I love John Carpenter’s films but Dark Star (1974) – his first feature has been a problem for me for a while. I’ve tried to watch it a number of times, but the very low budget (and watching the bad prints on VHS and DVD over the years had put me off it).
Finally, I got the recent BluRay with the director’s cut on it, and I watched the whole thing. Howled with laughter, loved the feel of it and then was surprised to find one of my favourite endings in movie history.
This film, shot when Carpenter was a student, on a tiny budget has so many ideas that it struggles to hold them all in. It’s got more ideas and provokes more thought than Star Wars and 2001 put together. And it’s very funny.
The film was made with Dan O’Bannon acting and writing with his film school pal Carpenter. O’Bannon is really good in the film, and his writing and love of the genre shines. Carpenter is leaning heavily on his love of old fashioned B movies and his direction is brilliant on the very low budget. Both of them are super creative with very little money.
This feels like a work of love, and the ending, cleverly set up earlier in the script is a joy to behold.
I’m slightly angry with myself that it’s taken this long to watch the whole thing through and appreciate what a great fun movie this is. The trailer is below and it looks like the sort of thing made in someone’s bedroom- but don’t get put off. This film is joy…
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He also works as a content writer for hire and as a UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour