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April 2, 2010

Geek Out!: Classic 'Clash of the Titans'

Posted: 09:22 AM ET

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Yes, the new “Clash of the Titans” movie comes out this weekend, and yes, I will go see it (but not in 3-D). But as good as this film could be, it cannot and will not replace the original 1981 version as one of the “classic” movies of my younger days.

The story is an ancient tale of bravery, love, gods and monsters. Growing up, I remember watching the movies of Godzilla and Gamera and being bedazzled by the awesomeness of monsters coming to life on the screen.

I also watched King Kong, Mighty Joe Young and the Sinbad movies just for that reason. I became familiar with the name Ray Harryhausen after watching “Jason and the Argonauts” and the animations of skeletons fighting the sailors.

Even though I knew it wasn’t real, Harryhausen’s stop-motion model animation made it seem real. But it was in “Clash of the Titans” where his most memorable work was waiting for me.

The skeletons returned to harass Perseus and his men as well as giant scorpions, a winged horse, mythical creatures, and, of course, the Kraken. The legend of the Kraken portrayed them as very large octopi or squid. Harryhausen went one step better and gave the monster a head that resembled a cross between a parrot and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Even the funny and smart mechanical owl, Bubo, was made so well that I wanted to find an owl like that for myself.

It wasn’t that these creations were done so masterfully that made the movie memorable. It was that there were so many throughout the entire film. A scene with one animated creature would end and another would begin with a brand new monster. As a teen boy who was reading Tolkien (for the billionth time) and playing “Dungeons and Dragons”, these were my imaginations coming to life.

“Clash” would be Harryhausen’s last feature film to showcase his stop-action work. Computer animation was already being used and movie companies were using it more and more for their productions. While the use of computers made the creatures more life-like, they seemed to sap away my need for my imagination to make them seem real.

While I have only seen trailers for the new version, I can say I am impressed with the new Kraken. I will go see the 2010 film and probably be dutifully entertained. Will I come away with the emotional and nostalgic feelings that I get when I watch the 1981 version?

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean I won’t like it.

What was your favorite part of the 1981 “Clash of the Titans”? What made it a memorable movie for you? Let us know in the comments area below. In the meantime, here's what moviegoers told iReporter Chris Morrow about the new version at an early screening.

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Filed under: Geek Out! • Movies • pop culture

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RObert   April 2nd, 2010 9:28 am ET

I wish all these 3d MOVIES would go to BLURAY as 3d also or even regular DVD

Ray   April 2nd, 2010 9:54 am ET

The skeletons are from Jason and the Argonauts, not Clash... right?

Julie Marateck   April 2nd, 2010 9:54 am ET

I loved seeing Medusa's cheesy animated snakes as her hair! And I loved the owl in the 1981 flick!

James   April 2nd, 2010 10:02 am ET

I wanted to kill Calibos myself!

Biggles   April 2nd, 2010 10:06 am ET

Absolutely correct Ray!!

Jed   April 2nd, 2010 10:09 am ET

thats correct RAY!! That pic is from "jason and the argonaughts" I loved the old (clash) and I know this one will be amazing, Whenever I'm with my wife and feeling 'cheeky' I yell "RELEASE THE CRAKEN"!!! then i jump into bed...

Walker   April 2nd, 2010 10:09 am ET

Ray, yes those skeletons are from Jason and the Argonauts. The scene where the mage throws dragon teeth into the sand and the fun begins (I love that scene).

Even with ok reviews I'll go see Clash this weekend.

dave   April 2nd, 2010 10:12 am ET

Yep, the skeletons are from Jason and thr Argonouts. Wouldn't that be a cool remake

Ron Feuer   April 2nd, 2010 10:12 am ET

I'm Ron and not Ray...Ray died about ten years ago...but I am from an age, when movies really did scare you and not like the crakens and other things that get released in bedrooms around the world nowadays...LOL!!!

Karl B   April 2nd, 2010 10:12 am ET

Back in the early 80's though, this movie was not considered geekish, it was just considered plain awesome.

Ron Feuer   April 2nd, 2010 10:14 am ET

and it was!...Harry Hamlin is a great actor also!

