Monster of the Day #229

Really about my unfavorite Harryhausen (bar First Men in the Moon), but there’s little doubt the Master himself was at the top of his game.

  • TongoRad

    What, you didn’t like that annoying mechanical owl thing?

    For whatever reason I’ve got a soft spot for this movie, probably because I was able to see it in the theater when it was first released (as opposed to seeing his classics on television). But even if I didn’t, I’d take it any day over the recent remake.

  • The Rev.

    I actually read the novelization before I ever had a chance to see the movie (very rural area = no cable for a long time). I recall it being pretty much the same.

    The parts without Harryhausen’s critters drag a bit due to a lack of acting talent from a large part of the cast, but when they’re on screen it sure livens up. The Medusa sequence is a strong contender for my favorite Harryhausen sequence ever; it actually creeped me out when I first saw it, and I really like this version of her. Especially that rattle.

  • Guy Hoyle

    The Medusa from Clash of the Titans, right?

  • Reed

    Speaking of stop motion animation (this is a repeat of a comment I just posted on the R.O.T.O.R. review) R.O.T.O.R. is now available for view through Netflix streaming! Watching the movie in glorious digital clarity is just… Words fail me. Now that I’ve seen it in decent resolution, though, I am convinced that in the scene where Coldyron briefs the other police robot researchers (they’re from the sister lab on the east coast) about the combat chasis that the displayed chasis is not computer animation. It’s bad stop motion animation! That just increased my love of the movie that much more.

    And Clash of the Titans? Also saw it at the theater, and loved it. Yes, Harry Hamlin is not a good Perseus and I hated the owl from start to finish, but it has some really great scenes, and some brief nudity. Boobies and fighting giant scorpions – that really is all it takes to make me happy in a movie.

  • JazzyJ

    Agree with all of the above comments about this movie — Hamlin a bit thick and the owl more than a bit stupid — but I am with Tongo on this one: I definitely have a soft spot for this movie deep in my heart. I still watch at least some of it when I run across it on cable.

    The new one makes me sad, but I think for different reasons than others. The new one has stunningly cool creature design and special effects. So they make a great movie, right? Sadly, with a script written by a five-year-old and a director still playing with his Handy-Cam, no. I personally mourn that the creature design was not given a better movie to live in.

  • JJ– I completely agree, as you’d expect. I get really, really depressed watching things like the Green Lantern trailer (or Jonah Hex, or Van Helsing, etc.), because of the knowledge that they put a zillion manhours into design work and rendering of effects and such, but at the same time you know the script is going to suck. I think Lord of the Rings hit the chord it did because Tolkien did the heavy lifting on that, allowing Jackson to just bring the thing to the screen. Admittedly, a huge task he did well, but again, Tolkien did a lot of the prep.

    Also, because the books are so revered, he was constrained from changing much in a way he wasn’t with his King Kong remake. It’s not a bad movie, but it has severe problems, mostly due to the fact that since CGI allowed him to do anything, he did way too much.

  • Gamera

    Can’t argue with anyone about the shaky-cam and bad plot of the remake but frankly I didn’t think any of the monsters in it were very memorable. All of Harryhausen’s creations had a personality to them and stood out. And I think WETA’s creatures for the ‘LoTR’ films had a lot of personality too. But the ‘CotT’ remake none of the critters seemed to stand out to me, they all just seemed kinda ‘meh’. In face I didn’t love the remake nor did I hate it – the whole film was ‘meh’ to me.

    I love the original. Yes it drags at points and Hamblin wasn’t all that great. But still piles of awesome Harryhausen critters, Meridith, and Oliver made the movie for me.

  • alex

    No CGI effects can be as good as Harryhausen’s Medusa sequence. The Kraken was memorable too.

  • David Fullam

    A classic reinterpretation of a classic monster. Just wish the one in the new film was bare breasted.

  • It’s not very fair to compare new stuff to Harryhousen’s creations. Think how you all remember the four-armed snake girl dancer in 7th Voyage. How much screen time did she have? And the Minoton from Eye of the Tiger doesn’t actually ever do hardly anything except steer a boat.

    The man was able to make the most obscure, even peripheral, creature memorable in a way I’ve not seen anyone else accomplish except maybe Hieronymus Bosch. Of course no one else can meet his standard.

  • Rock Baker

    I recall another stop motion Medusa, from one of the Lou Ferigno Hercules movies. That one was obviously intended to copy this one, except her lower half was a scorpion’s body instead of a snake’s!

    I concur, Ray was at the top of his form when he made this, and the Medusa sequence is one of his best. I always liked his Kraken design, like it should’ve been a Martian in a science fiction movie. Overall, though, I remember little about the actual movie. Well, I remember the girl’s duff, which I’m not proud of.

  • zombiewhacker

    How about a little Cult of the Cobra before we wind this week up?

  • ZW– The problem with Cult of the Cobra is that she just turns into a snake, so no still is going to be particularly monster-ish. (Although obviously she qualifies for the title.)

  • zombiewhacker

    It’s been so long since I saw it I’d forgotten what they did for that. I figured maybe they did a lame woman-in-monster makeup thing for the climax, like The Wasp Woman and movies like that.

    Thanks anyway.