I first experienced H.R. Giger’s work when my mother allowed to me watch Alien as a child. Needless to say, the titular creature was one of the most delightfully terrifying things I’ve ever seen, a biomechanical nightmare brought to life. When I got a little older, I watched a documentary about the film and discovered the man behind the deadly Xenomorph, sparking a lifelong fascination with his work; the mix of heavy machinery, eroticism and horror was right up my alley, given my love of comics, science fiction and monster movies, as well as a budding interest in the opposite sex. I would of course encounter his work yet again as I began to get into heavy metal; his art graces the covers of genre touchstones such as Carcass’ Heartwork, Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion and Danzig’s How the Gods Kill.
I think the reason I’ve found Giger’s oeuvre to be so impactful over the years is because as frightening and surreal as it is, it’s easy to believe that these horrors could actually exist outside the confines of the artist’s imagination. Go back and watch Alien again; if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the creature was a real life form. It’s so bizarre and fantastical that there’s just no way it could be a mere man in a suit, surely no sane, rational human being could think that up. It has to be real. The same holds true for all of Giger’s art, you can close your eyes and imagine these hellish landscapes and their denizens coming to life with ease, which ultimately makes them that much scarier.
H.R. Giger passed away today at the age of seventy-four as the result injuries sustained in a fall. Although the artist himself may be gone, the body of work he left behind will live on long after all of us succumb to similar fates. Giger’s illustrations have inspired me in countless ways over the years, whether it be through watching films such as Alien and Dune literally hundreds of times or staring at the cover of To Mega Therion while the album blares in the background, fueling my dreams with images of his beautiful machineflesh abominations. Fare thee well H.R. Giger, see you in the next dimension.