Sunday, March 21, 2010

The 7th Voyage of Blog

I was recently surprised to find this video dedicated to animator Ray Harryhausen. Who knew he was behind so many classic beasts? And so many Sinbad movies?

Harryhausen's biography, on his official website, is a really interesting read, as it shows how his career developed from a childhood spent monster making in his parent's garage. I'm not ashamed to admit that I love monster models, and it is pretty awesome to see how stop-animation can bring them to life. It also helps that many of them have hybrid bodies.

I'm not sure if this is the same creature as above, but she definitely has style. This is from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad:

The cyclops is also good:

But I think my favourite might be the skeleton:

Those special effects are impressive, especially when you consider the film was released in 1958. According to the biography:

"There was to have been five more sequences in the film but they were dropped. (1) Sinbad and the Princess Parisa are chased by giant rats conjured up by the evil Sokurah but because Charles didn’t like rats, nor snakes, it was taken out.(2) Sinbad and his men are attacked by bat-devils.(3) A fight between two Cyclops.(4) Sirens with mermaid tails.(5) A giant serpent attacks sailors in a tree. This again was dropped because Charles objected.

Charles had Ray’s hands insured for a million dollars."

This Charles sounds like a real party pooper.

But it's fine, because there were to be more skeletons!

I love how they move; so spry, falling over and jumping about. In their movements they actually seem more 'real' than some of the CGI beasts served up in contemporary films.

So many videos. I think I have a problem.

If YouTube died this blog would be 70% gone...


  1. Peter Jackson is also a very long-time Harryhausen fan; is most of his DVDs he has mentioned how inspirational Harryhausen's work was, especially in terms of the King Kong remake and the original being re-released on DVD. That said, I think Jackson's earlier films, with little budgets but lots of creatures, physical effects, and gore and probably where the Harryhausen style is most evident (these are, incidentally, also the Jackson films which I'd guess are most grotesque ... although it's hard to go past the scene in the King Kong remake where the giant many-fanged slug eats the ship's cook from the head down! ;)

  2. Ah, I never made that connection! I will have to check out some of Jackson's earlier work. All in the name of research, naturally :)