|A lot of people i know who are
not aware that this film was originally released in 1975 fault it for
being derivative, when, actually, if anything, the shoe is on the other
Dan O'Bannon's special effects sequences are incredible, especially
since the entire budget for the whole film wouldn't buy coffee for an
effects house working on teevee commercials today; i am especially
taken with the utterly convincing planet-buster bombs made from an
HO-scale piggyback trailer turned upside down with engine parts from a
1/25th scale model car attached (if you look closely on a good copy you
can still read the logo of the car manufacturer on the valve cover used
as part of the bomb's drive mechanism).
So many great lines and sequences in this film -- Pinback and the
beachball and the elevator may exceed the Maximum Allowable Funny
Quotient for a minor film, and Doolittle's conversation with the
(capable of destroying an entire planet) that plans to detonate right
alongside the ship, as he leads it into beginning philosophy and
convinces it that it can't prove
that it actually heard the "go" code...
The theme song, "Benson Arizona", one of the more warped country songs
one will ever hear, is a hoot; the original is by Carpenter and a
lyricist whose name i have lost, and SF fans have been adding verses to
it for years.
Watch for the "THX-1138" gag -- for many years (if not still) the only
time the *whole* title has been used in a film reference.
O'Bannon worked on special effects on the first "Star Wars" film, and
basically borrowed his own "computer search of the blueprints" sequence
from "Dark Star" for that film.
The basic design of the "Dark Star" itself is by
futurist/cartoonist/satirist Ron Cobb, background astronomical
paintings by Jim Danforth, and the design of the crew's spacesuits is
determined by the fact that they used a commercially-available toy
spaceman for effects shots.
As an example of the sort of audience this film appeals to -- it was
briefly re-released theatrically in the latter Seventies; a friend here
Atlanta (a music journo) went to see a matinee at a theatre in the same
shopping center as the Great Southeast Music Hall of blessed memory,
and realised that the only other people
in the dark with him were Joey Ramone and his girlfriend and the