The twisted genius who designed one of the fiercest and most iconic movie monsters of all time has died. Surreal artist H.R. Giger died yesterday at 74.
Giger didn’t just design the menacing alien queen for the movie. He also came up with the distinctive look for all the movie’s creatures and helped set the dark, twisted tone for what would become one of the most groundbreaking horror and science-fiction movies in cinema history. The Swiss native got his start in Zurich as a student of architecture and industrial design before he decided to dedicate his full time work to his artistic expression. His extremely surreal and dark style earned him a ton of work with the record industry as a cover artist. Some of his work appeared on albums such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery, Debbie Harry’s first solo album Koo Koo and Danzig’s How the Gods Kill.
He was personally asked by director Ridley Scott to design the monsters and general look and feel of his first Alien movie in 1979. Giger’s work earned him an Academy Award for Best Achievements in Visual Effects. His self-described “biomechnical” art style that mixed human forms with twisted machinery and his dark presence earned him quite a scary reputation on the set as evidenced in this mini-feature that appeared on the first Alien DVD. However, that presence set the tone for what would become one of the most successful sci-fi franchises of all time.
It’s hard to imagine where the Alien movies would be today if Scott hadn’t asked Giger to help him design his movie monster. Of course, we probably wouldn’t have had as many unnecessary sequels but that’s because Giger’s fans kept wanting to see his most famous creation brought to horrifying life right before their very eyes.