Category: Ray Harryhausen

When monsters attack! The movies’ best beasts before “Cloverfield”

CloverfieldSomething very big and very angry stalks the streets of New York City in Cloverfield, being released in theaters this week. The brainchild of producer J.J. Abrams (of the TV hit Lost and the upcoming Star Trek remake), Cloverfield aims to revitalize the giant-monster genre with a Blair Witch Project-style filming approach; the big beast’s victims film their flight from New York’s destruction with handheld video cameras.

But Cloverfield, of course, has some pretty big shoes to fill if it wants to be King of the Monsters: Giant monsters have been a cinema staple since at least 1925, when audiences thrilled to dinosaurs battling to the death in The Lost World.

If you want to get caught up on the genre, it’s not hard—400-foot fire-breathing monsters leave a trail that’s easy to follow. Here’s a few of our favorites.

Originally published on Jan. 14, 2008. Read the complete article.

Interview: Ray Harryhausen

Ray HarryhausenStop-motion animation has been around since the silent-movie days, but no one has put a personal stamp on the technique like Ray Harryhausen. In 16 movies from 1949′s Mighty Joe Young to 1981′s Clash Of The Titans, Harryhausen gave life to an entire zoo’s worth of fearsome monsters, including the giant octopus which destroys the Golden Gate Bridge in It Came From Beneath The Sea, the carnivorous dinosaurs of One Million Years B.C. and The Valley Of Gwangi, and, from his most memorable film, Jason And The Argonauts, the colossal guardian Talos and the homicidal, sword-wielding skeletons. It’s rare for a special-effects artist to be the real driving force behind a movie, but Harryhausen’s contributions often dominated the shaping of his films. He achieved this while working mostly alone and under the pressures of low-budget filmmaking—Titans‘ $16 million budget was more than the total cost of his previous collaborations with producer Charles Schneer, his partner for the bulk of his career. Just before embarking for America, where he’ll be touring through early May, Harryhausen talked with The A.V. Club about his life and his new book The Art Of Ray Harryhausen, which looks back at his career from his high-school days building mammoths out of his mother’s discarded fur coat to his latest work as a bronze sculptor.

Originally published on March 21, 2006. Read the complete article.

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