From the National Media Museum.

The Legacy Of Ray Harryhausen’s Medusa


It’s been suggested by historian Stephen Wilk that most people know the story of Pegasus and Medusa through Ray Harryhausen’s depiction of the mythological femme fatale in his 1981 film Clash of the Titans.

Indeed, Ray Harryhausen’s Medusa is one of the most recognisable characters in model-animation cinema history.

Medusa model © Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation

Medusa model © Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation

For such a pivotal character in the Ray Harryhausen canon of creations, Medusa spends such little time on screen – just under five minutes, and yet she plays such an essential role in Clash of the Titans.

Historically and cosmetically different, Harryhausen’s Medusa changed our perception of the character forever.

In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the three Gorgon sisters who had once been stunningly beautiful, “the jealous aspiration of many suitors”, according to the Roman poet Ovid. She was raped by the god Poseidon in the Temple of Athena, and when Athena discovered them, she turned Medusa’s hair into snakes and gave her the curse of turning all living things that looked at her into stone.


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About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a high school ESOL teacher, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in Beijing's Dongcheng district
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