Some sad news this morning as the family of Ray Harryhausen has confirmed that the pioneering special effects legend has died at the age of 92. It’s impossible to overstate the impact Harryhausen had on motion pictures, not only did he revolutionize stop motion animation, but the aesthetic he brought to his models was always note perfect – tonally matching the project we has working on like a second skin.
The Harryhausen family issued the following statement on their Facebook page, “The Harryhausen family regret to announce the death of Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects pioneer and stop-motion model animator. He was a multi-award winner which includes a special Oscar and BAFTA. Ray’s influence on today’s film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the UK’s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations.”
Harryhausen’s work can be seen in films like Mighty Joe Young, It Came From Beneath The Sea, Mysterious Island, Jason And The Argonauts and of course Clash Of The Titans. His influence can be felt everywhere from The Lord Of The Rings to the junkyard skeleton fight in Dream Warriors.
Let’s hope the news of his passing and the consideration of his legacy reignites the attention to character and detail he held so dear. 1981′s Clash Of The Titans may not be a perfect movie, but his work in that is exceedingly memorable. Can you say the same about the visual effects in the remake? We need more visionaries like this and, just as importantly, we need an environment in which they can thrive.
Terrible news has hit the metal world as it has been announced that Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who was an original member, has passed away at age 49 due to liver failure. Hanneman had not been a touring member of Slayer since 2011, when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as the flesh-eating disease. Continuing health problems would not allow him to rejoin his bandmates.
The band posted the following message on their Facebook: “Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed.
Our Brother Jeff Hanneman, May He Rest In Peace (1964 – 2013)”
Our deepest condolences and thoughts go out to the family, friends, and fans of Jeff Hanneman. READ MORE
Marcel Vercoutere, who built the life-sized animatronic robot for Linda Blair’s possessed Regan in The Exorcist has died at the age of 87. Many of us weren’t alive at the time of the film’s release and even less of us were of the age to see it in a theater, but by all accounts the moment that robot’s head spun around was a huge pop culture “moment.” No one had seen anything like that before, and Vercoutere’s work still holds up today.
Whenever we cover a possession movie here on BD, everyone (including me) acknowledges that it’s sort of amazing how nothing in the past 40 years has even come close to touching The Exorcist in terms of impact. Vercoutere was a huge part of that.
Cinematographer Owen Roizman told the LA Times, “ He had made this unbelievable robot and everything about it worked — it almost had facial expressions. I was standing there looking at it and I said, ‘You know what, we forgot something. We don’t have any breath coming out.’ Marcel just said, ‘I’ll deal with that.’ He was so calm. And before you know it … the dummy had breath.”
Head inside to see the robot 40 years later! READ MORE
It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I write that Deftones bassist Chi Cheng has passed away at age 42. Cheng was involved in a car accident in 2008 and had been in a semi-comatose state since then. While he never made a full recovery, there were times when Cheng was showing improvement. A statement from his mother can be read below.
Cheng’s last recordings were for the Deftones album Eros, which is still unreleased, although singer Chino Moreno has said that the recordings will be released one day. Bassist Sergio Vega came in and has recorded the band’s last two albums, Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan.
Our deepest condolences go out to Cheng’s family, his friends, the members of Deftones, and to all the fans around the world. It seems so wrong that a man who fought so hard for the past four and a half years passed so suddenly.
Rest in peace, Chi. You are missed. READ MORE
News reports are beginning to trickle in that Danny Steinmann, director of Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning has passed away at the age of 70.
While I never met Mr. Steinmann (nor have I seen his Linda Blair starring Savage Streets – though it comes recommended by several trusted sources), it’s impossible for me to say that I haven’t been affected by his work. I’m a huge Friday The 13th nut, which means that I’ve watched A New Beginning more times than I’d care to admit in polite company. Interestingly enough, I was driving to a screening earlier this evening with a friend and the conversation turned to the F13 franchise. After what was probably a few seconds of shorthand, there was a brief back and forth on the merits (and detriments) of parts V and VI. While my friend likes Part V a bit more than I do, it was fun just touching on that installment’s particularly sleazy energy. It’s by far the most cynical film in the original series, and it has a chaotic “anything goes” attitude that’s vastly entertaining.
