When I think about the movies, I think of magic and great magicians.
My own love of the ‘illusion’ was what first drew to me filmmaking. Cinema history has enjoyed several landmark visual effects moments – ‘King Kong’ and Willis O’Brien, ‘The Thing’ and Rob Bottin, ‘Star War’s and that Star Destoyer passing overhead, ‘The Exorcist’ and Dick Smith, and of course Spielberg and ‘Jurassic Park’.
But I suspect for my generation of filmmaker, Ray Harryhausen is the grand daddy.
I can vividly remember watching Jason and the Argonauts on TV, simply astonished at what I was seeing.
And when I found out how it was done, I just wanted to do that myself. I was inspired to create my own imagination.
I couldn’t get enough of the Sinbad movies, ‘Valley of Of The Gwangi’ and the Hammer Dinosaur movies. My living room wall has a poster for ‘When Dinosaures Ruled The Earth’ (stop motion by one of Ray’s protégés Jim Danforth). And this photo is from a gathering of the skeletons I have on my writing desk at home, to remind me that cinema is (for me at least) first and foremost about the fantastical.
I hope that Ray knew how many filmmakers he had influenced, and through his work, invited us all into the imaginarium of our own minds.
A sad, sad day.
Onwards and upwards!