Revered 'Alien' Designer H.R. Giger Dies

By DAVID WEINER

May 13, 2014

H.R. Giger, the imaginative Swiss artist whose iconic designs for Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien massively influenced the dreams and nightmares of moviemakers and audiences alike, has died. He was 74.

The Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported that Giger sustained injuries caused by a fall down some stairs.

Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger won a Visual Effects Oscar in 1980 for his work on Alien, having created the infamous Xenomorph by drawing on his "biomechanical" style of melding man with machine in multiple phantasmagoric, sometimes erotic, paintings.

The Xenomorph alien was inspired by a work titled Necronom IV, and other Alien work included the design of the film's famed Space Jockey (which became the subject of Prometheus, Scott's decades-later follow-up to Alien), the derelict ship, the alien eggs, the multiple stages of the Xenomorph (from the Facehugger and the Chestburster to the Big Chap) and such intricate details never even seen in the film, such as Alien hieroglyphics detailing its reproductive cycle.

Related: Visual Effects Pioneer Ray Harryhausen Dies 

Also a sculptor and a documentary film director, Giger studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich. He started his career in interior design before turning to art full time, and much of his work has been able to be appreciated – and dined on – at the two Giger Bars in Switzerland.

The artist's unique designs were utilized for such other films as Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Species, and Alejandro Jodorowsky's unrealized version of Dune. His creature design was an obvious key factor in James Cameron's Aliens and the rest of the films in the series (for which he returned to work on David Fincher's Alien 3). He also notably turned Blondie singer Deborah Harry into one of his twisted creations for her Koo Koo solo album cover.  

His influence created a thousand B-movie monsters…

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