Features

My Favorite Things About The Original Clash Of The Titans! Ray Harryhausen!
by: -RoG-

Now here's a movie that should be in everybody's DVD collection. While the animation in movies like Jason and the Argonauts and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad may look extremely outdated these days, they were quite impressive when they first came out. And frankly, if it wasn't for all the brilliant work of Ray Harryhausen over the years, stop-motion animation may not have still been used in more modern films. Today, I'd like to pay tribute to one of his best works, the original Clash of the Titans, by breaking down my ten favorite things about it. So grab your sword 'n shield and let's get to it before the gods get angry.

#1: Zeus Likes His Toys!
I HAVE NO EGO! CAN'T YOU TELL?

Zeus. King of the gods. Ruler of Mount Olympus. God of the sky and thunder. Here's a guy who was just really full of himself. Look at him sitting there on his throne between golden statues while a blue light spectrum flickers behind him. Talk about a showboat. In addition to glorifying himself, Zeus really seems to enjoy punishing people. And just how does he lay down the law?

They'd be worth much more if he didn't take them out of the box.

With toys, of course! Zeus has a huge action figure collection that he doesn't appear to let any of the other gods play with. He just bosses them around and tells 'em who to kill next. Sometimes though, he'll just take one of his action figure representations of a human on earth and do some of the dirty work himself by crushing it in his bare hands...

Damnit Zeus, you're not gonna sell any of them on eBay if that's how you treat your toys!

I've always liked the idea that god is just a big spoiled kid with too many toys to play with. Clash of the Titans really helps drive the point home. He's clearly a total prick and man... who wouldn't give a million bucks for a chance to kick Zeus square in the nuts and steal all of his action figures? I know I would.

#2: Poseidon Is The Man!
SPECIAL EFFECTS WIZARDRY!

I know Poseidon wasn't in the movie much at all and the only real purpose he served was to turn a crank which raised a giant gate and unleashed the Kraken, but I'll be damned if he wasn't absolutely awesome. First off, you gotta feel bad for him being basically shrunk down and pasted on top of the footage of the gate being raised... out of all the effects in the movie, this was probably the cheapest one. Not exactly the way you'd expect to see the god of the sea put to use. Even so, it didn't stop Poseidon from being a total scene-stealing genius. Behold!

ACTION! ADVENTURE! GLITTER!

As a display of absolute wonder and amazement overcomes his face, we are treated to a slow-motion shot of Poseidon rising from an ocean. An ocean which is apparently filled with glitter. I guess he's amazed by the Kraken that he just let out, but it IS his pet after all... you'd think he'd be used to seeing the thing by now. Then again, maybe it's just all that glitter in the water that has him giddy as a little schoolgirl. Either way, it's a classic scene that I can't help but rewind and replay at least once whenever I watch this flick.

Fun fact: Poseidon is played by the late Jack Gwillim who also played the character of Van Helsing in another one of the greatest movies from the 80's: The Monster Squad.

#3: The Kraken!
HEADBANGIN WITH THE KRAKEN! \m/

Obviously, I can't talk about Poseidon without talking about the Kraken. The odd thing about the Kraken in this film is that it's not portrayed as the giant squid-like creature most of us are accustomed to seeing in pop culture. Instead, the Kraken in this movie is more like a giant merman... a Creature from the Black Lagoon who added some Miracle Grow to his diet if you will.

While he spends most of his time sleeping in a huge underwater cave, he's more than happy to come out, stretch his legs and destroy a city or two in the process whenever the gods tell him to do so. My guess is that Poseidon tosses him a few Scooby Kraky snacks here 'n there to keep the ol' Krakster happy. I don't care if you're a god or not, you definitely don't want to piss off a big sea monster like this.

#4: Gifts From The Gods!
HELLOOOOOOOOOOOO THERAPY!

Perseus is the big hero of the movie who is determined to save Andromeda and then eventually marry her. Before he can accomplish all of this, Perseus must go through many struggles... but if you ask me, none could be more traumatic than his struggles as a child. When he was younger, Perseus had to go for long walks on the beach with his mother... completely naked. It's a good thing he never mentioned that to Andromeda or she might've had second thoughts about marrying him.

OOOOOOOOOOOOO! SHINY!

