So here’s the deal darlings.
I’m a Harryhausen fan, always have been, from an early age I was that kid watching Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad films and Clash of the Titans (but to name a few) who delighted in seeing all of the wild and wonderful creatures who were given life by Ray and on more than several occasions felt an emotional connection to them more than I did the human characters. I swear, I cried more for when the creatures died than when any of the humans found themselves in jeopardy. So in the interest of wasting your time for my personal entertainment I’m going to list off my Top 10 favourites. Keep in mind, I will be focusing on the individual subjects themselves, not the movies of which they appeared, just wanna make that clear. 😉
Man, this is going to be hard AF.
Honorable Mention (gotta have those on a list)
Troglodyte (Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger)
Despite his less than savory appearance, the Trog is actually as sweet as a cinnamon roll who helps Sinbad and his men in their quest. When the characters come to understand him it’s difficult not to want to get up and give our over-sized ancestor a hug.
10) Hippogriff/Gryphon (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad)
Cutie. The representation of Good who goes up against Korah’s (Tom Baker) Evil Centaur looks so gorgeous and although I didn’t want either to die since they were being used as man’s tool to reach an objective, I still felt myself get sadder when Griffy was eventually choked by the Centaur (with a cheating helping hand by Korah). Still put up a hell of a fight though, so props for that!
9) Bubo (Clash of the Titans)
While there were a fair few good looking creatures in this movie (including Pegasus, yes, you know me well), my vote goes to Bubo, the mechanical owl sent by Zeus to assist in Perseus’s quest to save Princess Andromeda. I dig owls in general, but Bubo is just so gosh-darn adorable and helpful and damn it, why am I squeeing over a piece of stop
8) Kali (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad)
Wouldn’t you know it, this is where I first heard/saw of the Hindu goddess Kali. Let’s face it, its a one-sided interpretation of a rich and complex character, yet this was still where my fascination with the Dark Lady started. While her appearance was generally brief, it was incredibly memorable from when she comes to life and dances with grace and beauty to when Korah makes her battle Sinbad and his men (brandishing multiple sabers!!!) before her untimely decommissioning. I especially love how she was shown in full frame while interacting with the characters, it made the scenes more ‘real’. Another bonus thing about I love about her is how she always seems to be smiling which makes her more intimidating.
7) Eohippus (The Valley of Gwangi)
Mini-horse! Although this little fellow’s appearance is the catalyst for disaster, one with such a tender heart as mine can’t help but go “AWWWWWW!” when he first appears from his mini-stable.
6) Rhedosaurus (Beast from 20,000 Fathoms)
Poor dude. 😦 In all honesty, despite being huge, destructive and terrifying, I never perceived him to be the bad guy. To me it was the humans who were testing atomic bombs which subsequently woke him from his sleep and forced him into a world he had no clue how to respond to.
5) Taro the Dragon (The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad)
Yet another magnificent creature used as an instrument by some fucking bad guy sorcerer, only this time we have a dragon who guards the cave lair of the bald hex-caster Sokura who isn’t given a lot of exercise room due to be chained up to pulley mechanism in an enclosed cavern. Once again, when this poor guy died I felt nothing but sadness because of his circumstances. He also showed intelligence or a recognition when he didn’t cook Sinbad and his lady love alive as they carefully made their way past him toward the end of the movie.
4) Medusa (Clash of the Titans)
THIS is Medusa. Not the pretty blonde CGI-enhanced supermodel from the 2010 remake. THIS. As well as looking horrifying and intimidating I also love how she was made to move, having to ambulate around using her arms as she slithers through her sanctum. It’s a short appearance but it is a true stand out. And how about that damn score that plays when she makes her entrance? Brrrr.
3) Living Skeletons (Various)
I’m cheating somewhat since our bony buddies have showed up in several of Harryhausen’s movies but they are practically a staple for our intrepid, vaguely handsome hero to fight before they reach their goal. By the way, I never understood how the osteo warriors could scream in Jason and the Argonauts, LOL.
2) Hydra (Jason and the Argonauts)
While the seven-headed Hydra had limited screen time and didn’t get to grow multiple heads (Jason was actually smart in slaying the creature by stabbing it in the heart all heads shared) I always appreciated how much time and effort went into the dynamic movement of each head. When you watch the scene for that aspect in particular, each head is moving a different way or performing an action independent of its’ neighbor. The only thing I wasn’t too sure about was how disproportionately large Acastus was as it was suffocating him, but I only put that down to scale as opposed to lack of skill on Harry’s part.
1) Talos (Jason and the Argonauts)
This guy was practically an overgrown Terminator. When the guardian of the Isle of Bronze first moved, the grating, shearing sound of his head turning to fix Hercules and Hylas with his cold, unfeeling stare, my blood froze. Apart from his gargantuan size and expressionless face, his ruthless and cunning persistence helped solidify him as one of the most imposing villains Harryhausen has created. When Jason finally manages to outwit Talos by pulling the plug in the juggernauts’ ankle to drain him of his ichor (the liquid which keeps Talos ‘alive’), despite his stone expression Harry managed to convey the bronze colossus’s distress through the dropping of his sword and clutching at his throat. Amazing.