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“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.
- Director: John Carpenter
- Writers: John Carpenter, Dan O’Bannon
- Music by: John Carpenter
- Film Editing by: Dan O’Bannon
- Production Design by: Dan O’Bannon
- Art Department:
- David Seal (chief carpenter)
- Tommy Lee Wallace (associate art director) (as Tom Wallace)
- Special Effects by: Dan O’Bannon (special effects supervisor)
- Special Effects: Ron Cobb, Bob Greenberg, Gregory Jein (as Greg Jein), Harry Walton, John C. Wash
- Selected cast.
- Brian Narelle as Lieutenant Doolittle
- Dan O’Bannon as Sergeant Pinback
- Cal Kuniholm as Boiler
- Andreijah “Dre” Pahich as Talby
- John Carpenter as Talby (voice)
- Joe Saunders as Commander Powell
- John Carpenter as Commander Powell (voice)
- Barbara “Cookie” Knapp as Computer
- Dan O’Bannon as Bomb #19 (credited as “Alan Sheretz”)
- Dan O’Bannon as Bomb #20 (credited as “Adam Beckenbaugh”)
- Miles Watkins as Mission Control
- Nick Castle as Alien
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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