RSS

Tag Archives: cult films

HR Giger – The man behind the art of Alien…

There are some movies that have such a definite visual style and atmosphere, once you’ve seen them it’s impossible to imagine them looking any different.
The current fascination with remakes, reboots and “re-imaginings” of old (and not so old) films demonstrates the wisdom or otherwise of attempting to capture the spirit of the original, whilst adding a new cinematic spin to the story.
After all, for every Batman Begins there’s a Batman and Robin and for every Star Trek there’s a Miami Vice, so it’s a brave director who tackles a recognised classic by putting their own spin on it.

It says a lot about the way a movie should look, that the many subsequent incarnations of classic 1979 sci-fi/horror masterpiece, Alien, owe so much to the vision of one man, who died this week.

image

H.R. Giger: 1940 – 2014.

Born in 1940 in Switzerland, Hans Rudolf Giger studied as an architect and industrial designer, but his main interest was surrealism, something that was influenced by his meeting with one of his artistic heroes, Salvador Dali and by his long friendship with ’60s psychedelic experimentalist, Timothy Leary.

Originally his art was a form of therapy, to help him cope with and articulate the night terrors from which he suffered since childhood and which informed the large majority of his dark and sometimes disturbing work.

July 1977
Giger was very nearly responsible for bringing his unique style to the first film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic, Dune, which he was to work on with director Alexandro Jodorowsky, but which failed to go ahead when Jodorowsky couldn’t get backing for his trilogy of films.
Fortunately, soon after the film was shelved, the man who was to be responsible for special effects on Dune, Dan O’Bannon, approached Giger about another project.
Giger remembers reading from O’Bannon’s notebook:
“Seven astronauts, two women and five men, are in the spaceship Nostromo on a return flight to Earth. On the way they come across a planet unknown to them and decide to make an unscheduled landing to explore it…”

He had of course just read the opening lines to the very first draft of a film that he would indelibly stamp with his dark vision, Alien.
O’Bannon suggested to Brandywine Productions (Walter Hill’s production company, who were to put up money for the film) that Giger should create the alien monster that would play such a central part in the story and he began work on concept art for the film straight away.

He’d been asked for designs for the three stages of the alien’s evolution; “Facehugger”, “Chest Burster” and “The Alien” – along with landscape modelling, the Nostromo models and the giant, derelict alien ship – and what he took to the first meeting with the studio blew them away.
The only concept that didn’t make the final cut was his design for the alien “eggsilo”, the giant breeding chamber where the deadly pods are first discovered, rejected as being too costly to construct.

image

Eggsilo – HR. Giger

After Giger delivered his artwork to the studio they said they no longer require him on set, as the models are to be built by their own staff.
Unhappy with this development, Giger returns to Zurich to begin work on the three-dimensional versions of his drawings, convinced the studio set technicians will not manage to interpret his work accurately.
He soon sends slides of the initial pieces to 20th Century Fox for approval, the first of which is the alien hieroglyphics panel.

image

Alien hieroglyphs – HR Giger.

On his return to Shepperton studios after an enthusiastic call from Brandywine Productions however, Giger is considerably less than enthusiastic about the set builders’ efforts, declaring himself “appalled by it”.
His displeasure must have been evident to the studio bosses though, because they asked him if he would prefer to model them himself.
From Giger’s diary;
“It’s clear to me that, unless I do, it won’t go the way I want it, so I take the work over. I ask them to obtain as many different bones as possible, and a supply of plasticine, before my next visit”

Returning a week later, his requests catered for, Giger began work on modelling the landscapes and interior sets, sawing up bones and rejoining them, with plasticine, various tubes, pipes and pieces of machinery integrated into the structures, which were then moulded and reproduced in plaster of Paris, clear polyester and latex.
This exemplifies the “biomechanical” style that pervades all of his art and which gives the film such a unique visual style.

image

Bones being prepared for moulding.

image

A finished section of alien ship corridor.

Work soon started on the models of the derelict alien craft and the dead “pilot” figure in the cockpit…

image

Giger (far right) at work in the “Monster Department”.

image

Working on the “pilot”.

