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.
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
Some sad news today as Richard Brooker, the very first Jason to ever wear a Hockey Mask, has passed away at the age of 58. Having portrayed Mr. Voorhees in Steve Miner’s Friday The 13th: Part 3, Brooker went onto another acting role in 1983′s Deathstalker before moving on to a career as a horse trainer.
As a child, Brooker was definitely in my nightmares. That shot of him as Jason, looking through the window and smiling at our heroine in the canoe in the middle of the lake… for whatever reason it was one of the more indelibly frightening moments of my childhood.
Head inside to watch the scene, and to pay tribute to him outside of the mask as well. READ MORE
I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll keep this brief. Just one day after posting a leave of presence on his blog at the Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert has passed away at the age of 70. He had been battling thyroid cancer since 2002 (it would later cost him most of his jaw) and had recently suffered from further complications.
I was a huge fan of his, something I believe to be true of everyone here at Bloody-Disgusting. As horror fans, he may not have always loved the movies that we love, but he could eloquently state why he didn’t love them (and, occasionally, why he did). For that, he deserves our respect. I never met Ebert, but he seemed to be an honest, principled and lovably cantankerous presence. I’ll genuinely miss reading his reviews and hearing his thoughts on everything else (from food to politics).
I’ll leave you with his (often quoted) thoughts on death. “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip.“
An extremely sad bit of news today as reports are emerging that director David R. Ellis has passed away at the age of 60. Ellis got his start in Hollywood as a stunt coordinator (and stunt man), working on such films as 1978′s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Scarface, Lethal Weapon and Misery. He worked as a 2nd Unit Director on Waterworld, Deep Blue Sea and the first Harry Potter movie among other films.
But where he really earned our love was as the director of such fun, unpretentious films as Final Destination 2, Snakes On A Plane, The Final Destination, Cellular and Shark Night 3D. I particularly loved how he elevated the Rube Goldberg style traps in Final Destination 2. At the time of his death he was prepping to reunite with his Snakes On A Plane star Samuel L. Jackson on the film KITE.
Ellis passed away this morning in Johannesburg, South Africa. The cause of death is not known at this time.
Very tragic news as it is being reported that Academy Award winning sound editor Mike Hopkins drowned after being thrown out of a raft while on a river. His wife also fell out of the raft but she survived. Hopkins was 53.
Hopkins won Academy Awards for his sound editing on Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers in 2002 and King Kong in 2005. However, horror fans will remember him for his work on Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive and The Frighteners. He also worked on such amazing films as Blade Runner, Octopussy, Return To Oz, Time Bandits, Heavenly Creatures, and more.
It’s a sad way to end the year to know that such a skilled and talented man has passed away, especially when he had many more years and much more skill to offer. My deepest condolences to his friends and family. I know that I’ll be watching some of his films and thanking him the whole way through. READ MORE
Update: Nuclear Blast Records has issued a statement: It is with great sadness and regret this morning that we have to report that Mitch Lucker, vocalist of Suicide Silence, passed away a few hours ago due to injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident. Nuclear Blast would like to offer our condolences to his family, friends, band members and fans worldwide who are affected by this loss. He left us doing what he loved to do most. He was 28 years old and will be sorely missed. Fans are encouraged to share their memories, photos of Mitch and condolences on the band’s official Facebook page.”
Mitch Lucker, vocalist for Suicide Silence, died earlier today at the UCI Medical Center in Orange County after being involved in a motorcycle accident last night. He leaves behind a wife and daughter. He was 28 years old.
Suicide Silence had recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records and, as of last week, had begun work on a new album [source]. Bloody-Disgusting premiered their video for “Genocide” to support Saw VI.
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mitch, the rest of the Suicide Silence crew, and to all the fans of the band around the world. Mitch, may you rest in peace. 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
95 years. An Academy Award. Over 200 films and TV shows. Ernest Borgnine had an amazing run and a long, long life. He died today of kidney failure at Cedars Sinai medical center in Los Angeles surrounded by his family. His most famous role, the one that garnered him a Best Actor statue at the Oscars, was 1955′s Marty. He also had notable roles in The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen and McHale’s Navy. His genre entries include Escape From New York, The Devil’s Rain, Willard and Deadly Blessing.
His manager Lynda Bensky told CNN, “It’s a very sad day. The industry has lost someone great, the caliber of which we will never see again. A true icon. But more importantly, the world has lost a sage and loving man who taught us all how to ‘grow young.’ His infectious smile and chuckle made the world a happier place.”
