Yesterday was Ray Harryhausen’s birthday. Harryhausen has a special place in my love of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and even steampunk. He created the special effects for the 1961 Mysterious Island and 1964 First Men in the Moon. Both of these stories are ostensibly science fiction, but clearly influenced the steampunk of the next generation. He created dragons, cyclopses, and gorgons for fantasy films such as The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Clash of the Titans. Arguably, Ray Harryhausen played a big part in my love of Greek mythology, which factors into a science fiction short story I’m working on. Of course, who can forget Ray Harryhausen’s skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts?
Scary skeletons are just made for Ray Harryhausen’s brand of stop motion animation. They scared me as a kid and they thrill me as an adult. They’ve gone on to have influence on many other movies ranging from Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas to the skeleton army in Bruce Campbell’s brilliant horror/comedy Army of Darkness.
About thirty-one years ago, I first learned that Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury were childhood friends. They ultimately worked together on the 1953 movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Later, Ray Bradbury would fictionalize Harryhausen as “Roy Holdstrom” in his mystery novel A Graveyard for Lunatics. My copy of that novel was signed at the writer’s conference where my company Hadrosaur Productions was born. Although I’m sorry neither Bradbury nor Harryhausen are still alive, I’m delighted to know their creations are still around scaring and thrilling us to this day.
Finally, I’ll wrap up today’s post by mentioning that I’m restarting my newsletter to make sure people get word of my latest novel and short story releases. You can sign up by visiting this link: http://eepurl.com/XEWqn.