When we started Visions of Horror, we did so with the intention of featuring exceptional artwork by horror artists who have made an undeniable mark on the industry. But only few have had such a profound impact on popular culture like VoH’s latest featured artist, H.R. Giger. Due to his unforgettable — and highly uncomfortable — inclinations towards powerfully fetishizing the biopunk subgenre, his beautifully dark, and nightmarishly erotic, imagery has become a widely recognized staple of modern science fiction and horror.
Most notably celebrated for his work on Ridley Scott’s Alien, this editorial will look at H.R. Giger’s “Necronomicon”, the art book that inspired many visual aspects of the famous franchise, which ultimately earned him an Academy Award for “Best Achievement for Visual Effects”.
Born during World War II in Chur, Switzerland, H.R. Giger’s formative years progressed with his continuously growing interest in biomechanical eroticism, and surrealist artwork indicative of the allegorical — and increasingly morbid — stages of birth and death. Whilst attending the School of Applied Arts in Zurich, he started building his artistic repertoire with oil paintings and ink drawings, before realizing his talents in the art of airbrushing. He began developing and honing his unparalleled style and skill of art that we have come to currently know and love, and is now one of the most influential and prolific artists working in the industry today. Giger’s “Necronomicon” is one of many books published about his life and art, and is regarded with absolute favor amongst the rest.
His unnervingly stunning work within the pages predominantly features illustrations of the human form coalescing with meticulously envisioned machinery, in a multitude of different, and often times, sexually explicit ways. Torment, pain, and sexual ecstasy seem to be a common theme. The monochromatic and futuristic style of art which he incorporates into his landscapes of shockingly depicted babies, alluring women, dominating shafts, and mechanically mutilated figures, is so pervasively effective for the type of sci-fi-horror imagery he’s producing.
His work is so powerfully disturbing and thought-provoking that it caught the eye of Alien screenwriter, Dan O’Bannon, who passed Giger’s “Necronomicon” onto the film’s director, Ridley Scott, who was thoroughly interested in using Giger’s work. On page 65 of “Necronomicon” was “Necronom IV”, the lithograph print that started it all, and we have it featured below for your viewing pleasure.
“Necronom IV” was the original inspiration for the creature design (Xenomorph), and a scarily relevant representation of the Alien species in the film, which is essentially about violent alien rape and the propagation of their species. Of course, Giger’s final designs had to be cleaned up for obvious reasons, but the resemblance is undeniable. Putting his masterful sculpting talents to good use, he began bringing his dark and surrealist work to life, and creating one of popular culture’s most iconic, and still reoccurring, villains of all time. His work on the film, including his designs for the infamous chest-burster creation, won him an Oscar in 1980. Since then, his movie work can be seen in the subsequent Alien films, Batman Forever, and most recently, Prometheus, just to name a few. And in 2013, Giger was deservingly named into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
If you want Bloody Disgusting to cover one of your favourite horror artists, or a fantastic piece of horror-related comic book art, head down to the comment section, or hit up Farah or Lonnie on Twitter.