Alien Designer H. R. Giger Dies, Aged 74


A spokesperson from the Giger Museum in Gruyere has today announced the death of the artist and Oscar-winning designer H. R. Giger, from injuries sustained from a tragic accident at his Zurich home. 

Perhaps best known for his work on Ridley Scott‘s Alien, the artist made cinema history in 1979 with his groundbreaking designs for the film’s set and Xenomorph creatures. Giger’s involvement in the film came about after Scott saw his Necronom IV painting and imagined the impact such a design could have onscreen. “I’d never been so certain about anything in all my life,” said Scott. Since then, it’s hard to overstate the tremendous influence the Alien movies have had on the sci-fi genre as a whole: it seems there are few films involving monsters or aliens today that haven’t been inspired by Giger’s work in some way.

Alien_vs._Predator_(2004)_-_AlienGiger’s artwork, which he described as “biomechanical“, combined human and animal features with cold, machine-like parts to create dark, surreal creatures and nightmarish dreamscapes, typically with disturbingly invasive, Freudian sexual elements. Last year, his impact on genre design was recognised with his induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

In addition to the Alien films (including 2012’s Prometheus), Giger also worked directly on Species, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unproduced Dune adaptation and Batman Forever (although his radical Batmobile designs for the latter were never used). Elsewhere, echoes of his Alien designs can be seen in films ranging from close imitations like Inseminoid and Xtro to those otherwise very different, whether serious like Cloverfield and the recent Godzilla movie, or more comedic like Evolution and Slither.

Giger has also had a profound stylistic impact on video games, quite apart from the Alien and Aliens spin-offs. The rich visual landscape he created for Cyberdreams‘ 1992, point and click game Dark Seed was among the first of its kind to use high-resolution graphics, upon the artist’s own insistence. Still, this is only the beginning. Countless other games have taken inspiration from his work: to name a few, Resident Evil, Metroid, Half-Life, the Oddworld series, Gradius, Irem’s R-Type and X-Multiply and Akira Hut Original’s Hellbound and Galshell all owe a more or less clear debt to him.

Dark_Seed_CoverOutside of films, gaming and fine art, Giger also provided designs for several movie posters and album covers, including for Debbie Harry‘s KooKoo and Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s Brain Salad Surgery. He was commissioned by Korn‘s Jonathan Davis to create a custom microphone stand, and has developed a range of signature model guitars for Japanese manufacturer Ibanez. In addition to the Giger Museum, Switzerland also boasts two Giger Bars. Prior to the artist’s death, plans were also underway to develop another bar in America, in collaboration with Sci-Fi Hotels LLC.

Said Alien director Ridley Scott,

“I think back on how committed and passionate he was, and then consequently, all the security we built up around his ‘lock up’ studios at Shepperton. I was the only one allowed the honour of going in, and I absolutely enjoyed every hour I spent with him there. He was a real artist and great eccentric, a true original, but above all, he was a really nice man. He will be missed.”

Sources: The Guardian Film | The Guardian TechnologyFilm Junk

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