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FOWLER’S FLIX 10.19.17: REMEMBER THE TITANS

MGM Home Entertainment
Scene from "Clash of the Titans."
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In the early 80s, films like Star Wars had us looking to the future. But, for many kids circa 1981, it was the past that we became momentarily obsessed with as togas and swords temporarily replaced jetpacks and light sabers with the release of the mythological mélange that was Clash of the Titans.

Directed by Desmond Davis and featuring the final work of stop motion visual effects artist Ray Harryhausen, for a fantasy kid’s flick, Clash was kind of a bloody, almost brutal film set in a time when the Gods toyed with the lives of mortals for their own amusement and they were getting pretty sick and tired of it.

Future L.A. Law hunk Harry Hamlin was cast as Perseus, the illicit son of Zeus and a mortal that, in order to find his destiny, must pass a series of man-championing tests before rescuing the bare-bosomed love of his life Princess Andromeda from the hands of the deadly Titan known as the Kraken. If only romance was that easy.

Clash of the Titans is being shown on the big screen for the first time in over 35 years tomorrow night at the Science Museum Oklahoma as part of their Ray Harryhausen - Mythical Menagerie film and lecture series. In addition to a screening of the flick, special guests Vanessa Harryhausen, daughter of Ray Harryhausen and Connor Heaney, collections manager for The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, will be on-hand for a Q and A about the making of the film.

“This screening gives people a chance to see Clash of the Titans in a large format again,” Scott Henderson, galleries director, said. “People can come out, watch the film and then see the actual models that were in this film. Vanessa never makes these appearances either, so I thought it was a truly special opportunity to get her to come out to Oklahoma.”

When talking to Scott about the film, he brought up famous Medusa sequence, calling it a “scene which still haunts people today.” Man alive is he right. From the slithering in the shadows to her full appearance, snake wriggling and yellow eyes glowing, it’s a creature that looked so real, amazingly brought to like by the sheer genius of Harryhausen. Between that and the clown under the bed in Poltergeist, I’m guessing very few jammies stayed dried in 1982.

That’s probably why the film, especially for kids, worked so well on so many levels, from fear to wonderment: from the winged Pegasus, to those giant killer scorpions, from the villainous Calibos to the monstrous Kraken itself, it all seemed so real, more cinematically real than this generation and everyone after it will ever know. That’s because Harryhausen dealt in tangible models that the actors engaged with, real creatures and real monsters, painstakingly made to leap off the screen.

“When you look at one of the creatures on screen and you realize this is a real object that is moving, it has a real atmospheric, almost dream quality to it,” Henderson said. “The CGI is might look realistic, but you can’t trick your mind into thinking it is real, you know it’s something that was created artificially.

Harryhausen’s films, however, had a human touch. They were created by humans and animated by humans. They were real objects and it holds that wonder in your heart and just touches you.”

That makes sense to me. Here we are 35 or so years later, excited to see this 80s celluloid relic, whereas the remake from a few years ago is already a mostly-forgotten footnote. Just thinking about how back in ‘82, when Clash premiered on HBO, my brother and I would watch it twice a day, every day that summer. Our father even made us swords and shields and we would run around the house draped in bedsheets, pretending a mechanical owl was leading us to adventure. It was real for us.

At least until Superfuzz came along, of course.

Having myself not seen Clash of the Titans since, at the very latest, popping in a videotape to play on the overhead screens back when I was managing the Suncoast in Penn Square Mall, I’m more excited to relive this experience in an actual movie theater than I have been of most of the newer movies that have been released over the past few weeks.

Clash of the Titans will be screened at the Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place. Doors open at 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 and include the screening, lecture, Q& A, and access to the exhibition following the screening.

“If you’re a fan, it’s definitely an important thing to attend, to be able to see the collection, to be able to see the movie, to experience it on the big screen again, whether if you watched it growing up or reliving it as an adult even, just to be able to see it again in a movie theater setting and then talk to Vanessa Harryhausen about being on the set with her father…it’s gonna be a fun experience for everybody.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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