Monday, February 10, 2014

My tribute to Ray Harryhausen

I know it's a tad late, but here's my tribute to Ray Harryhausen, who passed away last year at 92. He was very influential on my career, so here's my tribute.

While I was a huge fan of dinosaurs, I never really knew who Ray was. Frankly, I wasn't sure there really were too many dinosaur films out there. I recently came into a fascination with Greek Myth, so mom rented Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts on Netflix. Coming from an era of CGI, I was a tad jaded, but, frankly, his creatures Medusa and Talos were some of the few monsters to ever scare me. They didn't even need to explode out of a doorway, screaming at the top of their lungs, the sheer mood and movement of the creatures genuinely creeped me out. This is coming from a kid who forced his Grandma to play Jurassic Park 3 every Friday, a film where Velociraptors pin down mercenaries and split open their skulls with their claws. A few years later, after a bit of research on the subject, I came across Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger on television. The death of Trog and the Saber-Toothed Tiger affected me more than any monsters death, even more than the original Godzilla.

Well, I didn't hear much about him until my old teacher put on a video on about him. I think that's when I was certain I wanted to make stop motion dinosaurs and animate them. I already had a stop motion program I got years before, but that video made me certain about what I wanted
 to do. I went through many trials and tribulations, from baked sculpey creatures, to pipe cleaner plesiosaurs, to plasticine Godzillas, to Patchy, to Malcolm, to O'bie, to Ray (get it?) . I eventually was able to buy the Beast from 20,000 fathoms, a beautiful movie with a fantastic monster, a combination of Ray Bradbury's short story and Ray Harryhausen's concepts. I also was able to record a strain of Harryhausen movies, and git to watch 20 million miles to Earth, First Men in the moon, and Earth vs the Flying Saucers. It was awesome.

When one of my teachers who also loved his work broke the news, it was terribly sad. But I'm happy to know that people still care about his craft and continue it to this day. Richard Svensson's working on his Lovecraft Projects, Phil Tippet's making MAD GOD,  ML Tharme is working on Wildlife on Mars, Peter Jackson recreated the Spider Pit sequence from the original KING KONG, and I'm working on MUCH TO FEAR ABOUT SUMMER.

His work inspired all of us. Thank you, Ray Harryhausen.

1 comment:

  1. Kelston, what a touching tribute to Ray Harryhausen. I only wish the two of you had had an opportunity to meet each other. I think he would have liked you and would be pleased with the work you are doing. --PH