ByDave Conley, writer at
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."
Dave Conley

In May we lost of the greatest artists and film designers of the past century. He won an Oscar for his designs in the movie Alien which were used throughout the franchise including Prometheus. He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013.

His surrealistic art work stemmed from his night terrors and was of a bio-mechanical nature. This in turn inspired other musicians, artists, even bars and tattoos.

Giger Bar
Giger Bar
Every Arm and Leg needs a Giger sleeve!
Every Arm and Leg needs a Giger sleeve!

But there was something Giger worked on for over 30 years yet did not complete in his lifetime. That was a film he had wanted to make from one of his first drawings.

At his fansite Little Giger, in a PDF of a 1994 Cinefantastique issue dedicated to Giger's work, they talk about a project that began with Giger's first ever sketch, in 1963. "The Beggar," featuring a leg and an arm holding a hat. Giger has filled several sketchbooks with the stories of these "reduced" beings. He even reportedly wrote a screenplay for the film.

The story concerns a race of biomechanoids created by a military organization. The premise: your arms and legs are slaves that do your bidding, but what if they have a mind of their own and were set free?

Giger being attacked by his creations
Giger being attacked by his creations

To insure that his vision remained intact, Giger hoped to retain creative control as a producer on the film... and not be forced to rely on CGI.

Giger described San Gottardo as a "unique love story" and added:

"It is about a man and his love for a freak of nature, Armbeinda, which is really a sentient limb combining an arm and a leg. It is the further development of a recurring image in my work over the last 30 years."

There is an out of print book called The Mystery of San Gottardo (Taschen specials) which contains these stories and drawings. part of the review on amazon goes like this-

"The sexually insatiable arm-leg creature which rampages throughout this volume must rate as one of Giger's most grotesque creations. After being distracted by Hollywood for far too long, in this book Giger presents his latest outlandish and extraordinary visual excursion, a death-driving nightmare that will continue to unspool in your head long after you've closed the covers."
A genius silenced
A genius silenced

Unfortunately in May of 2014, Giger's own limbs may have deserted him, when he suffered what turned out to be fatal injuries in a fall. He died in a hospital in Zürich on May 12th. Psychedelic Drug advocate, and friend of Giger, Timothy Leary was quoted in the artist's obituary as saying, "Giger's work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going." (wikipedia)


What director do you think would best bring Giger's "Mystery of San Gottardo" to life?


Images via Cinefantastique, Little Giger, Hakuryo and Mark Strachan's design blog.


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