As I told in our class, I have known that Alien are a psychosexual movie for a long time but it’s not because of the story of movie (as Mulhall points out as a main critique in his reading) but because I have read an article about art of Alien and Aliens’ designer, H. R. Giger, before. So I would like to share this interesting things to you all too.
H. R. Giger (Hans Ruedi Giger) is a Swiss artist, painter, and designer who designed Alien. He was influence by famous painters, “Ernst Fuchs” and “Salvador Dalí” who specialize in surrealistic style, which becomes his own style too. Giger’s work was well-known of outstanding and unique style focusing on integration between human bodies and machines, called “biomechanics” and usually have sexual imagery embedded. In the case of Alien, the design of both appearance and life cycle was influenced by human’s sex. You can see the Alien’s head shape has a long, trunk-like, as the same a mans’ “unit.” And in the “mouth” part of Facehugger is definitely the same as a womens’ undercarriage.
When the Facehugger grabs a host’s face, it will insert its penile protuberance, cravin for the victim’s mouth to eject its sperm, like human intercourse.
Also this erotic design was appeared in other part, such as Derelic, the Alien’s vassal, represents a huge woman’s vagina.
‘His design was so erotic,’ enthuses Veronica Cartright of Giger’s more unrestrained motifs, ‘it was full of vaginas and penises.’ Not least the entrance to the derelict, a full-sized set that allowed him to build, well, a fifteen-foot vagina (the reading of Kane being swallowed up in order to fertilize the egg can’t have escaped anyone). Inside was the gangway, arched in moistened bones and dank with smoke, leading to an appropriately phallic cockpit. – source
These all critique open my vision to see in different way, with more meaningful and valuable in art and design area when I saw Alien. And Giger really surprise me how he can visualize humans reproduction and create an art that looks really different (or we can say Alien looks). Actually it’s interesting when we think about the contradiction in “biomechanics”, it might be in the same way when we compare human and machine, alive and dead, cold and warm, nature and artificial etc.
This is the reason why I think I really appreciate reading Mulhall’s critique about Alien, focusing on the story, because it helps me to think much more deeply when connect Alien’s design and story together. Definitely the story is very feminist and we can see reflection in the design too, for example, queen of Alien and Facehugger.
– source of Giger’s biology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._Giger