…while Giger refined the designs for the monster’s three incarnations.
Firstly the two smaller versions;

image

Alien Egg – HR Giger.

image

image

Facehugger – HR Giger.

image

Facehugger on astronaut – HR Giger.

image

Chest Burster – HR Giger.

He then began to create the star of the show, simply known as “Alien”, modelled around the imposing figure of 6’10” Bolaji Badejo, spotted in a bar by director Ridley Scott and hired specially for the part.

image

Making a mould of Bolaji Bodejo for the Alien suit.

image

image

Alien – HR Giger.

image

Alien wardrobe – Latex Alien suit components ready for use.

HR Giger’s brief (from a letter from Dan O’Bannon) had been;
“…The creature should be a profane abomination. Our producers have suggested that something resembling an oversized, deformed baby might be sufficiently loathsome. In any event, we wish you to feel free to create your own design”

“Oversized, deformed baby”?
I’m glad Giger had ideas of his own, otherwise who knows what film we may have ended up with.

The rest, of course, is cinema history.
A film much-copied, never with the same impact, never having the same brooding feeling of primal terror, the sense that something terrible and merciless is silently waiting in the shadows, something unknowable and Alien.

HR “Ruedi” Giger leaves behind him an extraordinary body of work, filled with grotesque beauty and beautiful horror in equal parts, a man at peace with the darkness in his art and one who will be remembered as an exceptionally talented artist with a unique vision.

{All artwork and photos taken from “Giger’s Alien” from Titan Books, copyright HR Giger / 20th Century Fox}

image

VISIT THE GIGER WEBSITE.

You can also watch a short clip of Giger at work on the set of Alien HERE.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Arts, Films, Photography

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Internet Nobody v.2.0…

There’s nothing I like more than a good gadget and at this time of year you can’t move for the stacks of shiny new gizmos clogging up the aisles of supermarkets and electrical shops, so on boxing day I went down to the high street with one particular new toy in mind.

Now, I’ve always made it an idiotically stubborn point of honour that everything you see on Diary of an Internet Nobody got here via the magical silicon circuits of my treasured smartphone, primarily because I didn’t have a computer when I started, and having discovered the wonders of the Android operating system, never found the need for one since.
Fortunately, having consulted the goalpost-moving department, I’ve found that I’ve only ever actually been restricting myself to the operating system, not the device.
That’s handy isn’t it? (making up your own rules as you go along is a useful habit) 

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I took the plunge and bought an Asus Android tablet in the sales.

image

For what is essentially a cross between a larger version of my phone and a small, flat, quad-core computer, I paid the princely sum of £70.
How they even make them for that price let alone sell them is beyond me. But I’m not one to look a gift horse in the microprocessors and I have been very pleased at the increased speed and responsiveness of my lovely new small object of desire.

I’ve spent the last couple of days installing and playing around with the tablet versions of various applications that are duplicates of those on my phone, such as the photo editing software, WordPress app and anything else necessary to publish the blog, and I have to say that I’m extremely impressed with my new toy blogging tool.

We didn’t do an awful lot over the festive period, just popping out for a family lunchtime drink and a few games of pool at a local pub on Christmas day, before returning home to eat too much and slob out in front of the TV for the Dr Who Christmas special and the superb Troll Hunter movie.

But on boxing day – after I’d been tech-bargain hunting – since the weatherman had assured us (accurately for once) that this would be the most sensible day to do anything outside over the holidays, we went to the wildfowl reserve on the The Tarka Trail to feed the ducks, walk off the previous day’s excesses and take some photos of the starkly beautiful winter colours around the lake.
As it turned out, I also got some nice action shots of the ducks feeding, or rather trying to feed, whilst being dive-bombed by the large flock of terns that’d taken up winter residence.

image

image

image

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of photography I’d like to thank Ho for sending in these shots of me collecting a Golden Face Palm award on behalf of pseudo-political buffoon, Nigel Farage, presented to me by the lovely Emma Stevens.

