Thursday, May 15, 2014

RIP, H.R. Giger

Swiss painter, sculptor, visual artist, surrealist, and contributor to the world of film Hans Rudolf Giger passed away a couple days ago.  He was 74.


From what I've read he died from injuries that were the result of fall.  This is vague enough to be slightly terrifying and also realistic enough to be absolutely heartrending.

Also, it is a total bummer.
I'll be honest, before yesterday I didn't really know that much about Giger.  I knew the basics.  Swiss artist, obsessed with sex and death, designed the Xenomorph in Alien, you know, the basics.  Now that he's gone and there's all these articles up everywhere about him, I've learned a bit more about his career.
Like, did you know. . .

In addition to his design work on Alien, Giger also worked as conceptual artist on Poltergeist II and designed the monster in Species (which is something I feel like I already knew, but reading it yesterday felt like new information).

Also, very interestingly, he was creative consultant on the weird, French horror-comedy Killer Condom.  Huh.

Doubly interesting, he designed a version of the Batmobile for Batman Forever that wasn't used, WHICH IS CRAZY.

H.R. Giger was also involved with one of the greatest films never made, having worked on Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt at Dune.  The film never happened (not Jodorowsky's version anyway; David Lynch eventually made it, without Giger's involvement) but there was a documentary made about it, appropriately titled Jodorowsky's Dune.  I haven't seen it yet, but it looks fascinating and right up my alley.

Giger is interviewed in the film.  Here's the trailer:

In addition to film work, Giger also had a history of collaborating with musicians.  He designed the record cover to Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery, as well as Debbie Harry's 1981 album KooKoo.

Along with the album cover, he also directed two music videos from KooKoo, one for "Backfired" and the other for "Now I Know You Know."  Check 'em:

A sketch by H.R. Giger was part of the inspiration for Aphex Twin's creeptastic "Window Licker."  *shudder*

For the Dead Kennedy's 1985 album Frankenchrist they included a poster of a 1973 piece of Giger's work called "Landscape XX," also known as "Penis Landscape."  It eventually led to an obscenity trial for DK members Jello Biafra and Michael Bonanno.  I wonder why. . . .
And from the "Oh, yeah?" department:  Giger was commissioned by Jonathan Davis, frontman of alt-rock-group-that-you're-embarrassed to-have-listen-to-in-high-school Korn, to design a custom microphone stand.  Here's a picture:
Obviously, he loves it.

Maybe the most interesting thing I've read is about how H.R. Giger can be credited with the creation of El Chupacabra!!  Sounds about right.

There is a H.R. Giger museum in his homeland of Switzerland, earning Europe even more cool credit.

In fact, doubling (or tripling?) down on those cool credits, Switzerland also has two Giger themed bars, one in Gruyères, the other in Chur.  They look amazing.
For further Giger reading, I suggest
Baddass Digest
The Guardian
Just a couple of crazy geniuses...
Film poster by Giger
"Li I"
It's been said, but thanks for all the nightmares.


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