Monday, October 17, 2011

Jason and the Argonauts (1963): Talos

When I was growing up, my interest in fantasy and adventure was jump started when I saw this 1963 Greek mythology classic. Made famous because of its marvelous stop-motion creature effects by Ray Harryhausen. The monster in this film which frightened me the most wasn't the hydra or the skeleton warriors, it was the bronze behemoth, Talos.
When he's first encountered, Talos is atop a "treasure trove of the gods" but appears only as one of many enormous statues. This scene was incredibly mysterious and awe inspiring and still produces wonder in me today. Bernard Herrmann's music is perfect for the primal, savage land of ancient Greece. Talos himself has a pretty awesome entrance, creaking to life and terrorizing the Argonauts. In fact, I think that Talos is one of the most perfect monsters to be done in stop-motion.
The inherently jerky motions are well suited for a mechanical fiend and the metallic sounds emanating from him complete his menace. I was definitely creeped out as a kid when I saw Talos bleeding that boiling blood of his. The spectacular monster is given a spectacular end as he cracks and falls apart (a precursor to the death of Harryhausen's Kraken in Clash of the Titans (1981)). If only poor Hylas (John Cairney) had gotten out the way of the falling Talos...

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