No Drama Without Synthetic Violence: Ray Harryhausen’s Creatures (Not Monsters!)

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Stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen turns 90 today. It’s a perfect time to appreciate his contributions over more than a half-century. Harryhausen’s parade of creatures—giant squids, gargantuan bees, serpentine genies, sword-wielding skeletons, huge crabs, etc.—have fuelled the nerdy fantasies and stoney dreams of many a Boomer teen.

Although the labor-intensive stop-motion method now seems the quaint realm of the video artiste, we shouldn’t overlook its predominance in the realm of pre-CGI modeling. But putting that aside, as you’ll see in Mat Bergman’s obsessive tribute below, Harryhausen refined the interaction between stop-action models and live-action, which sets him apart from acolytes like Tim Burton  and Henry Selick. Catch the interview as well—Ray’s a truly warm wit.
 

 

 

Written by Ron Nachmann | Discussion