Tuesday, May 7, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

Nerds, film buffs, and, well, everybody... we lost a giant today. A monster. A dinosaur. A grinning skeleton. Actually, tiny armies of ALL those things and so much more. Tentacled beasts and flying saucers. The hands that brought a thousand dreams to life are stilled.

Ray Harryhausen has gone. This will be a deeply sad time for my friend Darrel. I don't think I've ever met anyone who loved Ray Harryhausen and his body of work more than Darrel. And who could blame him?

If you've ever seen Stop Motion Animation in any movie, you probably have Mr. Harryhausen to thank. Because even if he didn't painstakingly, tediously, obsessively create every single frame of the movement of that beast or beauty, then as sure as the Valley of Gwangi he was the guy who inspired the guy that did.

George Lucas has said there wouldn't be a Star Wars without Ray. My fantasy life would be so much the poorer without his pioneering talent and towering imagination.

I'm pretty sure Clash of the Titans was the first of his movies I ever saw, although it could have been One Million Years B.C. instead. Check them out, won't you? You won't be sorry.

But if I have a favourite, it's First Men in The Moon. Those icky, sticky, appalling, enthralling moon monsters (the Selenites) and their chittering maggoty mooncalf. Just... yikes! Good old fashioned nightmare fuel.

May technology never supplant the artistry of one man and his marvelous mind and hands. Thanks for sharing your strange dreams with all of us. It's not enough, but thank you, Mr. Harryhausen.

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