Jed   April 2nd, 2010 10:15 am ET

I love it how people know how to spell craken right, lol. I dont care WHAT the Reviews say about "Clash" Just seeing the craken, and watching the behind the scenes movie stuff on HBO about it makes me go from six to midnight...It looks awesome, WHO THINKS "JASON AND ARGONAUTS SHOULD BE REMADE?!?!" I think that be sweet too

Jed   April 2nd, 2010 10:15 am ET

I mean Kraken

IndyVoter   April 2nd, 2010 10:16 am ET

My favorite parts are: When Perseus and Andromeda are talking, getting to know each other after he answers her riddle correctly. They seemed to be in love already and they just really met each other....Also, I liked it when Perseus defeats the Kraaken, takes the keys and unbinds Andromeda from the rock and picks her up and carries her to safety! ((SIGH)) ...Where are all the Perseuses in 2010?

India   April 2nd, 2010 10:17 am ET

Tim Pigott-Smith as Thallo is the reason =I= love that movie!

Michael   April 2nd, 2010 10:18 am ET

If I recall correctly, the skeltons were in both "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad", both Ray Harryhausen projects. The good old days of movies....

IndyVoter   April 2nd, 2010 10:19 am ET

Harry Hamlin was a great choice for Perseus!!! Greek god handsome and a great actor!!

RMH123   April 2nd, 2010 10:21 am ET

Great article and i agree 100%. The '81 version will always be special. Remember the Minitaur? Was that in Jason and the Argonauts? I think that monster made the most impact on me as a kid. It was scary but some how awesome.

Ron Feuer   April 2nd, 2010 10:21 am ET

Sounds like a great chatroom! U guys have fun....loved them old Ray Harryhausen monsters...they were the absolute BEST!!!

Jed   April 2nd, 2010 10:22 am ET

Ok seriously how do you spell (KRAKEN) IS IT (CRAKEN, KRAAKEN, KRAKEEN??
Thats right Mike, I totally forgot about the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad...I was like 14 when these movies came out and they were the best things ever, especially when ur a teenager and theres some briefe nudity in the original "Clash"

Chuck   April 2nd, 2010 10:23 am ET

"Give me the EYE!!!!!"

Ron Feuer   April 2nd, 2010 10:25 am ET

One more thing, fore I go...I am getting too old fer these teaching sessions...THE MOVEMENT CREATED BY HARRYHAUSEN COULD SCARE YOU AS WELL AS THE CREATURE ITSELF...that was the thing that made the "stop-motion" method the best thing that Harryhausen did...not to mention that he designed many of the creatures as well...he was a theatrical genius at creating monters and movement of them!

Harryhausen Fan   April 2nd, 2010 10:26 am ET

Actually the skeletons were in "Jason", "Sinbad", AND "Clash" – doesn't anyone remember that he had to sow the dragon's teeth and walk across the field to claim the golden fleece? The teeth sank into the ground and sprouted as the skeletons that he had to battle to win the prize.

Jed   April 2nd, 2010 10:26 am ET

So does anyone know the correct spelling of (The Kraken, Krakeen, Kraaken, Craken?)

wizojoz   April 2nd, 2010 10:27 am ET


I too love the original. I enjoyed the original Clash so much I created my own Bubo!!
You can see him along with many other classic sci-fi robots that I created at

Ron Feuer   April 2nd, 2010 10:28 am ET

I think Kraken is correct!

Ron Feuer   April 2nd, 2010 10:30 am ET

Harryhausen fan...u write well!

Guest Poster   April 2nd, 2010 10:34 am ET

Everything about the original "Clash" was wonderful–cheesy, but good cheesy. No one has mentioned all the great British thespians playing the gods on Olympus: Sir Larry Olivier and Maggie Smith! My favorite scene in the original was with Medusa with her living head of snakes.

rick   April 2nd, 2010 10:34 am ET

I think the writer of this artical is a bit confused about what movie he liked. I didnt think the 1981 version was that good. It was like superman and the airplane movies of the same time frame. Harry Hamlin and his big hair... Really.? Who wants a hero with a perm? and some scenes give away the timeline. (modern dental work, jogging shorts under tunics, bad green screen affects.) The skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts (1961) and I think all of us liked this one. The skeletons are just cool. Even my non geek wife loves that scene. If anything this new version should be better than the 1981 version.

RMH123   April 2nd, 2010 10:39 am ET

Rick! you speak blasphemy! You are hereby banished!

efp   April 2nd, 2010 10:42 am ET

I always liked the showdown with the Medusa. Very tense.

cindy   April 2nd, 2010 10:42 am ET

I LOVED the original "COT". Bubo was my fav creature, and I was terrified by Medusa. Her severed head creeped me out! I had a huge crush on Burgess Meredith after that movie!

Reilly   April 2nd, 2010 10:44 am ET

The Medusa scenes were my favorite!!! She was so creepy and as a kid I was terrified and intrigued at the same time.

