H.R. Giger died on May 12th, 2014, due to injuries sustained from a fall. From 1979 until his death he was the world’s foremost artist in the realm of cybersexual horror. His achievement might seem niche, but his art was far-reaching. Alien burned the image of Giger’s horrifying monster into America’s collective brain. Subsequent films in the franchise only furthered that mind branding, despite Giger’s limited involvement after the first film. The artist’s absence from Aliens through each of its sequels contributed to dwindling interest by the public, which has only recently rebounded. This list is meant to draw attention to artwork H.R. Giger created outside of the realm of Alien. Much of which was either sculptures or album covers, but Giger did work on several other films throughout his career.
Captions meant to be read in the voice of Werner Herzog.
What looks at first to be a buxom, if pasty, lung headed, vampire woman turns out to be… just that on the back cover also, so yeah. Giger was great at making things that at first can look appealing, only to reveal their true horror upon closer examination.
4. KooKoo by Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry dons the look of a warrior woman for the cover of her debut solo album, released in 1981. Giger was in top form coming off of Alien two years earlier, adding some literal iconoclasm to his own portrait of Harry. The cover was originally going to be printed onto posters and displayed all over London in order to promote the album, but Giger’s cover was deemed “too disturbing.”
3. Microphone Stand for KoЯn
This one really gets at the “sex” part of “sexually horrifying” in a way that only H.R. Giger could. The woman’s head is split open to hold the microphone. Her nipples race away from her body, pulled by imaginary strings. Her ribs show through her skin. She has no arms. I would never bring this statue to life with magic, even if I could.
2. Hallucinations by Atrocity
Metal bands should have rallied around the art of H.R. Giger the same way that psychedelic rock bands did with Roger Dean. The results might have spared the late 80’s and early 90’s some of their worst album art. At least some people made the connection between Giger’s style and the environment that metal music creates in its listener’s headspace. Atrocity commissioned some great work from Giger, who created an almost Dali-esque, melting, pale woman whose mouth is the only giveaway of her sex. Liquid white lady in front of a rusty space TV is the most H.R. Giger thing ever…
1. Dune 1
While Alien rightfully remains H.R. Giger’s most well known contribution to the world of cybersex alien nightmares, his designs for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s abandoned Dune film remain his most horrifying. These fingernail penises with hypodermic needles for arms are nothing I would ever dream up, which is why I’m almost glad I don’t have the mind of H.R. Giger. Only because he must have had millions of images fly through his head throughout his life, and the scariest ones likely never made it to the page.
Bonus: H.R. Giger’s original Alien design.