Few names in the history of cinematic special effects resound with such creative force like the masterful Ray Harryhausen, whose pioneering work in Hollywood has earned him an honorable place in the pantheon of influential Tinseltown wizards.
His fantastic stop-motion animation work he named Dynamation graced memorable sequences in classic feature films like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, 20 Million Miles To Earth, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Clash of the Titans, as well as countless experimental shorts, government instructional films, and TV commercials.
To cover some of Harryhausen's lesser known projects and unrealized ideas, a comprehensive new coffee-table book titled Harryhausen: The Lost Movies arrives on Sept. 10 from London-based Titan Books to shine a light into these neglected corners of the animation legend's career — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look inside the magic.
Exhaustively researched and smartly wriiten by author and film historian John Walsh, Harryhausen: The Lost Movies yanks the cover off Harryhausen's never-completed films and aborted dream projects across the entire spectrum, including unused ideas, forgotten projects he turned down, and scenes that sadly ended up on the cutting room floor.
"This book includes never-been-seen-before artwork, sketches, photos and test footage from the Harryhausen Foundation archives," Walsh tells SYFY WIRE. "Ray's legacy and his place in cinema history is something which I believe the world needs to appreciate and understand his contribution to the cinematic landscape. When Ray died in 2013, George Lucas said: "There would likely have been no Star Wars without Ray Harryhausen."
Walsh believes readers will be intrigued but not surprised that there are many unfilmed Sinbad adventures and dinosaur stories.
"You may be surprised to hear that Ray tried to secure the rights to the Conan series of novels in the 1960s. Sinbad On Mars (1978) has beautiful concept art by famed illustrator Chris Foss," he notes. "A rare occasion when Ray was too busy working on another film to create the design work himself. At the same time, Chris Foss was working with Ridley Scott on Alien and Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune. Chris' work for this Sinbad has echoes of the industrial brutalism he lavished on those film projects. Perhaps the most surprising film Ray turned down was the first Marvel movie in 1984!"
Among the "lost scenes" of Harryhausen's completed films, Walsh was pleased to find rare storyboards for Medusa's demise from Clash of the Titans, which remarkably have never been published before.
"Most exciting of all is the material from Force of the Trojans. I have set up a new company, Ray Harryhausen Films Ltd, to pursue the unmade films and get them back where they belong on the cinema screen."
Now indulge your fantasies and step into our exclusive peek at Titan Books' Harryhausen: The Lost Movies in the gallery below, then tell us your favorite Harryhausen gem in the comment section!