The one thing that bothers me about the remake is that Perseus has a shaved head. In my mind, Perseus will always have a nice full head of Harry Hamlin hair!

Michael   April 2nd, 2010 10:54 am ET

Oh there are so many gems from the original film. The Sticheon (sp) witches, the fight with giant scorpians, Calibos in the swamp, Harry Hamlin in his loin cloth, Andromeda chained by the sea and the look on her face when the Kracken appears. And this just names a few....

LtCmdrData   April 2nd, 2010 10:55 am ET

Andromeda coming out of the bath before she meets the Kraken! I was an impressionable young man at the time 🙂

DanB   April 2nd, 2010 10:57 am ET

My favorite part is the medusa scene when Perseus decapitates her and the body dumps out the thick caustic blood!

What a great movie!

Michael B. Moore   April 2nd, 2010 10:59 am ET

The '81 Clash was a great and memorial movie for me as well. The hero hoisting aloft the severed medusa head while riding the Pegasus is forever seared in my memory.
Krull and The Sword & the Sorcerer were the other two movies from that time that let my Geek Flag fly. I hope the new CG fantasy movies inspire a new generation of fans.

Steve   April 2nd, 2010 11:07 am ET

Nothing will replace the mastery of Ray's Harryhausen's imagination, skill and magic. The creatures he had created were believable. The CG of today just look hollow, no substance, just surface, as if you could your hand through them. It's a time that's been lost. Ah, the good ol' days.

WaDC   April 2nd, 2010 11:15 am ET

Favorite part: cutting off the head of Medusa and having all that awesome red ketchup come out! Medusa totally terrified me when I first saw the movie as a wee tike, and I jumped and cheered when Perseus got her.

Booya   April 2nd, 2010 11:29 am ET

"Give me the eye!!"

I remember Andromeda being hot....

aibarra   April 2nd, 2010 11:31 am ET

I loved the 3 witches that had to share the one eye!!! Oh and Bubo of course! I too wanted a pet owl!

alflorida   April 2nd, 2010 11:40 am ET

Didn't like the mechanical owl, this was the time (post Star Wars) where it seemed every movie had to have a robotic sidekick (see The Black Hole). Loved the Kraken, that first sound he makes when he rises above the water, and then later the slow motion breaking apart after he saw Medusa's head... don't know how they did it, but you really felt like he was 100 feet tall.

dave. h   April 2nd, 2010 11:43 am ET

I have the C.O.T.T.action figures mint on the card and i'm 41 years old. I saw the original a dozen times and every viewing was a treat! I always loved the charon, the devil's boatman. He was creepy for sure. I will most likely see the new version,but the original is a masterwork!

schander   April 2nd, 2010 11:43 am ET

The original Clash is one of my favorite movies of all time – it's just a fun movie to watch. All the technical modern wizardry makes it way too serious. Besides, Harry Hamlin was young and innocent, and SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER played Zeus. Only he can release the Kraken.

jen   April 2nd, 2010 11:57 am ET

I taped the original "Clash" on TCM and had to have my nieces and nephews watch it before they watch the new one! So much more to appreciate, at least for me! I also grew up watching these RH movies and loved every minute of it! The whole movie is awesome!

JTin Pitt   April 2nd, 2010 11:58 am ET

I think the minotaur was called 'Minoton' and it was from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger...circa 1976. They should remake all of those fantasy/mythology movies. Now I gotta a KRAKEN I gotta release!!

G   April 2nd, 2010 11:59 am ET

Maybe I'm getting a little off-point, but does anyone remember the old Hercules movies starring Steve Reeves? Or the "Sons of Hercules" TV series? Absolutely magnificent!!!

Susan   April 2nd, 2010 12:03 pm ET

The Medusa creature with the snake body firing away with the bow and arrow was most memorable for her snake hair

Cal   April 2nd, 2010 12:15 pm ET

The original is one of my favorite movies. It was one of the movies I enjoyed the most growing up. Maybe being exposed to it as a toddler made me interested in mythology?! I want to cry every time a good movie is remade.

Phyto   April 2nd, 2010 12:24 pm ET

The 1981 version is one of my favorite movies, and no remake could ever replace it.

Jim   April 2nd, 2010 12:26 pm ET

I originally saw the 80's version at a drive in, great story but terrible production. The movie showed up at a dollar theater about a year later, I was so unimpressed with it the first time I forgot I saw it. Within the first 5 minutes I remembered it and walked out. I am really looking forward to this new version.

bond12   April 2nd, 2010 12:28 pm ET

There is a scene involving fighting skeletons in the movie, "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad." I believe this also was created by
Ray Harryhausen.

