There are few artists who have left more of a stamp on horror cinema and pop culture at large than H.R. Giger, a Swiss painter, sculptor and set designer who is mostly known for designing the terrifying titular creature in 1979’s Alien, as well as much of the iconic imagery from that film. Though his contributions to the genre will fascinate and horrify for generations to come, all of us here on iHorror are deeply saddened to report that Giger has shuffled his way off this mortal coil, passing away yesterday at the age of 74.
Born in Switzerland in 1940, Hans Rudolf Giger moved to the city of Zurich in 1962, pursuing his passion for architecture and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art. Thankfully for all of us horror fans, Giger rejected his father’s encouragement to enter the field of pharmaceuticals, believing that a career in the arts just wasn’t a viable, money-making option. Of course, Giger proved him wrong, and it wasn’t long after his stint in art school that Alien writer Dan O’Bannon introduced director Ridley Scott to Giger’s ghastly creations – the rest, as they say, is horror history.
In addition to designing the film’s title character – based on an earlier painting he did called ‘Necronom IV’ – Giger also designed the Space Jockey alien vessel, the planet known as LV-426, the Xenomorph eggs and even the infamous Chest-Burster, contributing so many iconic elements to the film that it’s not at all out of line to suggest that Alien never would’ve been what Alien ended up being, if it weren’t for Giger. When Giger came on board the project, Ridley Scott famously remarked that the biggest problem of the film had been instantly solved, which just about perfectly sums up the importance of Giger’s work, to the success and enduring legacy of the greatest sci-fi/horror film ever made.
Giger’s work can also be seen in each of the Alien sequels, including the 2012 pseudo-prequel Prometheus, and he also lent his talents to films like Poltergeist 2: The Other Side, Species and even the Troma film Killer Condom.
The Academy Award winning artist passed away yesterday after injures sustained from a recent fall in his home in Zurich, Switzerland.
In memory of one of the most influential artists ever to grace the landscape of the horror genre, we invite you to watch the documentary H.R. Giger Revealed below, which was released in 2010 and offers a unique insight into Giger’s life and creative process.