Romancing the Biomechanoid: H.R. Giger’s “San Gottardo”

News keeps coming down the vine about lesser known projects H.R. Giger had left unfinished before his recent passing. The latest is a little-known science fiction movie idea called The Mystery of San Gottardo, which he was working on since the 1970’s. “A unique love story… about a man and his love for a freak of nature, Armbeinda, which is really a sentient limb combining an arm and a leg.”

This is why we love Giger.

A 1994 magazine called Cinefantastique goes into more detail:

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.

Here are some images from Giger’s storyboard (Some are slightly NSFW):




What a shame it was never made.

You can see more of the storyboard drawings in The Mystery of San Gottardavailable on Amazon.


Source: io9

 Related: Here is transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof talking about the “profound understanding of the psyche” present in H.R. Giger’s work.


Jeremy D. Johnson

Jeremy is a writer of short stories and essays, a blogger, rogue academic and new media scholar. He received his MA from Goddard in Consciousness Studies and a BA from Fordham in Sociology. Exploring the interstices of myth, media and religious experience, his writing attempts to outline the direction of our interconnected age and an integral culture.

3 Comments on "Romancing the Biomechanoid: H.R. Giger’s “San Gottardo”"

  1. This is fascinating. Thank you for sharing. Maybe they should pass this along to Cronenberg to pick up. I think he’d do it justice.

  2. Number1Framer | Jul 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm |

    This is a premise that has real legs. Too bad it’d probably cost an arm and a leg to bring to fruition and most American producers don’t know their arms from their asses. The Armbeinda sound like scary creatures that could tear you limb from limb, but could be good friends to have on hand. Anything I missed here? If I did just lend me a hand…

  3. InfvoCuernos | Jul 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm |

    Its funny how all this “discovered” material was published decades ago in his works. Now, people that never bothered to look inside one of his books are finding out sorts of things about his life’s work that had nothing to do with “Alien”.

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