Farewell to the King of Stop-Motion Monsters

May 8, 2013 by dracs

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Special effects legend Ray Harryhausen sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 92.


Ray Harryhausen was one of the foremost proponents of stop-motion effects, used in conjunction with live action actors, and is responsible for some of the most well known fantasy monsters of the fantasy films from the 50's through to the 80's.

His films include many classics, such as the original Clash of Titans and my own personal favourite, Jason and the Argonauts.

Jason and the Argonauts

Harryhausen was reportedly inspired to pursue stop-motion animation after seeing the film King Kong when he was 13 years old. He has in turn influenced and inspired many other film makers, including Steven Spielburg, as well as inspiring a love of fantasy in audiences everywhere.

For many of us, even those of us who were not around when his films were first released, Harryhausen's films were some of our first experiences of epic fantasy. One of my own most vivid memories is of hiding behind the sofa when the skeletons sprung out of the ground in Jason and the Argonauts.

His influence does not end at films and even extends to the hobby of tabletop gaming. Many monster designs can be seen as inspired by Ray's own menagerie of stop-motion creatures, while gaming company Crooked Dice have even made a set of rules for their game 7TV which allows players to recreate the kind of epic fantasy and Harryhausen's effects were known for.

All in all it is clear that Ray Harryhausen was a legend, not just in the field of special effects, but in cinema in general who will hopefully continue to inspire new fans of myths and monsters long after his death.

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