Where others flee, film-maker Belinda Sallin notes, the late, influential dark surrealist artist H.R. Giger made his home. “What others dread, he makes his habitat. What others fight to suppress, he drags back to the surface. Throughout his life, HR Giger inhabited the world of the uncanny: a dark universe on the brink of many an abyss.”
Sallin’s upcoming documentary Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World promises to put us on an express elevator straight to hell, going down. Sallin examines why such a warm, charming man created and surrounded himself with such dark art – the ‘xenomorphs’ of the Alien movie franchise being just one prime example.
“He did not create this world because he held it dear,” Sallin explains, “but rather because he had no other option. It was the only way this amiable, modest and humorous man was able to keep his fears in check. Giger was merely the bearer of dark messages, charting our nightmares, drafting maps of our subconscious and moulding our primal fears.”
As I entered his house I was completely overwhelmed by impressions. As a journalist and filmmaker I’d seen many different kinds of houses and flats, but I’d never in my life seen anything so unusual. Crossing the threshold was like entering another world. It was like I had entered one of HR Giger’s works of art, dark and threatening. I took a seat in a Harkonnen Capo Chair and was surrounded by Giger-images, Giger-figures and Giger-objects. I hardly dared blink for fear of missing out on the incredible richness of detail. Despite the strange forms, the shrunken heads and skulls, I felt completely at ease. This was surely due to my host. HR Giger was friendly, polite and welcoming. At first, the artist didn’t really seem to fit with his art, and vice versa. The image I had of him as an unapproachable artist with a dark nature flew right out the window as he offered me apple pie and coffee and as we chatted about the weather. It wasn’t what I had been expecting. On the contrary, it was more interesting, more surprising. By that time, at the very latest, the film about HR Giger began to form in my head.
If the atmospheric trailer for the documentary is any guide, Dark Star should be a fantastic feature:
Dark Star will be showing in select cinemas across the U.S. and Canada from May 15, and will be available on DVD later in the year.