9 awesome FX scenes from Ray Harryhausen movies

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

The legendary pioneer of stop-motion animation Ray Harryhausen, who turns 90 today, is considered by many to be the greatest special-effects creator of all time. A prodigy of the pre-computer animation era, Harryhausen's devotion to his craft often meant spending months designing minutes-long battle scenes.

In honor of his 90th birthday today, we're taking a look at some of Harryhausen's most amazing cinematic monsters.

Skeletons Battle Jason

It took Harryhausen four months to create this fight scene. Six moving skeletons is quite impressive, but we don't quite get why the hero stabs the skeleton at 3:37. That doesn't seem effective.

Mighty Joe Young Makes a Big Entrance

This 1949 Academy Award-winning masterpiece shows a giant ape feeling the duress of stage life. See, it happens all the time, not just to Khloe Kardashian.

Monster Attacks San Francisco

To reduce the budget, the "octopus" was designed with only six arms. Kind of like when a housing contractor brings three workmen, but one of them just stands around doing nothing.


The queen of turning men to stone played a major role in the 1981 epic Clash of the Titans. Her Don King-esque hair consists of individually moving snakes, a look that not even Bob Marley could entirely perfect.

Cyclops vs. Dragon

The 1958 film The 7th Voyage of Sinbad showcases many of Harryhausen's exceptional creations. In a notable scene, a dragon battles a hoofed cyclops while the heroes sneak away. Of course, everyone knows the best way to fight a cyclops is to stick and move, because it has no depth perception.

Sinbad Fights Kali Idol

In the Golden Voyage of Sinbad, the title character must fight a six-armed sword-wielding stone statue. Sinbad fends off a flurry of blows and smashes the statue, robbing the world of potentially the best heavy metal drummer of all time.

Calibos Battles Perseus

The primary antagonist of Clash of the Titans comes at Perseus with giant scorpions before finally succumbing to Aphrodite's sword. The outcome of pretty much every Greek myth battle falls in the favor of whoever has the best hair.

Seven-Headed Hydra

Jason and the Argonauts proved to be a visual feast, especially for 1963, thanks mainly to the honed skills of Harryhausen. Here, Jason takes on a well-animated Hydra with seven heads. Jason manages to slay the monster and then probably sells its dead body to Medusa as a wig.


Another unbelievable creation from Jason and the Argonauts, Talos is high up the ranks of massive movie monsters. It's kind of like if the Statue of Liberty turned into the Statue of Persecution and started beating on America.