"Future Kill" and HR Giger's poster artwork

leading from

(still collating. Be aware that the part about how they talked Giger into doing the poster art is based on statements that don't necessarily add up and perhaps there's another chunk of the story that wouldn't make any sense anyway)

Poster for Future Kill featuring the painting
"Future Kill I" (work 557) by HR Giger painted 1984

a) Creating "Splatter"
When they started the film project right from the beginning, the idea was to bring Kathy Hagan as makeup artist and costume designer into it so that they could amalgamate her ideas for anti-punk fashion and other ideas. Ron told Kathy Hagan "Grab an idea and go with it", with the general idea of her throwing everything she could into it and this resulted in this curious armour for the character Splatter also with bat wing like shoulder armour, and a helmet with a mohawk hairstyle as well oddities such intravenous electronic speed system where all he does is push a button and then a vial of amphetamine/speed is automatically injected into his arm. His right arm is also hydraulic. 

The armour pieces were made from fibreglass and were moulded by Robert Burns who was the art director for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and so was responsible for the strange bone furniture in the bone room scene. (See also Alien : Evolution of Space Jockey via Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

The character is in such physical pain all the time that it's the only way he could keep himself going, and the machinery worked. The idea was that the killer was not just another demented psycho but was actually once a nuclear scientist who was very pro-nuke, but it came to a point where he lost his entire right arm in a nuclear accident.

Edwin Neal as "Splatter" in Future Kill (Released 1985)

Front view of "Splatter"'s helmet and shoulder armour in Future Kill

View of the front of Splatter's open fronted jacket in Future Kill

b) Creating a poster
Ed Neal had Giger paint a rendition of his character Splatter and Giger created something loosely based on the photos that he saw. Giger had requested that they pay him cash, and when a man of that stature gives a list of such conditions and nothing seemed to outrageous, Ed thought it was best to say yes to everything because Giger was so wonderful. He thought that the fact that Giger was doing the poster was like a gift in the first place, and he had turned down work to do film posters for a lot of people, including 20th Century Fox. Since he was a fine artist, he didn't really need to do them but he seemed attracted to the film and one reason for this was the fact he liked Texas Chainsaw Massacre which shared a couple of the same actors.

The other side to this from Giger's memory, whether the two sides can actually connect anywhere, was that Ron Moore, the director of Future-Kill visited a major retrospective exposition of Giger's work from April to June of 1984 that took place at the Seedamn Cultural Centre in Pfafficon near Zurich. It was the most complete showing of everything put together and Giger saw the irony that such a thing could only have been realised in this Orwellian year. 

Just when Giger was not in the mood to be doing a new work and he wanted to recover from the resultant stress of the exhibition,  Ron Moore who representing the film company showed up quite desperate to have him to a key art poster for their film called "Future Kill" which he had just finished directing and so it was being edited at the time. He said that he had to have the poster and right away!

Giger felt that his only means of escape from this situation would be to pretend to be sick. This drove Ron into quite a state of despair. From this situation, Mia Bonzanigo would come to recount a conversation with Ron wherein he tearfully confided to her that he would not return to his movie associates without the poster from me. It looked as if he has promised them too much. Finally Giger gave in to Ron's tears.

Ron also showed Giger a couple of photographs of a character with a skull-like head of the character "Splatter" which looked to Giger as if it had been stolen from one of his own works, perhaps even one of his masks, adapted to fit over Ed Neal's head and since they had done it so well, Giger thought that he might as well do the poster.  Giger found Kathy the designer to be attractive, and would soon find himself enjoying sashimi together in bed with her.

Giger spent a furiously busy week creating a red and grey version of the desired poster. As soon as he was finished, Ron disappeared with his loot. Giger didn't even get a chance to make reproductions of them.
intravenous electronic speed system

 intravenous electronic speed system

c) Ed Neal pays Giger a visit
Ed Neal went to see HR Giger in Switzerland to pay him for the poster design that he did for Future Kill and also to get some limited edition posters signed. He planned to stay a couple of days but that turned into somewhere nearer to two weeks. He found Giger to be one of those fascinating men in the world, seeing reality in a very unobvious way, and soon others would manage to finally get around to seeing his way and say "Oh yeah".

He thought also that part of his talent was down to there being a Swiss ability to line things up no matter how many layers there are and still see underneath them, and they've been doing it for many years with tiny little mechanical things such as watches. No matter how many bolts and nuts that they cram in there, they still know it's going to fit, and this was something that the Americans have great trouble with.

