The idea to deep-freeze the dead (Commander Powell) and be able to speak to their half-living souls through an electronic device is inspired by sci-fi short stories and novels by Philip K. Dick, in such works as "What the Dead Men Say" (1963) or "Ubik" (1969). The frost, the radio tuning and the clouded, feeble and fainting thoughts are exactly as described by Dick.
In the "elevator" sequence the bottom of the elevator is actually rolling on the floor. The device used to roll the elevator base was actually a Moviola camera dolly normally used on the small sound stage in the old USC Cinema building (itself once a horse stable). The steering end of the dolly can be seen as part of the "elevator" underside.
The end of the film was almost certainly inspired by and adapted from Ray Bradbury's sci-fi short story "Kaleidoscope." Bradbury's story is about a group of rocket men floating away from each other in space after their ship has exploded. Eventually only two men are left in radio contact; one of them is carried off by an enchanting, kaleidoscopic meteor swarm, and the other falls to earth as a shooting star. This situation is exactly recreated at the end of "Dark Star," and some of the dialogue is adapted directly from Bradbury's text.
While there is a visible flash and sound of some type of shot when Pinback darts the alien, in fact the gun used is a real anesthetic dart gun which uses CO2 to propel the dart and would have no muzzle flash.