The Fall in the House of Giger: ‘Alien’s’ Father Dies at 74

Swiss artist and twisted genius H.R. Giger has died at age 74 from injuries sustained after falling from stairs at his Zurich home. Giger is best known for designing the Xenomorhp from the Alien movie franchise. His most famous creation is best described by this exchange that takes place during the original film:

 Ash: You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.    

Lambert: You admire it.    

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor … unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.

Those same words could be applied to the entirety of Giger’s work, comprising a menagerie of grotesqueries where man and machine often became one yet not the same in designs that the artist labeled as ‘biomechanical.’ Giger always lived in the lunatic fringe of art, a place where dwell the likes of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Luis Buñuel, and David Lynch. Like them, Giger worked in other movies that are at best (and worst)considered ‘cult films,’ like Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Killer Condom, Species, Batman Forever, Future-Kill, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, and Prometheus.

Similarly, Giger and the world of extreme music were symbiotically attracted to each other. As a result, he designed the covers of many heavy metal acts, including Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion, Carcass’s Heartwork, Danzig’s Danzig III: How the Gods Kill, Dead Kennedy’s Frankenchrist, Atrocity’s Hallucinations, and Triptykon’s Eparistera Daimones, and Melana Chasmata. He also designed and sculpted Korn’s Jonathan Davis´ signature microphone stand. It could be said that Giger was the Hipgnosis of metal.

While Giger was very successful financially and commercially, he is not likely to gain the recognition of art critics any time soon, even in death. However, he will be mourned by sci-fi and music fans the world over. One can’t help but think that this tragedy could have been averted had grab bars been installed in Giger’s home. That is not to say that he was experiencing mobility problems, but sometimes prevention can go a long way. We all have to die sometime, but fans and Giger himself probably would have wished that he could go in a manner more fitting to the way he lived, such as being pierced through the chest by an extraterrestrial parasite, or being whisked away by the Ancient Ones into the realms of dark madness that most certainly were his inspiration to begin with.