H.R. Giger dead at 74

DownloadedFile-1I was saddened to learn of H.R. Giger’s death this week. He died Monday, May 12th in Zurich when he fell down the stairs at his home. He was 74 years old.

Giger’s style has had more influence on the look of modern science fiction and horror than perhaps any other artist. From Alien to the Matrix, Videodrome to The Terminator,  you can see the traces of his biomechanical vision.

I first became a fan of Giger’s work, like many people, after seeing the movie Alien. I was in high school when the film came out, and I skipped out of classes with a couple of friends to attend a weekday matinee. Giger’s alien design was the highlight of the movie, and soon afterwards I saved my pennies and bought a copy of his book Necronomicon. I was absolutely astounded by his disturbing mixture of grotesque monstrosities, vicious machinery, sex, and violence. Stillbirth Machine I was, and still is, one of my favorite paintings by Giger. Utterly bizarre in its conception, this painting for me epitomizes the terrifying message of Giger’s biomechanical style.  I see it as a warning that technology threatens to take our souls if we allow it to become too much a part of us.

When I was a kid, I would spend hours looking at Giger’s art, fascinated and horrified by what I imagined the artist was trying to communicate. Every year I asked for the Giger calender as a Christmas gift from my mom, and my room was adorned with posters from Morpheus International, the US distributor of his work. I even recall bringing my copy of Necronomicon to show my high school humanities teacher in order to solicit his expert opinion. After paging through the book he looked at me and said simply, “It’s all very phallic.” That was his profound observation. One more high school disappointment!

Here’s the BBC News announcement of Giger’s death: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-27390345