Ray Harryhausen's Skeletons, the Kraken and Medusa are right here in Edinburgh! – Susan Morrison

Am I the only person who sees the threat posed by that octopus lurking by the Forth Rail Bridge?

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 4:55 am
The skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts have turned into tourists on The Royal Mile (Picture: National Galleries of Scotland)

This is how it starts, people! The Big Scary Monster Attack. Come on, given the past year, that’s been on the cards since January.

It was lolling about the beach at South Queensferry. I’m no expert, but it looked quite large. Well, chunky enough to go with a good Greek salad, some olives and warm crusty bread. And some white wine, obviously.

It's waving a tentacle in a friendly manner. Don’t be fooled.

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Like all good movie scripts, some humans bonded with it and took it back into deeper water.

Find this family and stick close. When the huge tentacled menace returns and begins its assault on the city, it will spot them and spare them, as Kong did with Fay Wray, although I was always surprised by that, since all that dame did was scream her head off. Frankly, that was a little wearing.

That octopus is up to no good. They can camouflage themselves like chameleons and take on background colours to hide. Well, this baby is as red as the Forth Rail Bridge. Proof that it popped up for a reconnoitre and has evil plans afoot.

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The fearsome Kraken looms large in Ray Harryhausen’s final film, Clash of The Titans (1981) as well as over the Forth Bridge (Picture: National Galleries of Scotland)

You mark my words, that beast will retreat to the depths, grow massively in size, and then, at the next full moon, our very own creature from the Black Lagoon, or in this case, Dalgety Bay, will surge from the Forth, assault the Castle, decimate the gift shop, then straddle the ramparts, waggling its tentacles sky-ways and roaring an earsplitting battlecry, like Godzilla howling in the ruins of Tokyo, New York or London (delete as applicable).

In which case, that being August, we’ll probably all say, oh, jings, look at that. They did manage to put something on at the Tattoo after all.

Or, it could just be an octopus. Blame Ray Harryhausen. I took my husband to see Titan of Cinema at the Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art as a birthday treat. It’s a belter of an exhibition. Monsters everywhere from Medusa, the Kraken and scariest of all, Those Skeletons.

I first faced those grinning demons in Girvan, during the Fair fortnight. Naturally, it was raining, so the local cinema just opened with no regard to the timetable. I suspect they stashed an emergency rainy-day-use copy of Jason and the Argonauts somewhere.

Mighty Joe Young climbs the Scott Monument (Picture: National Galleries of Scotland/SWNS.com)

Word spread in Woolies that the pictures were running a special matinee. The cashier told us. It's what we used instead of social media then. So we all trotted off to the flicks clutching pic‘n’mix. Only fools with too much money bought sweeties at the cinema.

It’s still a great film, ‘Jason’. Me and my wee brother loved it, until those grinning bony killers sprang from the ground for the final climactic battle.

We both clutched at dad, eyes glued to the screen, mouths hanging open, occasionally whispering, “How do they do that?”

My dad asked: “Are they too scared?” My mum airily answered: “It's based on Greek legends, Bill. Practically educational.” My mum’s brand of Glaswegian motherhood always valued learning over trauma.

Well, go to the exhibition. Not only will you find out how they did that, you’ll also discover that those sinister skeletons are still scary.

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