He also found out about a tunnel that went beneath his childhood home but oddly this tunnel connected up with catacombs of a 14th-15th Century church where there was all of these bodies buried in great big mounds of skulls and bones


Future Kill II painted by HR Giger (work 558) (1984)

d) Making money from the poster
With that poster, Ed was able to book the film into a lot of theatres that wouldn't have touched it because it had no major star. But based on the art of the artist who did Alien, the cinemas knew that they could get a crowd in. So they were saying to him ‘We'll take it based on the poster alone" which didn't say much about the movie industry.

When they couldn't afford to pay him the money that they owed him for the film they said "Well, take these posters and sell them and you'll get a bit of money that way" which Neal did.

Because of the popularity of the poster, in fact Ed Neal made more money off the poster than the film alone having printed thousand copies of both the red and grey version of the poster. Giger heard about this success.

He also saw the finished film about half a year later. While the film was perhaps not for him, he at least thought it was very colorful in contrast to his near enough black and white poster and he liked the colours of the movie because they reminded him of a 1959 Brazilian film called Black Orpheus.


Splatter in his beautifully lit armour in "Future Kill"

Splatter in his beautifully lit armour in "Future Kill"


Quote sources
  1. CFQ: In 1985 you designed the poster for FUTUREKILL. Did you have anything else to do with that film?
    GIGER
    No. When Ron Moore, the director, visited an exposition of my work near Zurich he asked me if I would care to do the poster art for his film, which was being edited. Moore showed me a couple of photographs of this character with a skull-like head which looked just like it had been stolen from one of my works. I thought that since they had copied that so well  already I  might as well do the  poster.  Half  a year later I saw  the finished film and it was... how  shall I put it... it was very colorful, whereas my poster was  rather  black  and white. I liked the colors in the film, they reminded me  of BLACK  ORPHEUS.  But  the rest... the poster was well printed, though. (Cinefantastique vol.18 no 04)
  2. Giger: In 1984, a major Giger retrospective took place at the Seedamm cultural centre in Pfaffikon near Zurich. This, the most complete showing every put together, could only have been realized in this Orwellian year. Just when I wanted to recover from the resultant stress, Ron Moore, representing a production company in Texas, showed up, quite desperate to have me do a key art poster for their film, Future Kill, which he had just completed directing. Kathy, the attractive makeup artist and I later enjoyed sashimi together in bed. She adapted one of my masks and had it go over the head of the lead actor, Ed Neal (the hitchhiker from Texas Chainsaw Massacre) (HR Giger's Film Design) 
  3. Giger: Ron Moore was sent to Switzerland on a mission from the company to come back with a Giger poster - or else. I was not in the mood to begin a new work. He said he had to have the poster and had to have it right away! I felt my only means of escape from this situation would be to pretend to be sick. This, however, drove Ron into quite a state of despair. Mia recounted a conversation with him wherein he tearfully confided to her that he would not return to his movie associates without the poster from me. Apparently he promised them too much. I spent a furiously busy week  creating a red and grey version of the desired poster. As soon as I was finished, Ron disappeared with his loot. I didn't even get a chance to make reproductions of them. Later I heard that the poster turned out to be the most successful aspect of the entire project.  Ed Neal, who had another occupation as museum curator, made 1,000 copies of each version. Today the grey head is often used to illustrate cyberpunk themes. (HR Giger's Film Design)
  4. Giger: Ron, your strategy was good. Without the tears, you would never have taken home the poster (HR Giger's Film Design)
  5. Gavin Baddeley: Could you tell me something about your meeting with H.R Giger?

    Ed Neal: I went to see him in Switzerland to pay him for the poster design for Futurekill. He did a wonderful, wonderful rendition of me on the poster and we were able to book the film into a lot of theatres that wouldn't have touched It because It had no major star. But based on the artwork by the guy who did Alien they knew they could get a crowd In. So they said ‘We ll take it based on the poster alone" which doesn't say much for the movie Industry. I made more money off the poster than I made off the film.  

    Gavin Baddeley: How did that work out?

