As TORn readers will no doubt have heard by now, Ray Harryhausen, the man who pioneered stop motion photography and led the way to many of the special effects we take for granted today, died on Tuesday. He was 92. His classic films, such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, inspired many future movie makers, with their wonderful scenes of monsters and mythical creatures, brought to life by Harryhausen’s brilliant use of stop motion technique. As a teenager, Harryhausen had himself been inspired by the 1933 King Kong; it seems fitting, then, that he in turn became a source of great inspiration for a teenage Peter Jackson, who of course made his own King Kong movie in 2005. USA Today quoted this statement from Peter Jackson: ‘The Lord of the Rings is my Ray Harryhausen movie. Without his lifelong love of his wondrous images and storytelling it would never have been made — not by me, at least.’
You can read more about Ray Harryhausen here. In 2010, BAFTA paid special tribute to Harryhausen in celebration of his 90th birthday. Peter Jackson was a surprise guest, and at the event he showed some of his earliest attempts as a teenage film maker, clearly inspired by Harryhausen’s movies. Jackson’s presentation – and those wonderful, early film clips – can be seen here.
The film industry has lost a legend; RIP Ray Harryhausen.