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Creator / Ray Harryhausen

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The master of monsters.

Raymond Frederick "Ray" Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013) was a movie visual effects pioneer and a genius in that field.

Inspired by the works of Willis O'Brien (The Lost World and King Kong most notably), he became the most prominent Stop Motion animator in the film industry from The '50s all the way to The '80s and worked on such classics as Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans, three Sinbad films (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger ), as well as some of the most notable dinosaur films of the pre-Jurassic Park era. A lesser known fact: most of the settings in these films were made using matte painting, another visual effect technique he was a master of.

These adventure movies would often be more showcases for Harryhausen's talent than anything else, and they had several similarities:


Projects Harryhausen Worked On:

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    Comic Books 
  • Several of his classic films have been given Comic Book sequels, or adaptations, which include his original sketches as an extra. These include
    • It Came from Beneath the Sea... Again!
    • 20 Million Miles to Earth
    • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
    • The Elementals - An unproduced Harryhausen Project.


    Live Action TV 
  • Many of his effects were reused in famous television series—most notably The Twilight Zone (1959) reusing his Flying Saucers in "To Serve Man".

    Western Animation 
  • Harryhausen's first gig was making shorts for the Army. Infamously, the short How To Build a Bridge had no visuals of soldiers putting the bridge together, and the superiors worried that the soldiers would think the bridges would build themselves!
  • Harryhausen also did several fairy tale adaptations, but few are of note, as they were fully animated Gumby-style shorts.

Homages and Shout Outs:

    Comic Books 
  • George Pérez cited Harryhausen as a chief inspiration for his Wonder Woman run, most notably in the "Challenge of the Gods" story-arc, where the skeleton-army sequence from Jason and the Argonauts is homaged down to the Hydra-teeth.

  • Army of Darkness features a very Harryhausen-inspired battle sequence with an Army of Skeletons. Some of which were stop motion.
  • Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams has a skeleton army too; the island itself, full of creatures of varying sizes and natures, wouldn't be out of place in the Harryhausen canon either. Although most of it is done with CGI, it's CGI that is designed to capture the look of stop motion.
  • While it mostly uses the traditional People in Rubber Suits that comes standard with Tokusatsu, Kamen Rider ZO features a stop motion fight with a giant spider monster that is rather Harryhausen-esque.
  • Sinbad: The 5th Voyage is a Genre Throwback to the aforementioned Harryhausen Sinbad movies, going as far as using actual stop motion animation (albeit far more technologically advanced) for the creatures.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is, in many ways, an homage to Harryhausen's body of work, combining the Sinbad and Greek mythology films into a single setting full of giant monsters. Especially in the "Cyclops Island" short included on the home video version: Sinbad's reaction to encountering the one-eyed giants is "Not again!"
  • Pacific Rim, while not directly related, is stated to be a tribute to both Ray Harryhausen and fellow Monster movie creator Ishiro Honda.
  • Jurassic Park has a scene where the Tyrannosaurus lunges out from cover, grabs a Gallimimus, and shakes it to death in a manner very similar to the titular character from The Valley of Gwangi ambushing a Struthiomimus. This scene was animated by Phil Tippett, a lifelong fan of Harryhausen.

    Live Action Television 
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys did a Jason and the Argonauts story which climaxed with a battle against (CGI) Skeletons in Harryhausen fashion.
  • Scenes from both The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Valley of Gwangi have been used in the Newsflash game on Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

    Multiple Genres 

  • The video for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Burn It Off" is a pastiche of Harryhausen movies, with members of the band chased by CGI versions of his monsters (especially the skeletons) around an island and on a ship.
  • The Hoosiers song "Worried About Ray" is named for him, and the video even features stop-motion creatures reminiscent of Harryhausen's works.

    Video Games 
  • The God of War series draws a lot of inspiration from Harryhausen's movies, namely the Classical Mythology inspired ones. In particular, the second game includes several shout outs, including fighting skeletons while following Jason.
  • The Cyclops in the PlayStation game for Xena: Warrior Princess was quite obviously modeled on the ones from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad complete with a horn on its forehead and (if you use the camera to see its lower body) satyr-like legs.
  • Several Killer Instinct 2 characters pay homage to Harryhausen's movies, notably Spinal and Eyedoll.
  • Age of Mythology has several Greek myth units based directly on Harryhausen's version of them - cyclops, bronze giants and medusa, for example.

    Western Animation 
  • Harryhausen had an upscale restaurant named after him in Pixar's Monsters, Inc..
  • Speaking of Shout Outs, two stop-motion films that came out in the same year had the exact same nod to the man: both The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Corpse Bride had a "Harryhausen" piano in there.
  • One episode of SWAT Kats, Bride of the Pastmaster, had two of its three Cyclops adorned with horns on their foreheads like the ones in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
  • Class of the Titans is full of Harryhausen movie shout-outs, starting of course with the title.
  • An episode of The Angry Beavers has them transported to ancient Rome where they face off against a Cyclops that looks Harryhausen-esque, even moving as if stop motion animated.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode Little Gift Shop of Horrors, Harry Claymore animated stop-motion skeletons and a cyclops for the Sword & Sandal film The Voyages of Loinclothiclese. Which is to say he used black magic to bring to life actual-size clay monsters, which turned on him after the advent of computer animation.
    Harry Claymore: Do you really believe someone moves these figures one frame at a time? I'm not a masochist.
  • Phil Tippett's Surreal Horror stop-motion series Mad God has a statue of the cyclops show up in one scene.

Alternative Title(s): Harryhausen Movie


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