image

image

Talking of being presented with things, (told you the Tenuous Lynx habit was going to be hard to break) my old friend Chris has been over to stay for the last couple of days, bringing with him an unexpected gift.
Some years ago a sizable chunk of my irreplaceable vinyl album collection disappeared under suspicious circumstances, never to return, including my entire Pink Floyd back catalogue. I have slowly managed to replace a lot of the music I lost with CDs and mp3 files, but as any vinyl collector will tell you, that just isn’t the same.
So imagine my delight when Chris arrived with a vinyl copy of Dark Side of the Moon, complete with gatefold sleeve and original posters, all in practically mint condition.

image

                       
What with having to connect up my neglected turntable to play the classic plastic platter, we then indulged in a spot of vinyl nostalgia and you can listen to a few lovingly chosen tracks below.

So welcome to version 2.0 of the blog, bigger, faster and easier to see, (for me anyway, having picked up my first-ever pair of reading glasses a couple of months ago the larger HD screen is far better to work with) but other than that the new year promises more-of-not-the-same eclectic nonsense and ranting that a very agreeable number of people seem to want to continue reading.

Which reminds me, over the holidays my stat counter informed me that Diary of an Internet Nobody has now clocked up the magic number of 20,000 hits (20,114 when writing this) and nearly 270 followers, for which I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude.
I shall endeavour to make your loyalty worthwhile.

Let’s finish with some music then, which I shall dedicate to Chris in paltry exchange for my prog-tastic Christmas present.

And finally;
Chris, this is the album I remember you having when we lived in Crowborough, hope it brings back some (probably fuzzy) memories…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sunshine Award. (7 degrees of separation)…

image

I’m delighted to say that I’ve just received another blogger award.
This time it’s the Sunshine Award, presented to me by Lanthie at Life Cherries and as usual it comes with some pass-on-the-award-to-other-people-and-give-some-facts-about-yourself type rules.
But if you’re a regular reader then you’ll know that I try and do something a little more interesting with my nominations, so with that in mind jet me introduce you to my new award.

All seven people nominated are of course automatically recipients of the Sunshine Award, but in addition they will receive my brand new accolade. (along with bespoke Ho artwork)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Tenuous Lynx Award.

image

Here’s the idea. We all know we can connect ourselves with each other via six degrees of separation but I thought I’d go one better and connect the seven blogs I’m nominating for my newly minted award by seven degrees, all via stuff I like, thereby giving you that all-important insight.

Just because, alright?

(It would please me greatly if you attempt something similar when you pass it on to whomever you choose, but feel free to just bestow the Sunshine upon them if you so wish)

Let us begin…

☆★☆★☆★☆
Life Cherries gave me the award.
Cherries have stones.
The Rolling Stones recorded a song called Mother’s Little Helper, about housewives getting pills from their doctor.

The Doctor is soon to be played by John Hurt in the 50th anniversary episode of Dr Who and he was also in classic sci-fi horror masterpiece, Alien
4º …the second sequel of which stars a host of British actors, including Charles Dance.
5º Charles now stars in the TV adaptation of George R.R.Martin‘s brilliant Game of Thrones.
6º Game of Thrones has a plotline involving dragons..
…bringing me to my first nominee, windhound’s colorful and experimental Dragon Shades blog, featuring beautiful abstract digital art and photography.

☆★☆★☆★☆
Dragon Shades brings colour to life.
Living Colour were a heavy rock band from the late ’80s who I once saw at Reading Festival.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde.
Wilde was played by Stephen Fry in the film of his life.

image

Stephen Fry – Wilde man.

Fry used to be in a double act with Hugh Laurie.
Laurie has found fame in America both through his music and as the unconventional doctor in the title role of House.
House Music is often accompanied by elaborate computer graphics and digital video effects.
Which are just the sort of things that are on display on the blog of my second nominee, Waking Spirals.

☆★☆★☆★☆
Waking Spirals combines cutting edge art with literary quotes and philosophical musings…
…as does Waking Life, the extraordinary film by Richard Linklater who also made A Scanner Darkly.
Scanners is a film by David Cronenberg who also made disturbing dystopian hi-tech nightmare Videodrome, starring Debbie Harry
..who was in Blondie.

Blondie began their career at CBGB, along with other punk legends The Ramones and Talking Heads.
Talking Heads made my favourite concert film of all time, Stop Making Sense..
…during which David Byrne wears a giant white suit…
..and what do you have in the back of a suit?
A Vent, that’s what. Which is what Ron calls his blog, and he’s nominee number 3.
Check out his take on life in the big city, it’s faaabuuloso.

☆★☆★☆★☆
A vent is something you would use to release air.
Air are a French electronica band whose first single was the sublime Sexy Boy

…from the album Moon Safari and when the Apollo 11 mission went to the moon they planted a flag.
Flagg is a character in many Stephen King novels including The Stand, many of which contain monsters..
…and Stand is a song by R.E.M.
..who recorded an album called Monster.
6º  They also had a massive hit with Everybody hurts.
And what do you have if everybody hurts?
A World Of Pain, that’s what. Adam’s blog is funny, clever, thought provoking and occasionally mischievous. Go and take a look, you won’t regret it.

☆★☆★☆★☆
A World Of Pain’s Golden Face Palms are raising a lot of dough for cancer charities.
Dough is what bread is made of and Pain is the French for bread.
Pizza is also a dough and Pizzaman is one of the many aliases of Fat Boy Slim.

Fat Boy Slim’s real name is Quentin and Christopher Walken appeared in one of his videos.
Walken also appears in another Quentin‘s film, Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino’s films frequently contain prolonged shoot-outs, much like those favoured by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Spaced.
Someone else who was severely spaced was Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ fantastic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which he and his friend stick out their thumbs and travel round the universe..
…as opposed to Quillan and Angela at Toemail, the fourth of my award recipients, who travel round the world and send back stories with photos attached, all of which contain a toe or two. Go dip a toe in their blog.

☆★☆★☆★☆
Toemail posts all feature feet.
A giant foot ends the Monty Python title sequence
…which is animated by Terry Gilliam who also made the dark and Orwellian Brazil
The original Orwellian nightmare, Nineteen Eighty Four revolves around the character Winston Smith.
The Smiths recorded a live album called Rank.

The Rank Organisation movies of the ’50s and ’60s opened with a man striking a giant gong.
The psychedelic band Gong recorded an album about a “Radio Gnome Invisible” who travelled in a Flying Teapot
…which would be an ideal accompaniment to my penultimate nominee, The Flying Fruitbowl, where you will find Aaron curating all manner of fabulous digital and fantasy art by new and exciting young artists.

☆★☆★☆★☆
A fruit bowl is an item favoured by artists painting still life pictures.
Still Life is an album by prog rock pioneers Van de Graff Generator.
The scientific apparatus, the Van de Graff Generator is used for making electricity.
Electricity was the debut single from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

…who also recorded Maid of Orleans, a song about Joan of Arc.
In Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Joan of Arc is played by Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Gos who had a hit with Rush Hour.

Canadian rock band Rush released an album called Moving Pictures..
..like the ones you’ll find on Sandro’s blog Life in Pictures, an eclectic selection of beautiful photography with something to interest and enchant everyone.

Which is my seventh and final Tenuous Link to an award nominee in this daisy chain of tangential twaddle. I hope you found something to entertain you amidst the forest of links and clips and if you are a lucky recipient, why not have a go yourself and pass along the Tenuous Lynx.

image

{Ooh, and please link back to Diary of an Internet Nobody in your post. Thanks)

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Arts, Awards, Blogging, Charity, Films, Ho., Humour, Music, Music festivals, TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The anti-social network…

When was the last time you were offended or upset by something that a stranger did in public?

Is there a benchmark for inappropriate public behaviour that most people can agree on?

For instance, if a topless woman got on the bus you were travelling on, would you expect anyone to be offended?

image

Ok gentlemen, bad example.

How about breast feeding?
Perfectly natural. Nothing unacceptable about that.
At least you wouldn’t have thought so.

Once you get online however, all the usual rules and logic seem to go out the window.

