Ray Harryhausen, the beloved creator of dynamation and the driving force behind classics like Jason And The Argonauts, The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad and Clash Of The Titans, has died in London at the age of 92.
Harryhausen’s career in the film industry saw the creations of such memorable creatures as Talos, Medusa, the ‘sixtopus’ from It Came From Beneath The Sea and Mighty Joe Young. His work forever changed the way special effects were created, and inspired legions of filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to Tim Burton and Peter Jackson.
Speaking for myself, I recently looked back at Harryhausen’s work for a piece I was writing, and I was reminded of just how much character and emotion he channelled into his creations. His creatures were not just visually stunning monsters; they were characters themselves, with personality and feelings, and they were made possible by a combination of inspired ingenuity and artistic vision.
Harryhausen’s influence continues to be seen in films from The Lord Of The Rings to Avatar and Coraline, and his name is invoked with the same reverence as directors like Howard Hawks and Orson Welles. His work brought special effects to a level of artistry that brought pleasure and astonishment to generations of audiences, and his legacy will continue to inspire filmgoers for a very long time to come.
“No art is ever lost, or ever will be lost,” he once told SciFiNow. “The puppet show, the marionette show, magic show or any other type of entertainment which has existed for centuries will last for many more to come. If entertainment does what it is supposed to do – entertain – then it will never die.”