On the ride home this evening, I got an email with a headline bearing the news that Steinmann had passed away. I’ve read “Crystal Lake Memories” many many times – so I was surprised that even though I easily recognized the name as being familiar, I had a hard time actually placing it (even though my friend got it instantly).
I know this anecdote may seem pointless, but I think it’s interesting that we were discussing Steinmann’s work on the day of his death. It makes me wonder how many thousands of times I’ve thought of his film, either in passing or in serious consideration. He may not be a “horror household name” like John Carpenter, Sean Cunningham or Wes Craven – and I certainly never envisioned myself writing his obituary – but now I can’t help but feel like we routinely take for granted seemingly minor works that are actually cornerstones around which our appreciation of the genre is based. A New Beginning may not have changed the world, but it certainly impacted my little corner of the universe. And for that, I salute Danny Steinmann.
Footage of Mitch Lucker’s wife Jolie talking to fans who gathered at last night’s candlelight vigil has come onto the web. In it, Jolie confirms that Lucker was drinking and driving. You can watch the video below.
Around the 2:00 minute mark, Jolie says, “He was an alcoholic and it’s been a big battle. I tried to stop him. I was in front of him begging him not to leave the house. Begging him. Like, just seriously, for us, don’t leave. And he did. And this is what happened. It’s a wake up call. He’s an amazing man, he’s a wonderful father, and a great husband. And now he’s going to miss out on watching Kenadee grow because he decided to drink and drive.
Just don’t. Just think before you guys do something stupid. Please, learn from this. Please.”
It it still unsure if drinking and driving was the full cause of his passing or if something else happened. It will not be known until a full report is issued. Meanwhile, according to local news, an investigation surrounding the accident is underway. READ MORE
The passing of Suicide Silence singer Mitch Lucker yesterday shocked and devastated the metal community. At just 28 years old, Lucker left behind a wife and daughter, as well as a legacy of music that millions resonated and connected with.
Yesterday night, a candlelight vigil, where hundreds of fans gathered, was held in remembrance of Lucker. Local news crews were on site to cover the story as well as interview a few of the fans to hear their stories. You can watch footage below. READ MORE
Update (Monday, 12:33 p.m. PST): ABC News reported early Monday that Scott suffered from inoperable brain cancer. The story cited a source close to Scott, the younger brother of director Ridley Scott.
Some tragic news has saddened this Sunday evening as it’s being reported through various sources that British-born director Tony Scott (Anthony Davis Scott) is dead at the age of 68.
Variety explains that Scott allegedly committed suicide Sunday by jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans San Pedro and Terminal Island, Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said. A suicide note was found inside Scott’s car, parked on the bridge. Scott leapt off “without hesitation” around 12:30 p.m., according to the Coroner’s Dept. and port police. Our thoughts go out to his family.
A week ago I had literally just introduced my wife to Top Gun, and was about to share the bliss of Beverly Hills Cop 2 with her this coming week. Days of Thunder, starring Tom Cruise and Michael Rooker, remains one of my all-time favorite movies and is incredibly under appreciated.
Scott has produced the forthcoming mini-series “Coma”, to air Labor Day 9/8C on A&E. He was also producer on Prometheus, directed by his brother Ridley, Park Chan-wook’s forthcoming Stoker, among many other fantastic television series and movies. He will be missed and remembered forever. READ MORE
Sad news has come out today as legendary Blues/RnB singer Etta James has passed away due to complications from leukemia. She died with her husband and sons by her side. The singer was well known for such songs as The Wallflower, Something’s Got A Hold Of Me, and At Last. She was 73.
Since I don’t know much about Etta and her history, I’d recommend you read CNN’s article as it goes in depth into her life and career. But I personally have enjoyed listening to Etta for many years. Her body of work is astounding and the impact she had on the scene is undeniable. Rest well Miss Peaches, you will be missed.
Shocking news has hit the Internet as it seems that 27 year old Amy Winehouse has been found dead at her London flat. Even though she had a long and hard battle with drug addiction, she was still a widely recognized singer. Hell, her 2006 album Back To Black won five grammy awards!
No matter what the circumstances are, I hope you rest in peace Amy.
Sad news hit the Internet just a little bit ago: Anal Cunt‘s frontman Seth Putnam has passed away from a heart attack at age 43. His PR agent confirmed this via Twitter. Rest in peace Seth, I hope you get many anuses and vaginas wherever you are.