I guess the gods felt bad for being so cruel to Perseus at a young age with the naked mom walks 'n all, so they decided to give him some gifts that would aid him in his quest to save Andromeda. They give him three gifts: a sword that can cut through stone as if it were made of paper, a helmet that renders its wearer invisible, and a shield that will one day save his life. Personally, I'd be willing to bet he'd trade in all these gifts if the gods would just erase the memory of those long nude walks on the beach with his mom.

Fun fact: Harry Hamlin reprised his role as the voice of Perseus in "God of War II".

#5: Bubo The Owl!
SPREAD THY WINGS, ROBO-OWL!

Being the genius that he is, Perseus quickly loses his helmet of invisibility in a swamp. Zeus then decides that a replacement gift should be given to him. Typical Zeus, always playing favorites with his toys... condemning some to eternal torture and giving others godly gifts. Anyway, Zeus commands Athena to send her magical owl "Bubo" to help Perseus. Loving the owl far too much to let it go to some puffy-lipped human, she decides to build a replica robotic owl to send to him instead. What, you didn't think there were robots in Greek mythology? Pfft, guess that shows how much YOU know.

What's great about Bubo is he only communicates with people through a bunch of whistles, bleeps and bloops and many have compared him to R2-D2 because of this. Furthermore, much like Luke can understand anything R2 says, Perseus can easily understand anything of the noises that Bubo makes too. (For the record, Bubo was created before "Star Wars".) To this day many people hate Bubo the owl because it seems like something that was added to the story just to entertain kids. Personally, I like Bubo simply because the concept is so ridiculous and laughable.

OH COME ON BUBO, HE JUST WANTS A HUG!

Especially when you consider how Bubo helps out Perseus by distracting the Kraken for a while. How big and bad is a giant monster if a tiny robot owl can keep it occupied for a while? I guess "Twin Peaks" was right... the owls are not what they seem.

#6: The Stygian Witches!
HUNGRY ENOUGH?

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble... oh, and blindness too. Yep, these three witches are blind as a bat without the help of their magic crystal eye which allows them to see. Problem is they only have one of these magic eyes, so they have to take turns using it. With the help of Bubo the wonder owl, Perseus is able to steal the eye from them and offers to give it back if they agree to tell him how to kill the Kraken. They tell him he must show the head of Medusa to the Kraken, for it's the only way it can be killed.

SHHH, IT'S THE SECRET INGREDIENTS THAT MAKE IT TASTE SO GOOD!

What really amazes me is that these three witches were apparently able to kill somebody to make a big gumbo stew. In all honesty, if you get overpowered by three blind old hags, you deserve to be boiled alive in a stew. On a related note, why do they need such a huge cauldron? They're not exactly fat, so I can't imagine they're gonna eat it all by themselves. Are they having house guests later on? I can only imagine how shitty it would be to play a game of charades with them.

#7: Mickey!
PERSEUS, YOU'RE GONNA EAT LIGHTNING AND CRAP THUNDER!

Yes indeed, the late, great Burgess Meredith had a small role in this movie as Ammon, a humble poet. He kind of helps motivate Perseus with great uplifting words such as "Call no man happy who is not dead!" and "I was partial to tragedy in my youth. That was before experience taught me that life was tragic enough without my having to write about it." You know, the kind of stuff that really makes people want to seize the day! Still, deep down I can't help but think that if Burgess popped in and shouted "Get up you son of a bitch! Get up and fight that Kraken 'cause Mickey loves ya!" when Perseus fell off of his Pegasus horse during the final battle, it might've made this the greatest movie ever. If not that, he could've at least let out one of his classic "waah-waah-waah!" Penguin laughs at some point. Oh what could have been...

#8: Blood Scorpions!
WHO CARRIES KETCHUP IN A SACK?

When the evil devil-boy Calibos discovers Perseus and his men sleeping at a camp site, he stabs their bag which contains the head of Medusa. This causes the super-thick blood to leak out from the bag and the result is something completely random...

LOOK! NEW PLAY FRIENDS!

Apparently, when the blood of Medusa comes into contact with the ground, it turns into giant scorpions. They quickly grow from tiny to huge in a matter of seconds. And they're not the friendly variety either, these blood scorpions are clearly out for... well... blood.

