In case you haven’t already been buried under the flood of Alien posts on social media today, you should know that today, April 26th, is Alien Day. The date, written 4/26, was chosen because the fictional planet LV-426 is probably the single most important location in the entire Alien franchise, hosting visitors in both Alien and Aliens films. But before you go on a sci-fi movie binge, take a moment to remember the man who inspired the design of the hostile creatures by sharing his own nightmarish visions with the world: H.R. Giger.
If you consider yourself a sci-fi fan, or even a fan of the Alien franchise specifically, it’s entirely possible that you haven’t even heard Giger’s name. You can find him in the films’ credits, as well as those of Alien 3 and Prometheus, but Giger being primarily an artist and designer means you wouldn’t have seen his title on a movie poster. Unless you dig deep into Alien history, you might never even know he existed, but one glimpse at his work leaves no question that the Xenomorph came straight from Giger’s mind.
As has been well documented Giger became involved in the Alien movie project when director Ridley Scott was searching for potential designs for the creature in the film. After browsing a collection of Giger’s paintings in a book, Scott immediately knew what he wanted the Xenomorph to look like. Giger’s Necronom IV (above), depicting a twisted bio-mechanical creature that is both humanoid in its design and disgustingly horrific at the same time, became the template for the Xenomorph design, and Giger was brought on board the film to design everything from the layout of LV-426 to the alien ship, facehugger parasite, and ultimately finalize the design of the titular creature itself.
It goes without saying, but the Alien franchise and science fiction as a genre simply wouldn’t be the same without the work of Giger. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 74, having won the Academy Award for his work on Alien and taking with him a legacy as a legendary artist and visionary. So, on this most appropriate of days, pour one out for the man who invented one of the most iconic movie characters of all time without even trying.