    Ed Neal: Well, they couldn't afford to pay me all the money they owed me so they said "Well, take these posters and sell them and you'll get a bit of money that way". Well the film became so culty and Giger's artwork became so culty that I actually made more money selling the posters than doing the film. But that's the reason we did it in the first place: we knew his artwork would attract interest in the film. He had requested we pay him in cash. A man of that stature gives you a list of conditions and if there's nothing outrageous you say yes to everything because he's so wonderful. It was a gift that he was doing it in the first place because he turned down a lot of Important people to do film posters, like 20th Century Fox. because he's a really fine artist and he really doesn't need to do them. But he was attracted to this and he loved Texas Chainsaw Massacre so that's one of the main reasons he did Futurekill.  

    Gavin Baddeley: Marilyn Burns is In Future Kill too Isn’t she?  

    Ed Neal:
    Yes. Marilyn was in Texas Chalnsaw and I asked them to write her a part into the film because I thought If we appeared together then "the stars of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are back" and did another bit of publicity off that, then that'd probably work real well.

    Gavin Baddeley: What’s H.R. Giger like?

    EN: H.R. Giger. Hans Rudi Giger. Is one of the most fascinating men In the entire world. I was supposed to stay a couple of days, I think I stayed two weeks. The man is absolutely fascinating: before you die you must either meet him or visit his home. He's definitely not like us; he's very, very special. He sees things In a way that others cannot see them until he sees them that way and then they go "Oh yeah" It's that real kind of Swiss ability to line things up no matter how many layers are there and still see underneath them. And they've been doing it for years and years and years with little tiny mechanical things that, no matter how many bolts and nuts they get crammed In there, they still know It's going to fit. I don't know what it is about the Swiss mind that they can do that, but I'm telling you there's a whole lot of other minds that have trouble; particularly American ones, because we can't see things in that many layers and Giger and a great many of the Swiss people have no problem with It whatsoever. He started out as an Industrial designer.

    Gavin Baddeley: I’d like to see some of his buildings.  

    Ed Neal:
    You can’t believe how integrated. now he cannot conceive of anything unless It's a combination of machine and person, he can't separate the two any longer. You do know he drew the alien long before the film. This guy Ridley Scott just stumbled across this and went "Wow!" and wrote the script to the drawing. Once they saw the Image and were led to that Image they just completed It.

    Gavin Baddeley: He's done quite a bit of religious stuff; like a whole series of Satan paintings.

    Ed Neal: Well. he has been accused many, many times of being a satanist - he is not. It's just that he grew up in a very strange environment where underneath the homes they were all connected to these catacombs of the 14th-15th century church where all these bodies were buried just in great big mounds of heads and skulls and bones. It was a very strange kind of 15th century religious notion. He's not a satanist; he likes the occult In that It's fascinating. But this is not a guy that wants to cut body parts up. he chuckled Inwardly whenever It was brought up. He's fascinating and he's strange and he's wonderful but there's nothing demonic at all about him. He's actually a very warm very Inspired kind of guy. Wherever he looks he sees things differently, that's all it is. He's a fascinating man.you'd have to see In his home the panels that he's brought in and airbrushed. some of the pieces six and seven years at a time. They're like ten foot by eight foot. Just huge panels where he's just airbrushed. All you can think of is "I want to take this home with me". Of course none of them are for sale. well probably would see. If you gave him 300 grand or something. but he's Just no desire to part with them. He's not an avaricious guy at all. He's typical of a lot of artists who are very content with what they do.

    They're not consumed by being rewarded for It monetarily. Sure money is nice and he does like it and he does make a lot of money but he'd much prefer to sell prints of his art than his art. He's very content to sell his editions: he prints a lot of limited editions in Europe but they're very small printings - 300. Almost no one in America has any because he only prints 300 at a time. Well, good grief! There's 5000 people In Zurich alone that want his stuff, let alone 300. The editions are continuously sold out before they get to America, we're just furious over here. I'm one of only four people In America that has some of his original art. Deborah Harry has some. Maximillian Schell the actor has a whole bunch bless his heart, speaking the language helps I think, the Andy Warhol estate had some and I don't know but I think Bob Guccioni and those guys In New York have some. But he doesn't like to sell it much. I have one of the sets for Alien, there are only 300 of those. He let me have a set of those. He had just gotten it back from a woman in Granada who wanted to sell it so I was just there at the right time. I've always lusted over a complete set of those, mostly they get broken up. There are six prints in the set I think and they go for hundreds and hundreds of dollars apiece. Very few people can afford the whole set because all the dealers get them and they sell them individually. A great many of them go into museums and libraries and then they don’t come back out. So Immediately of the 300 you've got half of them going into museums and things where they stay forever, so you've got only 100 or so left sometimes for the whole general populace. It frustrates the hell out of the science fiction and horror buffs who want to get everything he printed because they can't get their hands on them. The problem with the printing has been very few items of his are printed expensively, you'd think they would be, but they're not. We have the only fine expensively printed Giger print available; the paper cost us a fortune, we paid three times as much for the metallic inks so that it sets up on the poster. You have to see the original artwork to see how well It looks. We did two limited editions that were a thousand prints each but they sold out Immediately.
    (Samhain #28)
  6. There is apparently a story behind the poster artwork. What's your final word on who got HR Giger involved?