Hypocrisy appears to be the order of the day when it comes to the policies of Facebook in particular.
Only this week the social networking platform flip-flopped their ruling on gratuitously violent content, when they first defended the already once-reversed decision to allow the posting of an incredibly graphic video featuring the beheading of a woman by a Mexican drug gang, then re-reversed the ruling when there was a public backlash that such extreme violence could be so easily accessible by anyone with a Facebook account.

image

Yet posting a photo of a woman breast feeding is expressly (no pun intended) forbidden by their nudity policy. In fact the policy, which specifically bans the depiction of a “fully exposed breast”, was rather confusingly cited as the reason for giving me a 24 hour ban from the site after posting the picture below, under the heading “Does anyone think this is an appropriate pose for a family photo?”

image

See any breasts?
No.
Ok, it’s wrong on many levels, but it does not contravene the boob law as I understand it.

Even more bizarrely, I received a stern warning from the Fb taste police after posting a photo of a topless woman which most definitely does not contain breasts.
Posted in relation to a story on breast cancer awareness, the following photo shows the beautifully tattooed chest of a woman who has had a double mastectomy.

image

See any breasts?
No.

The rules governing what is and what is not acceptable are so arbitrary they seem to have been pulled out of a hat at random and selectively applied to equally random content, without any rhyme or reason whatsoever.

Despite, or perhaps because of, this peculiar interpretation of their own policies it is still entirely possible to view other, similarly gruesome decapitation videos on Facebook without any special access being required.
Not only that, there are pages dedicated to everything from making tasteless jokes about babies dying of cancer to those that promote dog fighting and graphic cruelty to animals. Blatantly racist and misogynistic content seems to sail invisibly past whatever passes for the Fb decency filters, which only ever seem to be activated by mild sexual titillation and the hopefully obvious category of threatening other users with rape or personal violence.

Other platforms are often guilty of comparable lapses of common sense in applying their own rules,  most recently illustrated by Twitter‘s lamentably slow response to the raft of rape and death threats suffered by women such as the history teacher I would have loved to have had at school, Mary Beard, over something as ridiculous as whether or not we had a man or a woman on a bank note.

Really? Bomb threats over something like that?
You wouldn’t have thought the sort of moron who makes anonymous threats on Twitter would have that passionate an aesthetic appreciation of the engraver’s art would you?

And don’t get me started on the self-harm and bulimia glorification showcase that occupies an alarmingly growing percentage of tumblr content.

It’s true that we should have the freedom to watch, read and listen to whatever we want, without the censors second-guessing our moral standards for us. But the fact remains that anybody, including children and anyone else who can access a computer, laptop or smartphone, can join one or more of these ostensibly inoffensive social networks and within minutes be exposed to the type of graphic images once vilified as Snuff Movies.

I don’t claim to have any answers to the dilemma of how to regulate what makes something too offensive to publish, nor do I expect the situation to get anything but more complex as the sprawling embrace of the World Wide Web encompasses more of our daily lives.

But I do have a tenuous link to finish on, with two excellent videos for your entertainment.

The first is most certainly “all done in the best possible taste” showcasing as it does the comedic talents of one of Britain’s best loved and sadly missed performers, Kenny Everett
(Ron from Vent, this is for you)

… and the second most certainly isn’t, because right here you can watch the full length movie of Peter “Lord of the Rings” Jackson‘s outrageous debut feature length alien/zombie comic horror masterpiece from 1987, Bad Taste.
(Hilarious, but not for those of a delicate disposition or those easily offended, blah, blah, etc, etc..)

Enjoy.
And let’s be careful out there…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Giants, Owls, Mike, and Bob…

Nowadays, it’s always worth checking out a new TV series online (especially a US show) before committing yourself to watching something that, only one or two seasons in, could suddenly vanish from your screen, a victim of the studio losing confidence in it, or deciding that the ratings are not impressive enough.

I’ve lost track of the number of interesting, inventive shows that have ceased to exist in this irritating manner over the last few years.
Sometimes it’s simply a case of shows like promising, high-tech conspiracy/Sci-fi thriller Flash Forward, or big budget alien invasion series The Event being canceled hallway through their run.
Or if you’re lucky, producers get advanced warning of the impending demise of a series, and in the case of Joss Whedon‘s intriguing Dollhouse, are able to tie up any loose ends with a couple of hastily written episodes before the corporate axe falls.

image

Twin Peaks was to have a slightly different fate however.

