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Medusa Rocks – pun – My World

If ever there was a gothic fantasy character that kicked butt it has to be Medusa.  That hair and her stony stare have made her infamous. In fact, of all evil ancient Greek characters, Medusa is the most notorious and most memorable. Traditionally Medusa was a terrifying, distinctly homely creature, half-snake, half-woman, all mean. In the remake of Clash of the Titans, Medusa was designed with the same odious serpent body, but her face was that of a supermodel.  The digital effects of the remake cannot compete with the clay puppetry of the original. watch making silicone puppet head

Consider that the original film involved a painstaking process of clay animation. Medusa was a toy made of plasticine clay and built around a wire skeleton called anarmature. watch building a stop motion monster –  making an aluminum wire armature As in other forms of object animation, Medusa was arranged on the set, a film frame was exposed, and she was moved slightly by hand. Another frame was taken, and Medusa was moved slightly again until the entire scene was complete. The Medusa scene must have taken weeks, if not months, to complete. watch clay animation tutorial  A similar concept using stop motion filming is found in stop motion – whiteboard animation

The Medusa model itself is gold: its creepy appearance coupled with the sharp, jolting stop-motion movements, made her an unforgettable character. Like whiteboard stop-motion, paper motion animation is a similar notion that has its own unique signature. watch paper motion animation The digital remake is a yawn. We all know it’s just computer animation.  How much effort and imagination went into that? Not to mention the new Medusa is an obvious knock-off of the original character, and a cheap-and-easy knock-off at that. However, in the following video, digital animation produces an interesting-looking Medusa character. watch the island of Medusa Still there’s something about the use of traditional puppeteering to create a vicious Medusa that cannot be matched. watch make a buildup puppet

Tim Burton is a man with style and a modern-day master of clay animation. You just know his characters when you see them; the black and white stripe design on his puppets echoes from film to film . The character of Jack Skellington is a classic.   Eventually Burton paints a white pinstripe on little Jack, and the colour combination is echoed in Beetlegeuce on a desert monster and on Beetlegeuce himself. watch Beetlegeuse clips Other puppet features are reproduced in subsequent films. Skellington’s long skinny legs resemble that of Johnny Depp’s in The Corpse Brideas does the inclusion of the skeleton characters. I would love to see what Burton could do with Medusa. Black and white striped snakes, perhaps? I’d love to see her hairdo with highlights. Disney creates, of course, an adorable Medusa meant to entertain rather than intimidate. watch gorgon 3

Oddly, in Greek mythology, Medusa was a guardian, or a protectress. She was a Gorgon, a terrifying female character. The term Gorgon is a derivative of the word gorgos, meaning dreadful. watch Medusa full story Initially Medusa was a virginal woman envied by many women for her incredible beauty and endless supply of suitors. In addition, her power and beauty rivalled the goddess Athena. watch god of war ii – killing athena This didn’t sit well with the Goddess of War. Medusa was raped by Poseidon, Athena’s father, and Athena punished Medusa for the act, changing her into the horrific Gorgon, and the Goddess of Death. watch halloween makeup tutorial – medusa  

Frankly, the rape provided Athena with an excuse to torture her enemy with a hideous visage, and in addition, Athena banished the poor creature to an uninhabited island where she lived alone for the rest of her wretched days. watch Medusa needs love too Medusa’s combination of womanhood and deathly gaze was also meant to illustrate the struggle of mortal men who become entranced by a beautiful, yet unattainable woman. watch clash of the gods: medusaShe was also a warning that things are not always as they appear. Watch reflection – Medusa 

Medusa shared her dreadful traits with her two sisters, Stheno and Euryale, who, unfairly enough, were immortal while Medusa was not. The Gorgon’s legendary gaze was considered a protective vice and as such their images were carved in (what else) stone and mounted on the front of objects and buildings. Perseus, a demi-god, was ordered to slay Medusa by King  Polydectes, in order to get Perseus out of the way while he pursued the latter’s mother. watch Perseus and the Gorgon Polydectes had no true expectation that Medusa would be slain, but Perseus was clever enough to use a mirror when he cut off the Gorgon’s head, preventing him from looking directly into her evil eyes. watch medusa animated bust

Speaking of reflections,  Narcissus the Hot, was another Greek character who had dreadful luck with reflections and beauty. Narcissus was a great hunter who possessed incredible beauty. Anyone who beheld Narcissus fell in love with him, a weakness Narcissus despised. He was too proud to love anyone in return. Spurned by her advances towards the haughty, hot Narcissus, a forest nymph named Echo forced Narcissus to gaze upon his own reflection in a pool of water, wherein Narcissus fell in love with himself and pined away. I know a few men like that, frankly. watch animatic Narcissus

Personally, I don’t think Medusa was so bad. She was blessed with an enviable slim body, wicked hair and deadly eyes. Which woman doesn’t want to boast those traits? watch the full documentary: clash of the gods: Medusa 

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