Dark Star (1974)

logoDirector: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Dan O’Bannon (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich, Dan O’Bannon


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


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: The Master Of Horrors Sci-Fi Original


Story: Dark Star starts with communication to Earth from the Dark Star spacecraft. The crew Lt Doolittle (Narelle), Talby (Pahich) Boiler (Kuniholm) and Pingback (O’Bannon) complete a mission that includes detonating talking bomb on mystery planet as they are trying to destroy all the unstable planets. The crew look for the next unstable planet on their mission which will leave them travelling through space alone for years and decades.

The ship has been damaged in a previous event leaving the group slightly less affective but still able to complete their jobs. The crew have managed to capture an alien that is now their mascot which needs feeding ever so often even though it just wants to play. The crew have to solve the problems they have encountered and continue on their mission.

Dark Star is a sci-fi film that ends up being one of the best ones you will see for its time of release and budget. It is true that it all looks cheap but when you think about the story being told you get something very special. Following the astronauts taking out planets which could end up causing supernovas seem to work for the idea too. Many films have used the space missions but I have failed to see one manage it with such a small budget. This really is early work from two of the icons of horror sci-fi genre that shows however good you are you can make anything work. (8/10)


Actor Review


Brian Narelle: Lt Doolittle is the leader of the mission who tries to keep everyone together through all the problems. Brian shows some strength but it is clear that he is an actor friend with the budget this small. (4/10)


Cal Kuniholm: Boiler is the short fused member of the mission who will snap if he gets pushed too far by the fellow crew members. Cal also struggles with the role. (4/10)


Dre Pahich: Talby is the man who likes to be alone in the observation deck rather than socialising with the rest of the crew. Dre doesn’t quite fit the role he is given. (4/10)


Dan O’Bannon: Pinback is the engineer on board who gets most of the comedy moments as we watch his sanity get pushed the most. Dan is by far the most entertaining member of the crew that will make you laugh the most too. (7/10)


Director Review: John Carpenter – John does a good job to prove he can tell a good story with next to nothing budget in a world where these films are all about the budget. (7/10)


Comedy: Dark Star has some funny moments mostly involving Pinback. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: Dark Star really will go down as a sci-fi classic because of the work done on the film. (8/10)

Settings: Dark Star creates a setting where the astronauts are in a confined space for the whole film with nowhere else to go. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Dark Star has good effects for the time and budget available. (7/10)

Suggestion: Dark Star is one for the sci-fi fans to enjoy and see what one of the first films did for all the modern day cinema. (Sci-Fi Fans Watch)


Best Part: Pinback trying to feed the alien which just so happens to be a giant inflatable ball.

Worst Part: People will criticise the low budget.

Funniest Scene: Alien chase.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

Tagline: What Do You Say To A Talking Bomb? All Systems Snafu!!


Overall: Dark Star is a true cult classic but it also shows how easy telling a story is without having to go made with production value.

Rating 71

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