Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monster Machine Muse

Mad Swiss genius H.R. Giger, whose art scared the beejeebers out of millions and probably titillated a small coterie of pervs (a dream to some, a nightmare to others!) died of injuries sustained in a fall.

Like most people, I know Giger primarily from his design work for the movie Alien, though his infamous "Penis Landscape" poster insert in the Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist was better known to my teenaged self. The aesthetic Giger brought to his "Alien" designs was dubbed biomechanical- his most famous material seamlessly blended aspects of organisms and machinery. His creepiest work, in my estimation, was his material which fell into the uncanny valley- the "humanoid" aspects giving his aliens a more horrific aspect than that of Lovecraft's completely non-anthropomorphic aliens. It has to be said, though, that Alien, with its "humans are insignificant specks living in a completely unknowable and perilous universe" subtext, has a very "Lovecraftian" theme.

Perhaps more interesting than Giger's involvement with the wildly successful "Alien" movie franchise is his involvement in one of the great failures in science-fiction cinema, the aborted Alejandro Jodorowsky film of Frank Herbert's Dune:

Jodorowsky's Dune was not only to have employed Giger's talents, but those of Mœbius. Strange that the last movie featuring Giger's designs to be seen on the big screen concerned a major flop. Apparently, there was an earlier "making of" feature, detailing this legendary trainwreck:

For a more extensive retrospective of Giger's life and work, this Wired profile is a good start. Rest in peace, Mr Giger, even though you ensured that many of us spent some sleepless nights.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"Dune is much more than a science fiction novel."

He was right, you know.

Smut Clyde said...

John Coulthart has done the heavy lifting: