"Jason and the Argonauts"

The skeleton fight scene from Jason and the Argonauts proved highly influential.

"Army Of Darkness"

The skeleton fighting in Sam Raimi’s Army Of Darkness is a direct reference to Jason and the Argonauts.

"Spy Kids 2"

The skeleton fighting in Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids 2 is also a direct reference to Jason and the Argonauts.

"Earth vs. The Flying Saucers"

With the 1956 film Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, Ray Harryhausen showed us what an alien attack on Washington, D.C., might have looked like long before aliens blew up the White House in Independence Day.

"The Simpsons"

The Simpsons pledged allegiance to Earth vs. The Flying Saucers in this scene from a season-eight episode.

"Mars Attacks!"

The Harryhausen influence on Tim Burton is clear in a lot of his work, but the flying saucers in Mars Attacks! owe an obvious debt to Earth vs. The Flying Saucers.

"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad"

The gladiatorial scenes Harryhausen created for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad ended up appearing in one form or another in several other movies.

"Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones"

Elements of the gladiator scenes from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad are obvious in this scene from Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

"Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope"

In the original Star Wars, George Lucas included several creatures as chess pieces in a game between R2D2 and C-3PO, which look suspiciously like creatures we’d seen in Harryhausen films.

"Monsters Inc."

The restaurant Mike takes Celia to in Monsters Inc. has a name that should be familiar to monster lovers the world over.

"Corpse Bride"

In Tim Burton’s animated film, Corpse Bride, Victor plays a piano with a manufacturer’s name that should ring a bell. Burton also showed his love of Jason and the Argonauts’ skeleton fight with his killer video Bones.


8 Pop Culture Homages to Monster-Effects Godfather Ray Harryhausen (RIP)

On May 7, legendary special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen passed away. He influenced more than one generation of filmmakers, and they repaid the debt with on-screen tributes, such as the ones collected here.

Some of them had beady eyes you’d never want to turn your way; others had squirmy tentacles like pythons. Still others had exoskeletons. No matter the variation, though, it was always clear when visual effects don Ray Harryhausen’s work was on-screen. The creatures Harryhausen designed early on tended to move at a languid pace, but their influence spread fast, far, and wide.

"The Lord of the Rings is my Ray Harryhausen movie," Peter Jackson said in a statement regarding the effects specialist’s passing on May 7. "Without his lifelong love of his wondrous images and storytelling, it would never have been made—not by me at least."

Harryhausen himself was influenced by King Kong (later to be remade by Jackson), when he worked as a technician on 1949's Mighty Joe Young. But by the time he made stop-motion effects for the many beasts of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad nearly 10 years later, he’d come into his own and changed monster movies forever. His comfort zone was the stuff of nightmares, and those nightmares tickled the imaginations of every generation of directors that have seen them.

It’s hard to overstate the influence of Harryhausen. Certainly, you can see the larva of possibilities he unleashed in movies like Jason and the Argonauts, which bloomed into full-winged glory in the creepy-crawly work of Jackson, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. Fittingly enough, many artists saw fit to return the favor and pay tribute to the great special effects wizard on-screen in their movies and shows.

Have a look in the slide show above for some of Harryhausen’s greatest hits, the best homages and direct references to Harryhausen’s work, and watch a video introducing all of his creatures below.

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