O’Brien, Harryhausen Favs Coming to DVD

Three classic films, featuring the work of pre-CGI EFX gurus Willis O’Brien and protége Ray Harryhausen, are being released by Warner Home Video just in time for Halloween. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The Black Scorpion and The Valley of Gwangi will debut on DVD October 21 for just under $20.

Though EFX techniques have been dramatically transformed by CG, the stunningly imaginative and detailed work of these three classic films still amazes audiences today. O’Brien (The Lost World, King Kong) pioneered stop-motion animation and was a mentor to Harryhausen. The student learned well from his teacher and went on to refine the stop-motion technique in such films as Mighty Joe Young, Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans.

As per usual with DVD’s these days, the releases will be filled with extras. Beast includes, among other things, a featurette with Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury, and a look at the long-running friendship between the two maestros of science fiction and fantasy. The Black Scorpion DVD will feature Harryhausen discussing O’Brien’s life and works, and Gwangi special features will include a featurette titled Return to the Valley, featuring a highly sought after dinosaur sequence Harryhausen animated for Irwin Allen’s 1956 film The Animal World.