruce Campbell in honor of his birthday. Trust me, I don’t plan on being the culture wedge guy who just posts about people’s birthdays, but I couldn’t NOT make a post about Ray Harryhausen. The stop motion animator/special effects master turns 91 (!!) years old today.
Inspired by future mentor Willis O’Brien’s stop motion effects work on King Kong, Harryhausen went on to be the leading man in effects up until the 80s, with classics such as Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and Clash of the Titans on his resume. Once movies like Star Wars and Alien came along, there wasn’t much room for stop motion anymore. The medium of effects had evolved beyond that when advanced animatronics and CGI came around. But his stop motion is still breathtaking to this day and his films still manage to capture the imaginations of people of all ages.
Since I was a kid who was obsessed with giant monsters and science fiction, its hard for me to imagine what it would have been like to grow up WITHOUT Harryhausen’s movies to fuel my imagination.
Without Harryhausen, there may not have ever been directors like Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, James Cameron, and Guillermo del Toro or effects wizards like Stan Winston, Rick Baker, or Rob Bottin or great animators like Nick Park and Henry Selick.
On that note, here is the trailer for the upcoming documentary, Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan. It includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Edgar Wright, Ray Bradbury, John Lasseter, Simon Pegg, Joe Dante, Terry Gilliam and many more badasses who were inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s fantastic films.
“If not for Ray’s effective contribution to the collective dreamscape, we would not be who we are.”- James Cameron
I’m not a huge Cameron fan, but I felt that quote not only described the artists and directors that Harryhausen influenced, but also myself. His movies had a big impact on me growing up. Thanks for the great, imaginative movies, Ray.