Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

Day Twelve of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Countdown Day Twelve

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
I sometimes wonder if my love of horror films is due to the fact that I love monsters, or maybe it’s the other way around; maybe I love monster movies because I’m jonesing for a shot of horror.  I dunno.  One thing I’ve noticed is when people talk about horror they seem focused on slasher films or the supernatural.  They forget all about the monsters.  This is echoed in the projects that Hollywood elects to produce.  Right now the horror films in wide release: Let Me In, Devil, Case 39 and Lay Me Down to Sleep – are all supernatural in orientation.  Saw Nth is set for release later this month, so slasher fans won’t feel left out.  What about the monsters, real honest to goodness monsters?

Sometimes, you just have to expand your notion of the genre to get where you need to go and when I want monsters one place I can go is to marvelous Sinbad films, which are well stocked with Ray Harryhausen’s wonderful monstrous creations.  Today’s film is Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

I remember when this Sinbad film was released.  It came out the same year as Star Wars (I refuse to call it  A New Hope.  It’s Star Wars.  I’ll save that rant for another time.) which completely overshadowed everything else that came out that year.  A year later Star Wars was still running in theaters while Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was running on HBO, which afforded a young Captain Midnight the opportunity to see it about a million times.

While George Lucas was ushering in an era of new effects technologies with Star Wars, Harryhausen was giving us his craft at its most refined. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, the third and last of Harryhausen’s Sinbad films, was the next last big budget stop motion epic monster movies, Clash of the Titans being the last, ending a tradition that went back to the earliest days of film–  Willis O’Brien’s short films for the Edison company in the silent era.

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is way more than an effects curiosity; it’s 113 minutes of monster filled, swashbuckling awesomeness: there is John Wayne’s son, Patrick Wayne as the shifty hero Sinbad; a young and scantily clad Jane Seymour; former Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton; and Margaret Whiting in an over-the-top performance as the evil witch-queen Zenobia.  The monster roll call is just as great: a giant evil clockwork minotaur, a chess playing baboon, a horned giant, a giant wasp, ghouls, a gryphon and a giant saber-toothed cat–  all rendered lovingly in stop motion, which while not totally realistic, does have more character and heft than CGI.

It’s a shame that Hollywood stopped making the Sinbad films– they’re fun.

2 Responses to “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger”

  • TreverT:

    Was it Troughton or Baker? My memory is that Tom Baker was a Sinbad villain in one of the movies, as evil wizard or some such.

  • Captain Midnight:

    You’re thinking of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, which is my favorite of the Sinbad movies, and one I will definitely be slobbering over in great detail in a future article. It was on the strength of his performance as the villain in Golden Voyage that Tom Baker landed the role of The Doctor.

    Patrick Troughton is in Eye of the Tiger, and plays the wise man advising Sinbad.

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