The camera moves along an overgrown pathway up to a dark wood door. The door opens slowly, showing off a tall female humanoid creature. It has a distinct biomechanical look. The camera moves further inside to see similar images of beings draped across the walls. This is the house of HR Giger. This is Dark Star: HR Giger’s Welt.
Unlike other documentaries about a person, Dark Star is seemingly narrative free, instead taking a look at the day to day life of HR Giger. There is no core event that the film is building towards (say, an art show or a release of an art book for example), instead, like Giger himself, it meanders along observantly simply displaying the world seen through the eyes of the documentarians.
Best known for his Oscar winning work on the first Alien film, Giger discusses how his mind accesses the images that he creates, many of which can be quite confronting and intimidating to look at. Part of what will decide whether you enjoy this film or not depends on your interest levels in Giger’s artwork. Fortunately for fans of Giger’s work there is a lot of his work on display. His house is a labyrinth of grand images that challenge as well as entice.
Giger’s stories – as well as friends and partners (and ex-partners) – about his life paint an interesting unique story into how the mind of an artist works. From the great story of Giger’s first human skull which he would drag along on the street as he was frightened of it, to the delivery of a dead lion, there are many great stories to hear here.
Dark Star is as extensive a document on the genius that was HR Giger as a fan could ask for. It’s briskly paced and never repeats itself. I was afraid it might focus solely on the Alien years of Giger’s work, but fortunately is only briefly touches on that area. There are hints of a dispute between Giger’s estate and 20th Century Fox but that’s never properly touched on unfortunately.
Overall, it’s an interesting documentary that we are very fortunate to have given Giger’s passing only months after the film completed. A must watch for fans of Giger’s work, as well as fans of great art – anyone unfamiliar with his work might find a world that they didn’t expect here.