I just found out that Ray Harryhausen died on Tuesday. Pioneering movie special effects maestro. Remember those stop motion creatures in movies like Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad
? That was Ray. He didn't just create them or animate them, he designed them, did the storyboard, the art direction, script development, choreography, scouted locations. And at the time Hollywood was pretty screwy and the directors got all of his credit until he was officially recognised.
A little tribute:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQp7qza-HRU
His work might be dated by modern standards, but it was state of the art at the time. And I still adore it now, even though it was before my time. I fell in love with Bubo, the mechanical owl in Clash of the Titans
. That kind of stuff is magical to me. And it's only relatively recently that I think special effects have surpassed those old movies. CGI effects always looked so fake and too polished. The really used to lack the 3D presence and gravity of puppets and the old stop motion stuff.
Here's a little compilation of some of his creatures:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9kmjW73-v4
I feel sad, but also kinda happy too because now I've got a good excuse to watch all those movies again. Gonna have a monster mash at the weekend in Ray's honour.
RIP Ray Harryhausen