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Ray Harryhausen is a visual effects pioneer and a genius in his field. Inspired by King Kong, he became a Stop Motion animator and worked on such classics as Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans and the Sinbad films.
These movies would often be more showcases for Harryhausen's talent than anything else, but they had several similarities:
- Fantastic plots: Jason and Clash were both loosely adapted from Greek myths, the Sinbad movies came from Arabian myths and One Million Years BC was set in...well, it's fairly obvious.
- Hammy acting.
- Famous actors playing small roles: Sir Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith were both in Clash of the Titans. Why? Money, Dear Boy.
Films that Harryhausen made in this trope:
- Several of his classic films have been given Comic Book sequels, or adaptations, which retain this trope by including his original sketches as an extra.
- The Lost World (1925) - By Willis O'Brian, not Harryhausen, the Trope Maker.
- King Kong - The Film that inspired Harryhausen, and the first Trope Codifier.
- Mighty Joe Young - Harryhausen's first Hollywood gig, spiritual sequel to King Kong. The effects were a collaboration between O'Brian and Harryhausen.
- The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms - While not the first monster to attack a city, it was the first monster to be created by The Bomb. Very losely based on the short story of the same name by Harryhausen's friend and fellow guy-named-Ray, Ray Bradbury. Because of the movie's success and only vague connection to the story, Bradbury renamed his work "The Fog Horn" to differentiate the two.
- It Came From Beneath The Sea - Giant Octopus attacks San Francisco. Notably, the City Fathers didn't want to have their newly built Golden Gate Bridge destroyed in the film for fear it would show the bridge being a weak structure. The producers filmed guerrilla-style and put it in anyway. The octopus only has six tentacles, to save on animation time.
- The Animal World - Started as a Documentary about life, but the Stop Motion Dinosaurs stole the show. It also reuinited Harryhausen with his idol Willis O'Brian.
- Earth vs. the Flying Saucers - Alien Invasion done with little subtlety. Some of the most iconic Monumental Damage occurs in this movie when Washington is attacked, including a saucer crashing into the Washington monument and knocking it onto people as well as a Saucer destroying the dome of the Capital Building.
- Twenty Million Miles To Earth - Please stop harassing the Ymir.
- The 7th Voyage of Sinbad - His first full-length color film, and Trope Codifier for Harryhausen, introducing his iconic creature--the Living Skeleton.
- The Three Worlds Of Gulliver - An adaptation of Gulliver's Travels.
- Mysterious Island - Sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Charles Shneer threw in various giant animals to give Harryhausen something more to do. Tropes Are Not Bad strikes again!
- Jason and the Argonauts - Harryhausen's first world-recognized Crowning Moment of Awesome occurs with a battle with 7 skeletons. It took him several days to film one second of film--and he got the scene done in a single take! Also one of the Trope Codifiers and most iconic of Harryhausen's films.
- First Men in The Moon - Victorians In Space meet Ant People on the moon.
- The Valley of Gwangi - Cowboys versus Dinosaurs, noted for the epic scene where the cowboys rope the eponymous Allosaurs.
- One Million Years BC - Often noted more for Raquel Welch in a Fur Bikini than for Ray's Special Effects. But they're very good effects. Supposedly, the archelon model had a lot of critics complaining that Harryhausen used a real turtle.
- The Golden Voyage of Sinbad - Epic scenes include a statue of Kali swordfighting Sinbad with all six arms. Also notable for being the film that brought Tom Baker (who played the evil magician Koura magnificently) to the attention of the producers of Doctor Who.
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger - Sinbad goes to A Lost World and battles a giant Saber Toothed Cat.
- Clash of the Titans - Ray's final feature, featuring his last Crowning Moment of Awesome in the Medusa battle done by flickering firelight. The complexity of that scene wows FX artists to this day.
- Though it wasn't done by Harryhausen, Army of Darkness features a very Harryhausen inspired battle sequence.
- While it mostly uses the traditional People in Rubber Suits that comes standard with Tokusatsu, Kamen Rider ZO features a stop motion fight with a giant spider monster that is rather Harryhausen-esque.
- Sinbad: The 5th Voyage is an upcoming George Lucas Throwback to the aforementioned Harryhausen Sinbad movies, going as far as using actual stop motion animation(albeit far more technologically advanced) for the creatures.
Live Action TV
- Many of his effects were reused in famous television series--most notably The Twilight Zone reusing his Flying Saucers in To Serve Man.
- Harryhausen's first gig was making shorts for the Army. Infamously, the short How To Build a Bridge had no visuals of soldiers putting the bridge together, and the superiors worried that the soldiers would think the bridges would build themselves!
- Harryhausen also did several fairy tale adaptations, but few are of note, as they were fully animated Gumby-style shorts.
- He had an upscale restaurant named after him in Pixar's Monsters, Inc.. A very fitting Shout-Out.
- One episode of Swat Kats, Bride of the Pastmaster, had two of its three Cyclops adorned with horns on their foreheads like the ones in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
- The God of War series deserves a mention, as the series draws a lot of inspiration from Harryhausen's movies, namelt the Greek Mythology inspired ones. In particular, the second game includes several shout outs, including fighting skeletons while following Jason and the Argonauts.
- The Cyclops in the Play Station game for Xena: Warrior Princess was quite obviously modeled on the ones from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad complete with a horn on its forehead and (if you use the camera to see its lower body) satyr-like legs.
- Several Killer Instinct 2 characters pay homage to Harryhausen's movies, notably Spinal and Eyedoll.
- Like God of War, Spartan Total Warrior, a spin-off of the otherwise historically driven Total War, draws a lot from Harryhausen’s movies. The developers even cited Jason and the Argonauts as one of the games inspirations.