Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan is a new documentary about the work of one of the most influential men in not just special effects but in the history of movie making.
I’m a fan of his work, but my husband is the true Harryhausen geek in the family. We watched the DVD together, then I handed him the keyboard.
Here’s one fan’s thoughts on the brand new DVD release about this special effects master.
A Must Have for Harryhausen Fans
by Lars Liljeblad
This DVD is a must have for Ray Harryhausen fans. Besides great, never-before-seen animation test shots and so many, nice close-ups of Ray’s animation models, there are loads of great interviews with notable modern-day film makers like Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, John Landis, James Cameron and many more.
There is no doubt about this genius’ influence on modern day cinema. Even though Willis O’Brien was first, as well as being Harryhausen’s inspiration after seeing King Kong, Ray took what he had learned from “Obie” a step farther adding personality and realism to his creatures.
It’s wonderful to see all these interviews with modern-day filmmakers acknowledging their love and influence of his work, and how you could feel Harryhausen actually “acting” through his creatures. There’s good reason he’s regarded as the father of stop motion animation.
Many of his creations are shown close-up revealing amazing detail and character, it’s obvious that these models were true works of art! We also get a visit to Ray’s personal workshop, as well as his father’s workshop, who also helped Ray with armatures and various tasks during the creative process, in fact his mother also got involved.
We hear much from Ray himself, how he got his ideas, storyboards, worked around obstacles in the film-making process and more. We see many of his wonderful creations both on screen as well as close-up: the Ymir, the sword fighting skeletons, Cyclops, the giant octopus, Gwangi and more.
It’s amazing to see how much work this man produced in his lifetime. His work will live on forever and is sure to inspire and entertain many generations to come.
There have been several Ray Harryhausen docs, each one going a step farther. This however is the best for in-depth insight. A must have for fans!
I’d like to add that I was particularly impressed with the behind-the-scenes details including several bits of 8mm home movie footage shot on location. Through these pieces of film, we can see what it was like for the actors who had to react to nothing more than Ray’s verbal cues about what they were seeing.
As a collector, I had heart palpitations when I saw the museum footage of the filmmakers uncrating Ray’s actual sculptures and working models. It’s both wonderful and incredible that these pieces of movie history have survived for so long and in such good condition.
If you’re a fan of special effects, animation, stop motion animation or even claymation, you have to check out this documentary. You can pick up the Blu-ray for only $14.99 right now on Amazon. That’s as incredible as Ray’s writhing Medusa!
Before you go. Here’s a look at the trailer for Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.