Mike   April 2nd, 2010 12:30 pm ET

Using the shields reflection to see Medusa..Classic..Whay to think on your feet.

Ida just pooped myself and ran =D

dave   April 2nd, 2010 12:30 pm ET

Yes the scean with medussa fight was awesome... I also LOVED how the gods would set the toy charachters into the coloseum and they would come to life....especially cool when they cursed the guy into the half goat half demon guy.... very cool.

yinny   April 2nd, 2010 12:34 pm ET

I loved the owl and the kraken but you are right the 2010 version will never give me the nostalgic feeling i get when i watch the 1981 version.Its irreplacable.

Mark   April 2nd, 2010 12:36 pm ET

I just watched Clash on TCM last week, and there were no skeletons. Love the shot of the princess getting out of the bath! Yummy!

@RHM123, Minitaur was in Sinbad and the Eye of The Tiger.

el   April 2nd, 2010 12:37 pm ET

Loved the old Clash, reading all these comments brings it all back. Remakes done today focus so much on the special effects I think the story sometimes takes a backseat. The characters seem more angry and intense, all in the name of being as "extreme" as possible. Oh Harry, you were wonderful, he really looked the part too.

Mich   April 2nd, 2010 12:39 pm ET

Yes, the fighting skeletons are from 'Jason and the Argonauts', CNN! There are NO fighting skeletons in the 1981 'Clash'.

I loved the original, too! Not really interested in seeing another version. Weren't there any other myths they could have made? The Greeks and Romans had a lot of them, you know...

And yeah, Bubo the mechanical owl was a result of the 'Kids love robots! We gotta include a robot!' post-'Star Wars' line of thinking.

Steven   April 2nd, 2010 12:51 pm ET

I was very frightened by the Medusa scene. Especially when she looked directly at the camera. I had to hide my face as I thought I was going to be turned to stone as well.

L Thompson   April 2nd, 2010 12:51 pm ET

Yes, those skeletons are from "Jason and the Argonauts." I teach mythology and I have used this movie, and the 1981 "Clash..." for years to reinforce some popular mythological images. As best I can remember, there are no skeletons in the original "Clash...".

NC Bob   April 2nd, 2010 12:52 pm ET

Ha, I'm a traditionalist. Jason and the Argonauts was better than Clash. I remember watching that as a kid and I would always lose it when Talos comes down from his perch. The scream of the skeletons at the beginning of the battle always made me laugh. A great movie and supposedly Harryhausens favorite.

I should get the dvd, I want to watch it now!

Tim   April 2nd, 2010 12:58 pm ET

all i need now is a remake to "Krull" and i will be in heaven. 🙂

Scott   April 2nd, 2010 1:10 pm ET

I always loved when Perseus fought Medusa. I thought it was so cool how he used the shield's reflection to defeat her.

michelle   April 2nd, 2010 1:10 pm ET

I enjoyed the backround sounds and simple clever effects of the movie the most. The crashing of the waves, the slippery sounds of medusa in the quiet night, the arrows as they are released, using the sheild as a mirror, the oar as it passed through the River Styx, the wind through the trees, the sound of Pegasus flying, the sounds of walking through gravel, even the gates coming up to release the really contributed to taking you there.

MrsFizzy   April 2nd, 2010 1:21 pm ET

Aw, if there's no Bubo in the new movie...well, I dunno if I want to see it! As kids we must have seen this and Flash Gordon at least 100 times!

Chris   April 2nd, 2010 1:32 pm ET

I love this movie!! They used to air it every summer on tv and I would be sure to watch it. I wanted that owl sooooo badly. Ray Harryhausen is a genius. One of my all time favorite movies growing up. I will see the new one, but there is no way it will ever have that same "magic" that he original had.

xs10tl   April 2nd, 2010 1:47 pm ET

The original CoT has so many great elements to it that you simply will not find in many modern action flicks – the caliber of actors (Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith), the locations and the overall mood. I always loved the little touchesin CoT, like giving a coin to Charon the Ferryman, and as he rows across the river Styx you can hear his bones creaking-that scene still gives me chills! I also love the dry humor of the Stygian Witches and of course the chess match between Perseus and Medusa-great mood, music, etc. The greatness of CoT and others like it comes from filmmakers having to do more with less / what was available and really working their on screen magic. I'll go see the new version but the original will always hold a special place in my geeky heart!

