SCORING THE FILMS OF
To catalog the influence of cinema multi-hyphenate Ray Harryhausen (stop motion special effects master, artist, sculptor, writer and producer) on the modern motion picture is … well, a mathematical impossibility, like trying to count to the last number in existence. Not that we won’t try, mind you. We have plans to attempt just a mad feat in a future article. For now consider this a musical precursor / overture of sorts.
For those not as familiar with the name “Harryhausen” (though it does pop up in the films MONSTERS, INC. and THE CORPSE BRIDE … more on that in a bit) you certainly are familiar with his “stamp“ on cinema, as some of the most popular science fiction and fantasy films of recent years have either contained some sort of homage to, or the films themselves have been out and lifts of his legendary work. If you’ve seen Sam Raimi’s ARMY OF DARKNESS-1992 or Stephen Sommer’s THE MUMMY-1999, realize their climactic “skeleton / ghoul” battles were an homage to one of the most famous scenes in Harryhausen’s JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS-1963. Recall Obi Wan’s duel with the multi-light saber wielding General Grevious in STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH-2005, and understand the Kaleesh cyborg’s training did not come from Count Dooku as claimed, but was rather inspired by the multi-sword brandishing Kali in Harryhausen’s THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD-1973. And as for dinosaurs and dragons, well, … you can’t read or listen to any interview or audio commentary from the technicians who worked on the JURRASIC PARK, LORD OF THE RINGS or HARRY POTTER films without hearing how Mr. Harryhausen’s THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD-1958, ONE MILLION YEARS B.C.-1966 and THE VALLEY OF GWANGI-1969 spurred them into their life’s work. Oh yeah, and that little movie a year or so back, CLASH OF THE TITANS-2010 was of course a remake (not great, but not as horrible as everyone claims) of Harryhausen’s 1981 original - the final film he made before retirement.