The Swiss surrealist painter/sculptor H.R. Giger, who passed away one year ago this month, won an Academy Award in 1979 for designing one of the most memorable big-screen monsters of all time. His nightmarish title "xenomorph" in 1979's Alien continues to inspire sequels, prequels and imitations today.
Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World, a new documentary, is now playing in Los Angeles and other select cities. It includes considerable footage of the artist (H.R. is short for Hans Ruedi) shot during his final months, when he was declining and sadly unable to walk or even speak without difficulty. Much of Belinda Sallin's film centers on Giger's preparations for a museum's retrospective of his work but this is interspersed with archival sequences of Giger at work during his earlier decades, including behind-the-scenes clips from the production of Alien.
Sallin takes a chiefly contemporary, first-hand look at Giger's life and work, with most insights provided by his intimate circle of friends and assistants. It isn't the liveliest approach but fans of the artist's unique bio-mechanical creatures and visions will eat it up.
Now out on DVD from TLA Releasing is a gay-themed vampire tale, Drink Me. Writer-director Daniel Mansfield takes full dramatic and visual advantage of his frequently naked cast of three: Chris Ellis-Stanton, Emmett Friel and Darren Munn. Friel and Munn play James and Andy, a longtime couple on the verge of getting married when a sexy stranger, Sebastian (Ellis-Stanton), first invades their dreams and then their home. Is Sebastian the serial killer who has been targeting their neighborhood? Is he really a vampire? Do we care? Not really, unfortunately. Despite some artful cinematography and the full-frontal nudity, there isn't much in Drink Me that hasn't been seen or done before. Stick with the seductive, polysexual bloodsuckers of Interview with the Vampire instead.
Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World: B
Drink Me: C
Drink Me is now available on DVD:
Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.