Robin Pierce OnLine
Addressing the Geek Nation......
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Review
Logan Review
Kong: Skull Island Review
The Good, The Bad and the Fugly 2016
Rogue One Review
Arrival Review
The Doctor Who Merchandise Museum Needs YOUR Help!
Doctor Strange Review
The Suicide Squad Review
X-Men: Apocalypse Review
Captain America: Civil War Review
Friend Request Review
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review
Deadpool Review
2015 - Hits & Misses
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review
Fantastic 4 Review
Terminator: Genisys Review
Jurassic World Review
Jurassic World Review 2 (Sian Smith)
San Andreas/Poltergeist Review
Mad Max: Fury Road Review
Avengers: Age of Ultron Review
Project Almanac Review
Kingsman: The Secret Service Review
Birdman Review
The 2015 Hit List
2014 - Hits and Misses
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles/Interstellar reviews
School of Bitches Interview
Guardians of the Galaxy Review
X-Men: Days of Future Past Review
Godzilla Review
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review
Captain America: Winter Soldier Review
Top 10 Movies 2013
Carrie Review
Jessica Cameron Interview
Kick Ass 2 Review
Pacific Rim Review
The Powergirls
World War Z Review
Man of Steel Review
15-05-08
Iron Man 3 Review
Jack Reacher Review
Silent Hill: Revelation Review
Friends Promotion
Skyfall Review
Brave/The Expendables 2 Reviews
The Dark Knight Rises Review
The Amazing Spider-Man Review
Men in Black 3/Prometheus/Dark Shadows Reviews
Battleship Review
Avengers Review
Jessica Cameron Interview
Red State Review
Bianca Allaine Barnett Interview
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol Review
Jon Mack - Bleeding Edge Interview
The Thing (2011) review
Alice Cooper Concert Oct 30, 2011
Ray Harryhausen 1920-2013
"Willis H. O'Brien started the snowball, then I picked it up, then ILM picked it up and now the computer generation is picking it up. Where it will end, I don't know. Maybe in holography, although I'm not sure I'd like a grotesque monster appearing in 3-D in my living room." - Ray Harryhausen





It’s a sad day indeed for the movie industry and its fans as we salute genre icon and pioneer Ray Harryhausen who passed away today, May 7 2013 at the age of 92.

Incredibly, Harryhausen had been around as long as the sci-fi industry. He and his friends and cohorts the late Forrest J.Ackerman and the late Ray Bradbury were right there at the beginning, organising a science fiction club in Los Angeles in the thirties. Famously, it was Ackerman, literary agent and founder of Famous Monsters of Filmland, who coined the phrase "sci-fi" and that became the personalised plate on his car.

So, as Ackerman became a legendary magazine writer and collector, Bradbury became a legendary author - Harryhausen developed his skill in effects animation, developing the Dynamation process that brought to life the creatures of myth and fable to an audience of imtressionable young fans - myself among them.

My first memory of seeing anything of Harryhausen’s unique style of stop motion animation was Jason and the Argonauts. I must have only been about seven or eight. It was a Thursday night, and I remember we switched channels on the old black and white set we had at that time. As the picture cleared (it took a little while) I remember seeing the bronze giant Talos terrorise the intrepid Argonauts until he was felled by having a plug open in his heel, allowing him to bleed out his life giving lava. Jason and the Argonauts has remained one of my favourite films. I loved that movie before I even saw the skeleton fighting sequence.

Over the years, my interest grew, and I was always fond of seeing seasons of his films shown over Christmas. (Although it has nothing whatsoever to do with the festive season, Jason and the Argonauts remains one of my Yuletide traditions). I have fond memories of seeing The the Selenites in The First Men in the Moon, the cowboys trying to rope a T.Rex in Valley of Gwangi, and the Cyclops from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. They were event movies before the term had even been invented. For me, One Million Years BC was the pinnacle of seeing dinosaurs on the screen right up to the moment I stepped into a preview screening of Jurassic Park. I still have a soft spot for it. When I saw Irwin Allen’s The Lost World, I knew I was seeing lizards with stuck on fins, and was a bit nonplussed. But damn, Harryhausen showed us a pterodactyl - and it even snatched away Raquel Welch as a tasty morsel.

Harryhausen had learned his craft by studying Willis H.O’Brien the effects genius who in 1933 brought Kong to roaring life. Harryhausen worked with him on the sequel Son of Kong and teamed up again with O’Brien to animate the friendly and misunderstood gorilla star of Mighty Joe Young.

After a glittering career, Harryhausen simply retired after Clash of the Titans in 1981 having had enough. His unique process was a one man show in that he would animate his models by moving them a fraction of an inch before shooting a frame of film, laboriously toiling alone to bring those amazing characters to life, giving them personalities and quirks that left a huge and indelible impression on his audience. Watching his films was certainly one of the factors that inspired me to start writing about movies over thirty years ago. Watching a classic ray Harryhausen film (it doesn’t matter who the director was, it’s a Harryhausen film regardless) is still one of my favourite ways of whiling away a rainy winter Sunday afternoon - especially if it has the added bonus of a Bernard Herrmann score.

Rest in Peace, Mr Harryhausen. And a heartfelt thank you for an enduring sense of wonder.
 

Copyright © 2010 - 2013 Robin Pierce. All Rights reserved.

Home
About Me
My Blogs
Features
Cult Corner
Shocktober Film Fest
Archive