AWWWW, HE GAVE HIM A LOVE TAP. <3

Between Calibos and the scorpions, several of Perseus' men are killed off... one of whom gets nailed right in the chest by a scorpion. Unfortunately, the blood scorpions don't last much longer as Perseus hacks them to pieces with his god-sword and then dispatches Calibos too. Still, the idea that the blood of Medusa could create giant scorpions has always made this a memorable scene for me. And to those of you who keep pet scorpions in a tank, you're braver than I am because I wouldn't trust them not to triple in size overnight and kill me in my sleep. I don't care if you bought them at Pet Smart, you have no way of knowing whether or not they were spawned from the blood of ol' snakehead herself.

#9: Medusa!
HUBBA HUBBA! IT'S MISS UNIVERSE!

I don't care if they try to remake this movie or not, as far as I'm concerned, they'll never do a better job at recreating Medusa than they did with the one from Clash of the Titans. She was just too perfect. Seeing her turn some poor bastard to stone as her eyes glowed bright green and her snake hair wiggled about was pretty damned frightening back in the day. It's just a completely unforgettable close-up shot of one of the most infamous mythical monsters of all time.

MMM TASTY BLOOD

On top of that, Medusa dying was easily the goriest scene in the entire movie. When Perseus chops off her head, her body writhes around for a bit and then finally collapses to the ground. The blood then gushes out. Hell of a cool thing to see when you're a kid, even if her blood looks more like a combination of lava and ketchup than real blood.

YEAH THAT'S NICE 'N ALL, NOW CAN YOU PUT IT AWAY? I DON'T WANT TO TURN TO STONE.
Here's lookin' at you, Medusa!

#10: Charon The Ferryman!
PLAY SOME SKYNRD!

Before they can fight Medusa, Perseus and his men must travel by boat to the Island of the Dead and there's only one person who can take them there: Charon the Ferryman! Perseus blows into a horn to call the ferryman and soon enough, like a ghost, Charon appears out of the fog.

GIMME ALL YOUR MONEY!

As awesome as Medusa was, I've always been a sucker for creepy skeletal figures (Nicole Richie not included) and Charon the Ferryman is definitely one of the best you'll come across in a movie. He doesn't speak a word, he just collects his toll an takes them across the foggy river to the Island of the Dead. Perseus and his soldiers are clearly creeped out by him and don't say a single anything during the entire ride. All you hear is the boat slowly moving through the water while Charon's bones creak and crackle. Eerie as hell.

CHARON USES CREST WHITE STRIPS!

When they finally reach the island and he just turns to them and smiles. Well, he smiles as much as a skeleton can I suppose. I'm sure he was smiling because he knew they were gonna be fighting some deadly monsters soon enough. Anyway, Charon was always the scariest thing about the movie as far as I'm concerned and the nightmares I had as a kid about him are all the proof I need. Disagree if you will, but when it's done right, a skeleton in a cowl can look downright terrifying. Thanks for the memories, Charon.

And those are my favorite things about the original Clash of the Titans in a nutshell. If you don't already own it, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. I'm sure you'll find it FAR more entertaining than the 2010 remake. It's a truly entertaining movie filled with stop-motion action, adventure and... robo-owls! Viva la Harryhausen!

Have any questions or comments about this piece?
Email -RoG-

 

Reader Comments

Space Cowboy
Apr 3rd, 2010, 03:06 AM
Glad to see somebody's got the balls to tell it like it is. Claymation > CGI.
filthiest soap dish
Apr 3rd, 2010, 03:08 AM
I remember seeing this when I was a little one and Medusa scarring my for life. I couldn't look at some one for years without the assistance of a mirror.
Clap if you love Dynamo
Apr 3rd, 2010, 03:29 AM
I always wondered though, why is it when Medusa's head in a bag bleeds on the ground, scorpions pop up, but when she gets decapitated and that river of blood bursts forth, nothing appears at all
Forum Virgin
Apr 3rd, 2010, 04:11 AM
I really, really need to rent this again. It's been years.
Forum Virgin
Apr 3rd, 2010, 04:29 AM
I'm surprised you didn't mention the skeleton army fight scene. That was easily one of my favorite scenes in the movie, and one of the most complicated stop motion scenes I have seen.
Member
Apr 3rd, 2010, 08:02 AM
Medusa used to scare the crap out of me as a kid. I remember hiding my face in a pillow whenever they'd show *her* face on screen because she could turn you to stone, you know! Every time I've watched this, I've always wondered what they could do with it with "modern" special effects. Guess I'll get to find out soon...
SKATASTIC
Apr 3rd, 2010, 09:58 AM
I got excited and thought Hanglyman was Pacman

