Visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen has passed away

Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen, whose stop-motion animation made monsters come alive in films from the 30’s through the 80’s, has passed away, his family has announced. He was 93.

Stop-motion may be cheesey to those of us who grew up in the post-Star Wars era, but Harryhausen’s work – the most famous of which is perhaps the fighting skeletons of Jason and the Argonauts – was hugely influential. (Though to this 80s’ kid, it’s his Medusa in the original Clash of the Titans who kept me up at night!)

“Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much,” said George Lucas. “Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars.”

Shock and Awe: The 50 best special effects

Den of Geek’s top fifty movie special effects shots is a hell of a list. It willingly embraces all eras, movies that you might not expect (Hitchcock?!?) and hell, I think I learned a thing or two. (And all the scenes have a video. That’s some serious dedication.) It probably goes without saying that A New Hope and Return of the Jedi get entries.

Plus I’ll take any excuse to lead off with Harryhausen.

They also have a list of the 24 worst special effects of all time, which includes that horrible Special Edition Jabba scene. (Which I still hold is worse than Han shooting first.)

In the News: TFU, People, Merchandise

IMAGE: Ray HarryhausenSan Francisco Chronicle on The Force Unleashed. They also feature Ray Harryhausen, who is awesome. (Star Wars content, not that you should care: Quotes from Dennis Muren, lots of ILM mentions.)

Video Monday

TIE-tanic. “The ability to control a medium for 20 years is insignificant next to the power of a good chick-flick.” Pure. Freaking. Genius. With Ewoks! On fire!

‘Guy Love,’ a song from the upcoming musical episode of Scrubs. I dare you not to laugh at this. And, um, it’s not off-topic: Donald Faison appears wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. Watch for it!

Michael Winslow recreates the sound effects of an entire scene from A New Hope in his stand-up routine.

Producer Michael Wiese talks about Hardware Wars at the Cannes Film Festival.

ABC’s Harry Potter special is up on Youtube. Watch thirteen (!) clips at ohnotheydidnt.

More, more, more!