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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This excellent and illuminating documentary covers a whole lot of bases about the making of the enjoyably quirky sci-fi cult black comedy hoot "Dark Star." Starting with how John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon first met each other at the University of Southern California, this doc goes on to address such things as the movie being made as an anti-"2001" type parody, the concept of truckers in space as a precursor to "Alien" (which O'Bannon of course co-wrote), the first day of shooting, the extremely cramped and confined sets, the special effects (yep, we do indeed hear some choice stuff about the infamous beach ball alien), the elevator shaft sequence, the movie being blown up from 16mm to 35mm, the score, shooting extra scenes to pad out the running time to an acceptable feature length, the extremely catchy "Benson Arizona" country song, the distribution, the dissolve of the partnership between Carpenter and O'Bannon (O'Bannon's intense loose cannon personality and ambitions to direct eventually wore out Carpenter's patience and tolerance for him), the theatrical premiere, and the picture's current status as a cult classic. The most touching segment centers on O'Bannon's tragic untimely death. Among the folks interviewed on camera are O'Bannon (his last interview), lead actor Brian Narelle, optical effects guy Bill Taylor, associate art director Tommy Lee Wallace, distributor Jack H. Harris, filmmaker Jeff Burr, and cinematographer Douglas Knapp (his wife Cookie, who did the sultry voice of the "female" computer, is also interviewed). Carpenter's only featured as excerpts from an audio interview, but he nonetheless has a lot of interesting and opinionated things to say about the movie. Essential viewing for fans of "Dark Star."
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