While the original series gained popular and critical acclaim, ABC studios repeatedly insisted that David Lynch reveal the identity of Laura Palmer’s killer at the end of the first season.
This went against the idea that Lynch had at the start, originally intending that the identity of Laura’s killer would remain a mystery.

image

The result of this was the show lost it’s way slightly during season two, including too many side plots which, despite some interesting ideas, detracted from the intricate main storyline.

Because this was never going to be any normal murder investigation, even from the beginning.

And it’s not only the idiosyncratic Agent Cooper who is conscious of the differences in Twin Peaks, as we find when The Bookhouse Boys (Harry, Hawk, and Big Ed Hurley, played by another Lynch regular, Everett McGill) tell him about the history of the area.

Big Ed isn’t any stranger to strangeness, being married as he is, to Nadine Hurley, (Wendy Robie, in a truly unhinged performance) who provides many of the show’s comedy moments.

image

Here is one of her typical scenes.

The “darkness” in the woods that Harry talks about is hinted at by many of the characters, most notably The Log Lady and Major Briggs who, we discover, has a lot more information than he is at liberty to reveal.

This is one of numerous mentions of Owls, and “their” appearance heralds the arrival of the supernatural element of the show.
The first time we are made aware of this is early on, during Cooper’s dream.

This scene is also the first time that we hear about Bob and Mike, the One Armed Man (not to be confused with – or more likely, most definitely intended to be confused with – Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson, two of Laura’s high school friends)

image

image

…and then later on, when Cooper has his first visit from the giant (no, really, he’s a giant), the significance of the Owls is reinforced.

This otherworldly undercurrent is what saves the later episodes, building to an utterly riveting climax to the series which, although bizarre and unconventional, even by Lynch’s standards, is still one of the most memorable pieces of television ever.

image

In my final post on The Best TV Show Ever, I will give you a few more tasters to tempt you into the world of Twin Peaks, and hopefully remind those of you who have already been there why you loved it in the first place.

image

Don’t touch that dial…

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2013 in TV, Twin Peaks

 

Tags: , , ,

 
Running with the Pack

An American Gypsy

Chet Desmond Has Vanished

But Where Did He Go?

Toxic Synesthesia

French magazine - art & visual culture

cmsaunders

The online presence of dark fiction writer C.M. Saunders

Timeandreflections

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect"

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes

JOHNNY SPANGLES - THE VILE PILE

The ramblings of a very troublesome haemorrhoid on health, travel, art, sport, bad dogs, good cats and other stuff at www.johnnyspangles.com

The Lessons

that time forgot to teach

SOZ SATIRE

The Best of British Bullshit

Homeschool To UnSchool

Teaching Our Kids to Wonder Again

Ellenbest24

words and scribble.

sloppybuddhist

hedy bach original photography mixed stories and music

Isabella Morgan

Opinions not otherwise specified

A Life in Transition

Poetry & Fiction

Author Kyle Perkins

The latest and greatest of my documented daydreams

Rereading Jane Eyre

Author Luccia Gray

Luca Sartoni

Protector of Asynchronicity at Automattic

Pages That Rustle

The journey from words to stories.

trickyemotions

For your mind only!

Waruni Anuruddhika

Film and photography

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Spirituality & Whimsy

3nions

Tech Redefined

Tyler Charles Austen

Foul mouthed, Queer and Angry

balloonfacetrace

The facepainting and balloon twisting lady

Jamaica Ponder

...only a little bit famous

Art by Rob Goldstein

There is no common truth, but there are facts.

Kristin King Author

True Story...

BluChickenNinja

- a creative lifestyle blog -

thegirlwhofearoblivion

To Share, To Connect, To Create, To Inspire.

unbolt me

the literary asylum

swo8

Music means something

Broken Castles

Shattered long ago...

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

iamthemilk

Every day I'm jugglin'.

The Write Project

"The answer is to write." - Richard Rhodes

%d bloggers like this: