Alien Designer H. R. Giger Dead at 74

HR_Giger_2012
H. R. Giger in 2012, photo CC-BY-SA by Matthias Belz

H. R. Giger, known for his work on the Alien films, including the creation of the titular creature, but an amazing artist well before and beyond them, died yesterday after falling down the stairs in his home. He was 74.

With an education in architecture and industrial design, Giger described his art as “biomechanical.” He was interested in surreal landscapes that brought together the biological and the technological.

In 1974, Giger was working on a planned adaptation (never finished) of Dune with Alejandro Jodorowsky and Dan O’Bannon. O’Bannon remembered Giger’s creepy drawings and recommended him to Ridley Scott. The Xenomorph in Alien was based on a painting from Giger’s book Necronomicon called Necronomicon IV. The work won an Oscar for Visual Effects, and in 2013, Giger was named to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

If you find yourself in Switzerland today or in the future, visit the Museum H. R. Giger in Gruyères or one of two Giger Bars (in Chur and Gruyères).

And if you’re not, you can spend today remembering him and learning more about his work online. His website, hrgiger.com, is unavailable as of this writing, but you can browse a gallery of his work at The Verge. Buying a copy of Necronomicon will likely run you north of $100, but Necronomicon II is more easily available and more affordable if you’d like a piece of Giger on your coffee table. You can also watch these video interviews and documentaries.

See the museum and Giger Bar:

Giger’s Necronomicon, which features the making of Alien.

A documentary piece on Giger’s art:

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By day, Ruth works to make open source software communities better. The rest of the time, she makes things, which means her husband and kids know to watch out for stray sewing pins and to ask before eating anything made of fondant.