I was going to do something else tonight but finishing a crap day at work and coming home to find out that Ray Harryhausen has died is an utter bloody tragedy.
I first encountered Harryhausen’s work when being taken to a Saturday morning double bill at the Odeon in Renfield Street in Glasgow when I was about six or seven. I have no idea what the first film was but the second was Jason and the Argonauts and it’s to this day a film I can’t get tired of watching.
This isn’t to say I didn’t know who Harryhausen was. I knew his name and what he’d done thanks to picking up American film magazines like Famous Monsters on my hunt round Glasgow for comics.I’d just not see anything he did but as soon as I did, I lapped up everything he did thanks to Saturday morning double bills and the BBC having a series of Harryhausen films when I was about 8. I quickly grew to love it all, and even as I got older I still loved it because it was a joy to watch the craft and love that went into his work.
During the 80’s Harryhausen fell out of style as stop motion was being replaced by various techniques, and eventually CGI replaced the need for stop motion. The problem was, and is, that CGI is just watching code entered by dozens, if not hundreds of people but it’s McDonald’s filmmaking compared to Harryhausen’s lovingly crafted characters. CGI is getting better but it’s not the same as the analogue wonders of Harryhausen.
He’ll be missed.