The Xenomorph is perhaps one the most terrifying yet purely original movie aliens. First
appearing in 1979’s Alien and making several appearances thereafter within the franchise
and beyond, the Xenomorph has become symbol of sci fi terror - a creature so horrifying and
grotesque, yet elegant in its own way - a creature that could only be the product of a
powerful and twisted imagination.
H R Giger was born in Switzerland in 1940 during the second world war. He lived in a
constant state of fear. In an interview with VICE, Giger said, "I could feel the atmosphere
when my parents were afraid. The lamps were always a bluish dark so the planes would not
Giger’s work was never normal, it pushed the boundaries, it visualized fear.
Giger used art to express this fear with dark creations and strange figures, and it
was through this fear that the Xenomorph was eventually born. Giger’s art gained
popularity in the 70s - from small exhibitions at galleries - and eventually he began to be
noticed by some of the world’s greatest artists at the time. Giger’s work continued to evolve
and, in 1977, he released a collected publication of his works - Necronomicon, which today is
considered one of the greatest influences on Alien. Director Ridley Scott happened to come
across a copy of Necronomicon soon after agreeing to direct Alien and instantly knew Giger
was the man to bring it to life. Based heavily on the works in Necronomicon, the Xenomorph
was born - the perfected movie alien.
Giger’s work was never normal, it pushed the boundaries, it visualized fear. In fact, his work
was so unconventional and disturbing that it was often banned and perhaps that’s its
greatest complement. Giger discovered a way to get under your skin with only the power of
his art, his obsessions with bones and skulls, and the contorted creatures they become. Giger
created a nightmare. The Xenomorph was, very literally, the product of a nightmare and the
disturbing times Giger endured during the second world war and through his art we
experience that fear with him.
From the films to the games and the comics, the Xenomorph lives on. Decades from its
creation from the profound mind of H R Giger, and more than 5 years after his death, the
Xenomorph continues to terrify audiences. Today, the H R Giger museum in Gruyeres,
Switzerland displays the largest collection of the artist’s work from the Xenomorph to other
art from the creative mastermind H R Giger.