Sep 25, 2008
childhood nightmares: MEDUSA
Stop-motion or not, this Gorgon broad absolutely scared the bejesus out of me when I was a wee bonny lass. With all those writhing snakes atop her head, Medusa was a nightmare brought to life courtesy of animation guru Ray Harryhausen. Frightening to behold (aduh- so much so that she'd turn you to stone), she was also a crackshot archer- if only she were prettier, she might've been Olympics bound- and she'd kill you before you even knew you were dead.
That doesn't make any sense.
Or does it?
No, it doesn't. The point is, she's all ten kinds of stealthy ninja, as she slithers around her underground temple, only the occasional soft rattle of her tail giving her away.
Director Desmond Davis plays it smart, building tension by introducing her via a shadow on the wall- and man, is it effective. Medusa was the Universal Monster of my childhood...she gave me nightmares, but not so much that I couldn't watch Clash of the Titans over and over and over...
Sure, Perseus defeats Medusa, as heroes are wont to do. She may have even deserved that beheading...and to a nine year old, the animated blood oozing out of her neck stump was beyond grody in the most awesome way.
Still, I've always had sympathy for Ol' Gorgie. I mean, it's not her fault she's so hideous- in fact, she wasn't even born that way. Rather, being transformed from a beautiful maiden into terrifying, scaly, snake-haired beast was her punishment for...for...well, for being raped, essentially. I bet she was wearing a low-cut blouse!
Medusa just wants to be left alone, just wants to hang out all by her lonesome in the dark, when along comes the handsome young hero to take her head to us as a weapon in his bid to save a beautiful young maiden. Ain't that always the way?
It's best not to think about it too much. The important thing here is that she's scary.
Watch her battle with Perseus via YouTube!