Skeleton fight scene is the best part of the movie.
Riot Control
Apr 3rd, 2010, 01:12 PM
Actually, something FAR more awesome would be having Mickey train Perseus before his battles.
Forum Virgin
Apr 3rd, 2010, 05:01 PM
Wasn't the skeleton fight scene in "Jason and the Argonauts"?
Pickled Patriarch
Apr 3rd, 2010, 05:32 PM
Meekrat - Yep, that's one o' the things Jason and the Argonauts is famous for. I think they're just confusing the two films.
Is a RoboCop.
Apr 3rd, 2010, 06:02 PM
THEY'RE BLASPHEMERS
The Magnificent Bastard
Apr 3rd, 2010, 06:29 PM
Actually, there are robots in Greek mythology. For example, there was Talos. Also, Hephaestus had a private robot army.

Yes, Greek mythology is friggin' awesome!
taco loving zombie
Apr 3rd, 2010, 07:28 PM
i got this in blu ray it comes with a cool art book also in a fun fact the actor who plays perseus also plays perseus in god of war 2
Is a RoboCop.
Apr 3rd, 2010, 10:52 PM
Who wants to bet darkvare didn't read the article? :O
Forum Virgin
Apr 3rd, 2010, 11:34 PM
In the myths, Medusa's blood did turn into a bunch of completely random things, but why would the movie start listening to the myths now? Besides, like Pentegarn said, it's not like the blood did anything when it came out of her neck.
aint nobody
Apr 4th, 2010, 12:51 AM
they remade Medusa and of course it was ridiculous

took the eerie, tension filled scene from this and turned it into a horrid, video game sam worthington can't act shenanigans fest
taco loving zombie
Apr 4th, 2010, 12:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Leader View Post
Who wants to bet darkvare didn't read the article? :O
i always read them after posting and if i recall correctly this is an old article
Cat Scratch Fever!
Apr 4th, 2010, 03:04 AM
As always you never dissapoint with youru top ten list RoG but there's one scene that should have made this list. That being when the head of Thetis's statue comes falling off freaking everybody out and comes to live demanding that Andromeda's little virgin ass gets sacrificed to the kraken or else she get's medival on Joppa. That scene never fails to crack me up.
Member
Apr 4th, 2010, 03:17 AM
Just another fun fact.... The nes classic Kid Icarus steals so much from this film that it isn't even funny. The most notable ones are the fact that on the last level Pit is also given three gifts, only they make it more blatent by making the shield a mirror shield. And then you go on to fight... you guessed it, a giant medusa head!

Of course the film steals a lot from greek mythology as well, so who knows which was the inspiration for the game.

And yeah... the greek gods had robots. But hell the greeks themselves had robots!

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Techno...nology003.html

Like our own culture, they had various mechanial toys in human form and although they weren't life-like in the least, much like our own culture, when it came time to write fiction, they imagined more complicated devices that were essentially living mechanial men.


People ignore the fact that the ancient world rivaled our own on a lot of levels. Take away electricity and the internal combustion engine and we are basically still where they were way back then!
pickled
Apr 4th, 2010, 08:18 AM
I adore greek mythology.
Forum Virgin
Apr 4th, 2010, 09:04 AM
I love Clash of the Titans. It's been one of my favorite movies since I was a little kid. I haven't seen the remake, but I'm sure it won't be as good.
lurking on the walls
Apr 4th, 2010, 09:48 AM
looks like something i'd look at anyways. to compare the new one to it.... kind of like the Dawn of the dead movies.... or that new remake to Return of the living dead...... super zombies with a Gatling gun grafted on them does NOT make the m super if they fall after one shot. Nemesis was a super zombie and the movies messed that one up too!!!
The Magnificent Bastard
Apr 4th, 2010, 01:30 PM
HowardC--You nailed it!

BTW did you ever look at the ancient middle eastern robots?
Is a RoboCop.
Apr 4th, 2010, 05:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkvare View Post
i always read them after posting and if i recall correctly this is an old article
God bless you, sir.
Member
Apr 4th, 2010, 05:43 PM
I'm not as familiar, but I'm aware of Al-Jazari and his book of ingenious devices.