    DUH!!! ... hmmm ... letz see. OH ... I know ... that would have been ... MR. GIGER! ... roflamo …

    His final decision seems to be somewhere between needin’ da dough ... and really liking TEXAS CHAINSAW ...

    I for one am just glad it happened ... I spent two weeks with him in Zurich getting some limited Edition posters signed and it was an experience that somewhat changed my whole life ...

    The vibe comin’ off that cat is nuthin’ short of TRAN-SCENT-DENTAL ... just to be in the same space with him makes you more aware creatively that you EVER were before ... he’s the real deal ... and I’ve met a BUNCH of the pretenders.
    (http://www.iconsoffright.com/IV_Edwin.htm
  7. Ron Moore: It was called Death in Crimson but it needed financing beyond a limit I could locate. So John and I devised Futurekill and brought Kathy into the project so we could amalgamate her anti-punk fashion designs and ideas.(Starburst #73, August 1984) 
  8. Ed Neal: We've also got some great machinery that was built for us out in Los Angeles. My costume has — and 1 don't think I've ever seen this done before — an intravenous, electronic, speed [amphetamine] system. He pushes a button and it feeds a vial of speed into his arm. Because he's in such physical pain all the time, that's the only way he can keep going sometimes. And it works. It looks great on film. (Fangoria #34) 
  9. Ed Neal: Later on, once we hired HR Giger to do the poster artwork for the film, Giger was convinced she had taken the inspiration for the costume for Splatter from one of his earlier designs and drawings. Not true. She came up with it earlier on. (Future Kill, DVD Commentry)
  10. Ron Moore: Kathy made all the costumes for this, I think it was all made out of fibreglass if I'm right
    Ed Neal :Yes, it was all fibreglass and and then Robert Burns moulded the head piecet
    Ron Moore; Okay, it was Robert who did these things, okay

    Ed Neal: Robert Burns, we brought him in from Chainsaw too, so we had part of the chainsaw family and he he he moulded the head head pieces and everything (Future Kill, DVD Commentry)
  11. Ed Neal: Absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, we tried to de-emphasize the violence of it. It's there, of course, but the killer is not just another demented psycho without the audience ever knowing why he’s a psycho. This guy's trip is that he was once a nuclear scientist, terribly pro-nuke. And then he lost his entire right arm in a nuclear accident. Part of his upper body and head area are now covered by a helmet, and his right arm is hydraulic. (Fangoria #34)  
  12. Ron Moore: For example I told Kathy to go wild with the costume designs. 'Grab an  idea,' I said, 'And go with it.' That's why we have such marvellous things in Futurekill, like Splatter's intravenous, electronic speed system, where all he does is push a button and amphetamine is automatically injected into his arm. (Starburst Magazine 073 (August 1984))
  13. Ed: Stimmt. Aber die gute Seite ist, dass wir mit einem der großartigsten Künstler aller Zeiten arbeiten konnten: Hans-Rudi Giger, der unser Poster gemacht hat - und einer der Gründe, wieso er es gemacht hat, ist weil er Chainsaw so mochte! Zur richtigen Zeit, am richtigen Ort. Mit solchen Leuten an einem Projekt zu arbeiten, das war einfach überragend. (Ed: That's right. But the good side is that we could work with one of the greatest artists of all time: Hans-Rudi Giger, who made our poster - and one of the reasons he did it is because he liked Chainsaw so much! In the right place at the right time. Working with such people on a project was just outstanding.) (http://www.filmflausen.de/Seiten/interview3.htm)
     

Splatter in his armour (Source: Rue Morgue 065 March 2007)


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