Ray Harryhausen, a man who is perhaps the most popular and influential visual effects artist of all time has sadly passed away today at the age of 92.
Certainly, no single person has had as a profound effect on the imaginations of visionary filmmakers in the last century as Harryhausen did with his groundbreaking, masterful, and visually compelling stop motion animation. Forever changed after being awed by the breathtaking visuals of 1933's King Kong, one single moviegoing experience would set the young Harryhausen on an amazing path of producing one immensely memorable cinematic creation after another that turned impressive models into magnificent larger-than-life screen monsters.
Starting with 1949's Mighty Joe Young, his creatures would grace an array of 1950's atomic age drive-in favorites like It Came from Beneath the Sea and 20 Million Miles to Earth, before graduating to true big screen epics rooted in mythology like 1958's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (and its two follow-ups in 1973 and 1977), 1963's Jason and the Argonauts, 1966's One Million Years B.C., 1969's The Valley of Gwangi, and his last and perhaps most memorable effort which was the first to "release the Kraken," in 1981's Clash of the Titans.
Truly, his passing marks not only the loss of a true effects icon who has influenced countless other effects icons like George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi and just about anyone else worthwhile, but is also perceived as the true passing of Harryhausen's stop motion art form itself. With the all-digital, shot on blue-screen methodology that dominates today's filmmaking, it's a tough blow to absorb for vocal segments of cinematic purists.
A charitable trust set up by Harryhausen himself called The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation will remain devoted to the goal of archiving and protecting the iconic effects man's name and extensive body of work
R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen 1920-2013.