The arabs made some really impressive toys that we would associate more with renissance artists.... clockwork men, music boxes, ect....
Forum Virgin
Apr 5th, 2010, 02:35 PM
I've got to second MeowMixMaster's statement that the Thetis's Head scene (as it is known to me and my family) is one of the funniest scenes in the movie.

The movie just in general rocks, my kids (7 and 3) both love it (though my daughter gets grossed out by medusa's decapitation). I'm glad to hear that the remake is pretty shitty, that way I can save myself the $50 it would cost to take everyone to the movies to see it!
Baron Von Snugglemittens
Apr 6th, 2010, 01:52 AM
I just got back from watching the remake. and while it doesnt have the same....."essence" as the original it is still a very good movie. almost everything on the list makes it into the remake. #2 and #7 don't and the damn owl is used as a throw away gag that had me laughing so hard I had trouble breathing. The only thing "bugged" me was the fight with the giant scorpions. they beat one by stabbing a spear into it's back, paralyzing it....I may be wrong but I don't think scorpions have spinal cords....
Strange blob from beyond
Apr 6th, 2010, 07:35 PM
This film was the reason I got so much into Greek mythology and went to Knossos, mount Olympus and athens in 2004
Sympathizes with the foo'
Apr 7th, 2010, 10:03 PM
It's been a while since I've seen the original, but weren't there already scorpions on the ground in that scene? It's not like the blood just made them spawn by itself, right?

Oh, and they don't have vertebrae, but sticking something long and sharp through the thorax of an arachnid -or a bug, which scorpions aren't- is going to mess with a few vital bodily functions.
Baron Von Snugglemittens
Apr 8th, 2010, 03:15 AM
but would it cause one to stop moveing completely? I mean I've seen ants ripped in half still moving.
Member
Apr 9th, 2010, 04:55 AM
I heard the remake sucked, can anyone confirm/deny?
Sympathizes with the foo'
Apr 9th, 2010, 03:53 PM
Beats me, but since we're obviously dealing with magic, we can't really go by what would happen in real life anyway.

So, can someone with a copy of the original movie confirm that those scorpions were already there? Now it's starting to needle me that I can't remember for certain.
Baron Von Snugglemittens
Apr 9th, 2010, 08:36 PM
so a wizard did it?

works for me.
Pickled Patriarch
Apr 9th, 2010, 09:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Tea View Post
So, can someone with a copy of the original movie confirm that those scorpions were already there? Now it's starting to needle me that I can't remember for certain.
Nope, the scorpions came from the blood of the bag with Medusa's head in it. Take a look:
Sympathizes with the foo'
Apr 10th, 2010, 05:46 AM
There we go. Thanks, Rog!
Sympathizes with the foo'
Apr 10th, 2010, 05:47 AM
Oh, you wouldn't happen to be a troper, would you, panther?
Baron Von Snugglemittens
Apr 10th, 2010, 08:40 PM
I vist the site often, but rarely edit.
Forum Virgin
Apr 11th, 2010, 11:48 AM
A friend of mine WORSHIPS the remake as if it's fucking Zeus. I told her I refuse to see it because I have to much respect for the original and Ray Harryhausen, she had never heard of him.
Pickled Patriarch
Apr 11th, 2010, 12:13 PM
Heh, sounds like your friend is the kind of person who perpetuates Hollywood greenlighting so many of these damned remakes.
Is a RoboCop.
Apr 11th, 2010, 09:11 PM
Sounds like your friend needs to be stabbed in the eyes. How'd she like the remake after that?
Sympathizes with the foo'
Apr 14th, 2010, 06:41 PM
It's nowhere near as great as the original -very few remakes ever are-, but I sort of enjoyed it. It's just a big, straightforward, dumb-ass action flick, like what Transformers could have been if they hadn't tried to be so "funny" with it.

[MINOR SPOILER]

I'll tell you what, though: They totally dropped the ball with Bubo's appearance. If they had moved its cameo to the very end of the movie so that he'd be Perseus' life companion, I'd still be laughing at it.

And one more thing: did anyone else notice that the Djinni -the desert-dwelling spirit thing- blew himself up to injure Medusa? I supposed Iran is gonna bitch about that one, too.
The Medium-Height Man
May 7th, 2013, 06:14 PM
I think that the blood spilled on some regular scorpions in the desert and just caused them to grow to the monstrous proportions seen in the film.

EDIT: WHOOPS. GUESS I'M WRONG AGAIN.

Click here to return to the Features homepage