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The Movie That H.R. Giger Spent Decades Trying To Make

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Artist H.R. Giger left his mark on movies forever, through his contributions to Alien and other classic science fiction films. But he never got to make The Mystery of San Gottardo, the movie he was working on since the 1970s. See some more of the fantastic art from this project below.

According to a 1994 Cinefantastique special issue on Giger (preserved at his fansite Little Giger (PDF)), Giger himself had written the screenplay for San Gottardo, and it was a project that began with Giger's first ever sketch, in 1963. Giger described San Gottardo as a "unique love story" and added more details:

"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."

The concept stems from a 1963 creation called "The Beggar," Giger's very first sketch, featuring a leg and an arm holding a hat. Giger has filled several sketchbooks with the stories of these "reduced" beings.

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? Ink drawings depict the disembodied parts attacking their creator (Giger's self-portrait) in the San Gottardo border tunnel which links Switzerland and Italy. To insure that his vision remains intact, Giger hopes to retain creative control as a producer on the film... and not be forced to rely on CGI.


Tashen published a whole book of images from Giger's San Gottardo movie in 1998, but it's out of print now.


Below are a few more images from Giger's San Gottardo sketches, via Cinefantastique, Little Giger, Hakuryo and Mark Strachan's design blog.


Here's the disembodied limbs attacking their creator (Giger himself) as he bathes in the waters of the San Gottardo tunnel: