King of the Monsters

Ray Harryhausen is coming to St. Louis, and he's bringing his skeleton army

But Harryhausen feels that the difference is blurred in too many of today's films. "So many films today are depressing; the subject matter's depressing," Harryhausen states unequivocally. "I've never wanted to sit for an hour and a half to watch someone in the process of dying; I don't find that entertainment." Harryhausen believes that the difference between menacing skeletons and today's monsters is that in films like Jason, "We tried to keep the hero alive, and the fact that good inherits the earth instead of evil. Today, some of the films I've seen are not my cup of tea. They frighten me." Citing the power that O'Brien's King Kong wielded over his imagination as a child, Harryhausen says, "If I had been affected by Little Caesar in those days [the same way], I could have been a godfather today!"

When it's suggested that he's a godfather in the more traditional sense of the word — to thousands of children worldwide — Harryhausen's response is quick and hearty: "Thank God!"

Ray Harryhausen: "Fantasy is bigger than life. It has to be, otherwise it's not fantasy."
Ray Harryhausen: "Fantasy is bigger than life. It has to be, otherwise it's not fantasy."

Ray Harryhausen personally screens an archival print of Jason and the Argonauts at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Webster Film Series (470 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-968-7487). Tickets are $4 to $6.

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