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Visual Effects Legend Ray Harryhausen Dies

In our dreams and in our fantasies, we can birth any monster and conquer the oppressive laws of reality. That is the curse of our waking life, but on the screen, those laws are crumbling.

Look at the trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Pac Rim — there, there is chaos as skyscraper sized monsters tussle with each other on a city street, a creation of horror and visual splendor that could previously only live within the theater of the mind.

Magic like that is becoming commonplace thanks to advances in practical effects and CGI. Magic is becoming commonplace thanks to thousands and thousands of man hours and under-celebrated and often under-paid wizards who are masters at their craft.

Before they could reach into our imaginations and paint our dreams, though, someone had to supply the paint of inspiration. Someone had to endeavour toward those same feats in a more technologically crude time, creating work that is its own kind of majestic.

Ray Harryhausen was that kind of someone, same as Wallis O’Brien was for him, and today Harryhausen passed away at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy that is without equal.

Before they could, he did, and because of that, there is virtually no special effects laden film that isn’t partially lit by his stardust.

Harryhausen

Here is a statement from the Harryhausen family. Below that, there is a video featuring some of Harryhausen’s most loved creations and a list of every monster, skeleton warrior, sea creature. dinosaur, and mechanical owl that Harryhausen brought to life.

The Harryhausen family regret to announce the death of Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects pioneer and stop-motion model animator. He was a multi-award winner which includes a special Oscar and BAFTA. Ray’s influence on today’s film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the UK’s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations.

Harryhausen’s fascination with animated models began when he first saw Willis O’Brien’s creations in KING KONG with his boyhood friend, the author Ray Bradbury in 1933, and he made his first foray into filmmaking in 1935 with home-movies that featured his youthful attempts at model animation. Over the period of the next 46 years, he made some of the genres best known movies – MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949), IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955), 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957), MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961), ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966), THER VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969), three films based on the adventures of SINBAD and CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981). He is perhaps best remembered for his extraordinary animation of seven skeletons in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) which took him three months to film.

Harryhausen’s genius was in being able to bring his models alive. Whether they were prehistoric dinosaurs or mythological creatures, in Ray’s hands they were no longer puppets but became instead characters in their own right, just as important as the actors they played against and in most cases even more so.

Today The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, a charitable Trust set up by Ray on the 10th April 1986, is devoted to the protection of Ray’s name and body of work as well as archiving, preserving and restoring Ray’s extensive Collection.

Tributes have been heaped upon Harryhausen for his work by his peers in recent years.

“Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much.” “Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no STAR WARS” – George Lucas

“THE LORD OF THE RINGS is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie’. Without his life-long love of his wondrous images and storytelling it would never have been made – not by me at least” – Peter Jackson

“In my mind he will always be the king of stop-motion animation” – Nick Park

“His legacy of course is in good hands, because it’s carried in the DNA of so many film fans.” – Randy Cook

“You know I’m always saying to the guys that I work with now on computer graphics “do it like Ray Harryhausen” – Phil Tippett

“What we do now digitally with computers, Ray did digitally long before but without computers. Only with his digits.” – Terry Gilliam

“His patience, his endurance have inspired so many of us.” – Peter Jackson

“Ray, your inspiration goes with us forever.” – Steven Spielberg

“I think all of us who are practioners in the arts of science fiction and fantasy movies now all feel that we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant. If not for Ray’s contribution to the collective dreamscape, we wouldn’t be who we are.” – James Cameron

This is a list of every character Ray Harryhausen created via Harryhausen.com

Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Rhedosaur
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

It (giant octopus)
It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

Brontosaur (The Animal World)
The Animal World (1956)

Allosaur (The Animal World)
The Animal World (1956)

Brontosaur Hatchling
The Animal World (1956)

Stegosaur
The Animal World (1956)

Sceraptosaur
The Animal World (1956)

Triceratops (The Animal World)
The Animal World (1956)

Tyrannosaur
The Animal World (1956)

Flying Saucers
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Spaceship
Twenty Million Miles to Earth (1957)

Elephant (Twenty Million Miles to Earth)
Twenty Million Miles to Earth (1957)

Ymir
Twenty Million Miles to Earth (1957)

Cyclops
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Serpent Woman
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Roc hatchling
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Roc
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Skeleton
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Dragon
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Squirrel
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960)

Crocodile
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960)

Crab
Mysterious Island (1961)

Phororhacos
Mysterious Island (1961)

Cephalopod
Mysterious Island (1961)

Bee
Mysterious Island (1961)

Talos
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Harpies
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Hydra
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Skeletons
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Moonship
First Men in the Moon (1964)

Space sphere
First Men in the Moon (1964)

Moon cow
First Men in the Moon (1964)

Kate Calendar’s Skeleton
First Men in the Moon (1964)

Selenite
First Men in the Moon (1964)

Grand Lunar
First Men in the Moon (1964)

Brontosaur (One Million Years B.C.)
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Archelon
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Allosaur (One Million Years B.C.)
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Triceratops (One Million Years B.C.)
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Ceratosaur
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Pterodactyl
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Rhamphorhynchus
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Pterodactyl hatchlings
One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Horse
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Eohippus
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Pteranodon
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Ornithomimus
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Gwangi
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Styrathosaur
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Elephant (The Valley of Gwangi)
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Homonicus
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

Figurehead
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

Kali
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

Centaur
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

Griffin
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

Ghouls
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Baboon
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Minoton
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Hornet
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Walrus
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Troglodyte
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Guardian of the Shrine
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Vulture
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Pegasus
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Calibos
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Bubo
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Dioskilos
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Medusa
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Scorpions
Clash of the Titans (1981)

Kraken
Clash of the Titans (1981)

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Jason Tabrys

Jason Tabrys

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