Cinematic film essays have taken a bit of a beating lately thanks to Kentucker Audley’s Powder and Pleasantville parody essays. But this new piece by video essayist Kristian Williams is worth a look because it shines a light on one of Hollywood’s kookier figures, surrealist painter/mastermind of all things creepy H.R. Giger.
Specifically, the video examines Giger’s iconic work on 1979’s Alien. He was brought onboard to design the Xenomorph after director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Dan O’Bannon discovered his work through his collection of airbrushed paintings in his book Necronomicon. It was Giger’s painting “Necronom IV” that wound up serving as the basis of the Xenomorph design. The filmmakers liked it so much that they also had Giger design the entire planetoid on which the Nostromo crew discover the Xenomorph, as well as basically everything related to the alien.
Williams posits that because Giger didn’t have a traditional Hollywood design background, he was more comfortable breaking the rules. Perhaps that’s why he (rather creepily) used real bones and an actual human skull in his Xenomorph suit. In other words: Those hoping to dress up as a screen accurate Xenomorph for Halloween this year better start assembling their human remains now.