While it’s certainly sad that he’s gone, he led an an impressively long life and had many achievements under his belt. Always inspirational.
Richard Lynch appeared in over 140 films and TV series’ before his death yesterday. No causes are yet known, but he was 72 years old at the time of his passing. His final appearance will likely be in Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem (which is now in post-production) and it was Zombie himself who broke the news this morning on his Facebook page stating, “I woke up this morning to the news that our friend Richard Lynch has passed away. Richard was great to work with and really gave it his all. I will never forget the way he scared the crap out of the kid actors in ‘Halloween’. As soon as I said action! He dove in his role of Principle Chambers at top volume. He will be missed.”
Some of Lynch’s notable roles include 2007′s Halloween, Invasion U.S.A., Trancers 2, 1987′s “Werewolf” TV series and The Sword And The Sorcerer.
Some sad news this morning as it appears that director James Isaac (Jason X, Skinwalkers, and Pig Hunt) has passed away at age 51. Isaac was heavily influenced by David Cronenberg (note Cronenberg’s appearance in Jason X) and also did special effects work for eXistenz (as well as non-Cronenberg films Virtuosity and House 2: The Second Story).
This morning screenwriter Todd Farmer (who wrote Jason X) tweeted, “RIP Jimmy Issac. A wonderful man, husband and father. I never tear up. I thought.”
I’m not sure what the cause of death was, all I know is that he was most certainly too young. And that he gave us one of the all time great Friday The 13th kills (the frozen face).
Our sincere condolences go out to his friends and family. Put on Jason X today.
Sources from all over the Internet are reporting that Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, one of the founding members of Beastie Boys, has lost to his battle with cancer at the age of 47. He was diagnosed with a salivary gland tumor in 2009, causing some touring dates to be cancelled. Most recently Yauch announced that he would not be able to attend the Beastie Boys’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was filmed March 14th in Cleveland, OH.
I’m going to open up a bit bere and state that I have a long history with cancer. I haven’t had it myself, but I have immediate family members who have been hit by it and it’s a traumatic, terrible, destructive illness. I read the news of his passing and wave after wave of memories wash over me. I see sterile hospital rooms, people with tubes running in and out of them, hear the beeps of respirators and monitors…
My heart goes out to the friends and family of Adam Yauch. And to Adam himself, you changed the lives of an unfathomable amount of people. Rest in peace sir. READ MORE
According to various sources around the web, Whitney Houston‘s publicist has stated that the singer has passed away at 48. The singer is considered to have been one of the most popular recording artists and is, according to the Guinness World Records, the most awarded female act of all time. Her life was filled with career highs as well as personal lows, including many rumors of heavy drug use (which she admitted to) as well as marital issues.
Regardless of her troubled life, Houston was a musical force that cannot be denied. Her loss is a tragedy and I extend my condolences to her family and friends.
They almost come in threes… (thank God)
Just the other day we lost the original Romero zombie, Bill Hinzman, while this morning we woke up to see that Morgan Jones, a character actor in TV and film, died in Tarzana, Calif., on Jan. 13. He was 84. Jones amassed more than 170 television credits, appearing as a series regular in “The Blue Angels” in the early 1960s, “The Twilight Zone” and recurring on Broderick Crawford series “Highway Patrol.” The actor also appeared in more than 25 feature films, including The Giant Claw, Forbidden Planet and the 1957 cult classic Not of This Earth.
In other news, acclaimed horror author/artist/director Clive Barker survived a near-death experience having just awoken from a seven-day-long coma.
15 Days ago Barker hit Twitter with the following message: “Dear Friends, I’ve had some medical issues that have recently forced me away from my beloved desk and into the hospital…” He then vanished for over a week returning to explain that he received “Toxic Shock” from a visit to the dentist that put him into a coma. “In my case the dental work unloaded such a spillage of poisonous bacteria into my blood that my whole system crashed, putting me into a coma. I spent several days in Intensive Care, with a machine breathing for me,” said the relieved artist.
“Later, my Doctors said that they had not anticipated a happy ending until I started to fight, repeatedly pulling out the tubes that I was constantly gagging on. After a few days of nightmarish delusions I woke up to my life again, tired, twenty pounds lighter but happy to be back from a very dark place.”
He later added, “I’ve played down just how close to dying I was, but in truth I was very close.”
I can only imagine what horrible nightmares he had over the course of a week. But we’re thankful that the 60-year-old auteur pulled through to bring us more horrific visions in the coming years. Get well soon! READ MORE