John   April 2nd, 2010 1:52 pm ET

Jack Gwillim was my favorite. He played Poseidon in Clash and King Aeetes in Jason

Naja   April 2nd, 2010 1:54 pm ET

My dad took my sister and I to see this movie!!! One of my best memories from childhood!!! The Kraken scared the crap out of both of us!!! I was also afraid of the giant Vulture that carried Andromeda in the golden cage/chair. Calibos was extraordinarily crreepy too!!! But I really, really wanted Pegasus for my very own!! I totally get the homage to Ray Harryhausen by Pixar in "Monster's Inc."

Great movie!

Ted   April 2nd, 2010 2:07 pm ET

I took a date to the original 'Clash" in 1981. It was going well, until the Medusa character appeared on-screen. My date screamed & ran out of the theater. Turns out she was deathly afraid of snakes...

Melissa   April 2nd, 2010 2:18 pm ET

You can stream the original "Clash" on Netflix. My kids and I watched it together just a couple of weeks ago. It is still one of my all time favorite movies. I don't even know if I want to see the new one. It just doesn't look as good.

Chay   April 2nd, 2010 2:38 pm ET

Jason and the Argonauts were my favorite. Poseidon holding back the walls of rock so the ship could pass through, the sorcerous crying "there's not enough" when left with a crow's foot, the seven headed dragon and the Miniton who was my absolute favorite. Tall, silent and strong. Rippling muscles and endless energy. It didn't bother me that he was stupid as long as he wouldn't kiss and tell! I don't want to see the new Clash – I'm perfectly content watching Pegasus' warbled flying pattern and Bubo's antics. Hamlins posing was goofy so he didn't affect me like the Miniton. Imagining that a God could move me from place to place was awe-inspiring.

Arlyn R   April 2nd, 2010 2:39 pm ET

@Tim, "all i need now is a remake to "Krull" and i will be in heaven. "


Killian   April 2nd, 2010 3:43 pm ET

For over 25 years I've been wondering what the heck happened to the third scorpion...

Vivian   April 2nd, 2010 4:55 pm ET

According to its Wikipedia entry, the correct spelling is Kraken. They cite the 1830 poem by Tennyson as first literary reference to the monster.

mrsister   April 3rd, 2010 1:31 am ET

The nudity! Hey, it's a big deal when you're a 9 year old boy.

majicks   April 3rd, 2010 9:32 am ET

I have been a life-long Harryhausen fan, but I will go to see the new Clash. I will probably enjoy it for what it is, a high-tech remake of a classic film. I'm sure the whole project began because of the filmmakers love of the original, but will they capture the magic of the Harryhausen effects? I very much doubt it.
How do you duplicate a hand-crafted film, with one created for the most part on a computer? Every creature that appeared in the original film was imbued with a performance by one man. Harryhausen was an actor by proxy, each movement, every turn of the head, every action and reaction was choreographed by him. That is why his name appears as a single credit 'Creator of Special Visual Effects'
A remake is easy to do, but recreating the magic that Ray Harryhausen brought to all of his films, that is a different matter.

T B   April 4th, 2010 12:59 pm ET

Oh come on, Princess Andromeda's (Judi Bowker) bare bottom is the highlight of that movie, and the only thing in it that was "perfect".

john martin   April 5th, 2010 11:03 am ET

Ray Harryhausen visited my college (Georgia State University) in the late seventies. He brought the Kraken with him and we were all enthralled by his kind manner, keen wit and legendary status among
all of us who grew up on his great work. He described how he would
lay on the ground to get the perspectives right, slide rule in hand.
That was old school at its best.
John Martin

winghop   April 5th, 2010 2:41 pm ET

CLASH '81 is indeed still absolute fun! The new original scrambles some of the original bits, leaves out others, changes a few more, but it's still fun and stands on its own. Better? Nah., but it doesn't have to be. There will never be another cast with the gravitas of the original, so it's all good.

Long Live the Kraken!!!

C from AZ   April 5th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

I read this and thought 'this guy had the same childhood as me.' I also grew up watching this movie (and others) while playing D&D, reading Tolkein (and his derivatives), and playing Atari. It was a lot of fun.

I plan to see the 2010 version eventually, but the 1981 version will always be closest to my heart. I also loved Krull, Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Beastmaster, and many others.

pininfrna   April 6th, 2010 2:45 am ET

RObert: 3D doesn't work on regular TVs. Not unless it's the red/blue anaglyph glasses type.

mortimer   April 6th, 2010 5:46 am ET

Ray Harryhausen was an under study to the great Willis o Brien, he who brought King Kong to life in the 1931 classic , both cinema legends who filled the screens with so much magic , they entertained millions of people around the world and still do to this day .

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