It all started back in 1979 when Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett initially penned the draft for Alien. O'Bannon suggested Giger to director Ridley Scott once the film was greenlighted for production. Luck for all of us he was familiar with the art of Swiss Surrealist H.R. Giger, and knew he would offer something truly unique. O'Bannon gave a copy of Gigers book Necronomicon to Scott who saw the macabre beauty right away, going on to choose a 1976 print called Necronom IV as the basis for the now famous Creature. Giger crafted the not only the creature, but also the egg, the alien planetoid, the baby that bursts from first victim, and The Alien ship. Giger would go on to win the Academy Award for Visual Effects 1980, along with Carlo Rambaldi who crafted the Animatronic head of the creature.
It was a very sad day May 12 of this year, when it was announced that H.R.Giger had passed away in a Swiss hospital after sustaining injuries from a fall. The artist was 74 years old, ands had just last year been inducted int to Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Although the man himself is now lost to us his work will go on to inspire and intrigue us for generations to come.
For those not aware Giger is credited with some of the original designs used in Prometheus, although for anyone familiar with his work its easy to recognize his hand in the designs of the film. Its one of the things that makes the film a success for me (and I have no doubt many others who have watched), but I will get into that more in a moment.
The Horror Nation morns, as does the world...
RIP H.R. Giger 1940-2014
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender
Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green,
and Charlize Theron
Running time 124 minutes
Just in case you haven't been paying attention, Prometheus is the long awaited prequel to the original Alien film from 1980, also by Ridley Scott, that has gone on to span almost 30 years of sequels in the ever growing franchise. In Prometheus they made the bold and risky choice of trying to explain the origin of the creature, "ALIEN", in what has been both highly regarded and damned by movie goers. I finally sat down to check this one out recently without much expectation, but definitely an open mind. I ADORE the first Alien and pretty much all of them until 4. In fact Alien is one of the first handful of horror films I remember watching as a young child and it helped develop my deep affection for frights!
Prometheus is a bit different, I don't want to spend too much time talking about what the plot is because it is very plot driven, so it would take away from the experience to expose too much. Basically its the story of two scientist searching for "The Engineers", a alien life form they believe created man. They find a map, a dying man with too much money, and off they go suddenly with a ship and crew off into the unknown, searching for the meaning of life from what the beings that religious may refer to as Gods. Things are never as easy as that tho and as such our scientist and The crew led by Charlize Theron find themselves in a difficult place, with survival hanging in the balance.
Prometheus a beautiful film, with sets and scenery that will please the eye, almost soothing the soul. Where many films feel claustrophobic, this film feels almost relaxing and awe inspiring in its vastness. You can see H.R. Gigers design element throughout the film, and as all his work it is both deeply disturbing, and yet strangely beautiful. The story is quite interesting as well, part myth, part science, it combines alternate history with some of the deepest and most driving question in the history of man. Where do we come from and why are we here? Its a pilgrimage to the beginning of man, in which we stumble upon the beginning of something else, something sinister, but meant for who?
I admit this film is one of those that gets better each time you watch, visually its so big you notice nuanced moments that you didn't take in the first time through. I do admit some of the acting is a less than stellar, but not horrible and its easy enough to look past with all the other great things that this one holds visually. Initially I felt like it was an ok film, but I've watched it again, I find myself really actually enjoying it. You could even say it has grown on me like a face-hugger!
Seriously though another reason it gets better with each watch is you are prepared for the lack of action, and more willing to actually pay attention. We think Alien and get mental images of horror, action, blood, tension etc. This film is much more subdued with limited action or gore. In fact it would be easy to see how someone may not even realize it has anything to do with the franchise with its use of subtle hints rather than in your face creature effects, which lends to the beauty of the film. This is certainly a film that is introspective and lends itself to discussion long after it done, both things I personally enjoy!
With Prometheus 2 now in the beginning preproduction stages (with at least 2 of the original cast signing on already) take a moment, ok let me rephrase that because 124 minutes does not a moment make! For this one gather some survival supplies and settle in its going to be a long beautiful ride, but so worth it to see where Alien began and why.