The images H.R. Giger created over the course of something like SIX DECADES are ingrained in our minds and will always be a constant source of what can only be called “beautiful darkness” for us. His creations have appeared on film (Do I really need to tell you what they are?), in books, on posters, album covers, and the list can just go on. In 1980, he won an Academy award for his work on Ridley Scott’s ALIEN. Sadly on May 12 of 2014, after sustaining injuries in a fall, the 74 year old artist passed away. During the final months of his life, filmmaker Belinda Sallin and her crew followed the man around to give the world a bit of insight into his life and to showcase many of his works.
H.R. Giger has lived among the things many of us fear. In the darkest shadows of our minds, Giger managed to pluck those images and bring them to life. While most are afraid of them, he seemed to be most comfortable in those places, always ready to share them with the world. The film is basically a day in the life. The man isn’t scary or frightening in any way. His day to day life is very much like the rest of us, except for having a museum and bar featuring his designs, being adored by millions of fans, or having a mini train running through his yard.
I’m not really sure what I was expecting his life to be like. He’s actually just an ordinary guy living his life and mostly keeping to himself. He’s surrounded by people who respect, love, and admire him. After the first twenty to thirty minutes, we finally get to learn a bit about his past, where he came from, his parents, etc. I didn’t know about his relationship with Li Tobler. An actress he was madly in love with who committed suicide in 1975. She influenced his work in life as well as in death and you get the feeling he never fully recovered from the heartbreak. The peek we are given inside his home is nothing short of fascinating. It’s unbelievable just how much stuff he has crammed in there, skulls, books, sculptures, works he did decades earlier, lost in the clutter.
At times the documentary is slow moving but when the focus is on his work, it always speaks for itself. It’s beautiful, horrifying, and wildly erotic with its biomechanical influence. You can look at them for hours, admiring all the tiniest of details in each piece. His wife Carmen describes it best when she says, “You have to come face-to-face with your dark side before you can seek the light.” Those are very fitting words since you can see this in his work as well as in his (and our own) life. You won’t want to miss DARK STAR when in opens May 15.