Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen 1920-2013

Today the cinematic community has suffered a great loss.  Ray Harryhausen has passed away at the age of 92.  The man's service to special effects, animation and fantastic cinema is inestimable.  Ever since he was a kid, he was constantly playing around with camera trickery.  This never ceased through his adult career.  All the films he worked on were somehow shaped, visually by him.  Ray would plan and sketch out any number of exciting illustrations for proposed scenes in the film.  Whether it was the fiendish Hydra from Jason and the Argonauts (1963), or the Kraken in Clash of the Titans (1981), everyone agrees that Ray made those creatures the stars of the films.  He even developed Dynamation, which was an extremely innovative process for integrating stop motion animation and live action, among other effects.  Most impressive was that Ray did all of this stop motion animation on his own, from designing and fabricating the puppets, to filming them.   Even though he never directed any of the films he worked on (save for short films early in his career), everyone remembers those movies as "Ray Harryhausen films".  He was always held in high esteem by his colleagues and is fortunately well known for his work.  I myself have admired him since I was a kid.  Farewell, Ray, you will be missed sorely.

I've posted this video here before, but if you haven't seen any of his stuff before, (you probably have and didn't know it) this is a great collection of all his monsters: