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DARK STAR (1974) – Episode 187 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I do not belong on this mission, and I want to return to Earth!” Would a free beach ball change your mind? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they fly into John Carpenter’s first film, Dark Star (1974), which was born as a student project and nurtured into a feature film by Carpenter, co-writer Dan O’Bannon, and executive producer Jack Harris.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 187 – Dark Star (1974)

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In the far reaches of space, a small crew, 20 years into their solitary mission, find things beginning to go hilariously wrong.

Here’s a doozy for all of you John Carpenter fans out there. And, let’s not forget Dan O’Bannon and Jack Harris. This is it, John Carpenter’s first directorial effort, straight out of college (literally), the sci-fi comedy, Dark Star (1974). Strong Stanley Kubrick influences abound from Dr. Strangelove… (1964) to  2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). You don’t have to look too closely to see the elements that leap from this film into Dan O’Bannon’s Alien (1979) script. In fact, Aliens (1986), directed by James Cameron, pays homage to this film with its famous knife challenge gag. Rough around the edges for certain, Dark Star still manages to entertain and provide a chuckle or two. Check out what the Grue Crew thinks. Strap in and may the beach ball alien be with you!

At the time of this writing, Dark Star is available to stream from most free w/ads, subscription, and PPV sources. It is also available on Blu-ray from VCI Video.

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode, chosen by Doc, will be Hammer’s The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973). Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee for the win!

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.