Posts Tagged "Ray Harryhausen"

For Ray 0

For Ray

Posted on May 14, 2013

I knew Ray Harryhausen would die. That was an essential part of the charm he shared with his beautiful monsters: they were mortal. You could see how they were put together, you could feel the bumps on their skin, the fur on their pelts, and you understood that they couldn’t last. Their magic was transitory, a function of time: anticipation and the thrill of the reveal, followed by loss, and then memory. If they didn’t leave us, we wouldn’t love them as much. Because of Ray, and because of Clash of the Titans, I grew up loving monsters instead of fearing them, and feeling a pretty profound empathy (for a seven-year-old) for their fates: it was their destiny to die so that the hero might fulfill his. Medusa and the Kraken, immortals in name only, were just as much pawns as the humans in the hands of the Gods (who were, it bears saying, extraordinarily petty—and human). Fate had two sides. Gods and mortals, heroes and villains, monsters and men weren’t so very different, or distinct. What I didn’t know was what would happen when Ray Harryhausen died. How at first I would feel that twinge of missing someone unexpectedly, like a light turning off in the room behind...

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Influence Stew: Ray Harryhausen

Posted on May 31, 2010

And now for the first piping hot helping of Influence Stew, which takes a closer look at the people, places, music, and truly random stuff that inspired me to write This Must Be the Place. In writing a book largely inspired by the cultural influences of my childhood, full of pop culture-savvy characters who would have been my contemporaries, my mind immediately turned to Ray Harryhausen.  The Clash of the Titans, Harryhausen’s 1981 epic ode to Greek mythology and Harry Hamlin’s magnificent perm, was on HBO approximately eight bajillion times in the mid-80s, and all eight bajillion of those times, I was there to watch it.  It never failed to completely captivate me: as soon as Perseus and crew crossed the Styx, I was a goner.  Medusa was lurking around the corner and she was totally going to plug you with an arrow, and THEN turn you to stone, just because she could. The 80s were a fabulous time to be a nerdy sci-fi/fantasy kid, because of a) the sheer number of creature-heavy fantasy movies aimed at kids and b) their universal level of quality.  I certainly don’t mean to imply that The NeverEnding Story (my favorite of the bunch) is the single greatest film of our times, but...

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