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DARK STAR - 3 Slimes
Rated G
Copyright 1974 Jack H. Harris Enterprises Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Doolittle - Guy in charge, he's not doing the best of jobs. Burns up trying to surf into a planet's atmosphere.
  • Pinback - Bombardier who seems to have a little space madness, at times he claims to be "Bill Freug." Vaporized.
  • Boiler - Heavyset blonde guy who likes to play with the laser rifle. Vaporized.
  • Talby - Spaced out navigation guy, becomes a "Phoenix Asteroid." (Long story.)
  • The Ship's Computer - Pleasant enough, it would just be nice if she wasn't always saying something along the lines of, "You are about to die." Vaporized.
  • Commander Powell - Original mission commander who was killed by his chair. (Another long story.) Cryogenically frozen.
  • The Alien - It's an orange beach ball with polka dots! Run! Run! Deflated by Pinback.
  • Bomb #19 - Happy little planet killer, annihilates himself and the target celestial body with a smile.
  • Bomb #20 - Neurotic thermostellar device, finally ends it all. Must have been running Windows...

Buy It!

The Plot: 

John Carpenter's first major (Cough.) film is something to behold my friends, what happens when you try to make a special effects bonanza with $55,000? Violent alien beach balls which hop around, space suits made from household materials, and a poor man's Johnny Cash soundtrack. (Though there are some inklings to the theme for Halloween.) Let's face it though, at one point the crew sits down to a nice dinner which Doolittle identifies as ham. What they unwrap from styrofoam trays covered with aluminum foil is mini Otter Pops. In any case, the ship's mission is to destroy planets that might someday fly out of orbit and endanger colonies. To accomplish this they are adequately stocked with intelligent "Thermostellar Bombs." Unfortunately one of them didn't get enough hugs from mommy and daddy bombs when he was little, soon it is lodged in the bomb bay threatening to go off! Talking to the frozen body of Commander Powell is no good, he exhibits the same mental prowess of most nursing home occupants, so Doolittle dons his suit to go out and reason with Bomb #20. After convincing the wayward nuke that it really should think things over Doolittle goes chasing after Talby, the latter gent having been sucked out the airlock and turned into a spinning model figure. Meanwhile Bomb #20 has started it's own theology, any time a fusion device sayeth, "Let there be light." bad things happen.

Note: My review is based on the uncut 83 minute version.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Planet destroying bombs should not have a bubbly personality, it's unnerving.
  • The desolate reaches of deep space are reminiscent of Arizona.
  • Never put all your toilet paper in one place.
  • Sometimes having artificial gravity is a bad thing.
  • Morose surfers are depressing.
  • Elevators constantly run up and down for no reason.
  • Never shoot a balloon with a tranquilizing dart.
  • Viewmaster slides make handy computer panels.
  • It's rather difficult to reason with a neurotic smart bomb.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 5 mins - Thank goodness the bomb knows when he is supposed to go off, but does he have to be so happy about it?
  • 6 mins - Are they zipping through a globular cluster or something? That's a lot of stars.
  • 10 mins - Now we get the credits? Oh heck, the copyright is to a person!
  • 18 mins - And so the scene from "Aliens" finds its roots. Come on Cameron, admit it!
  • 49 mins - In space no one can hear you eat Otter Pops. Yum!
  • 54 mins - Your diary is on 8-track?
  • 61 mins - Talby's space suit is made of the following: silver tape, vacuum cleaner hose, a muffin pan, and styrofoam.
  • 74 mins - Somebody give that thing the electronic equivalent of Prozac.
  • 78 mins - The bomb is quoting Creation, oh that's bad...
  • 81 mins - How did he stop that again?


  • Mission Control: "Sorry to hear about the radiation leak on the ship, and real sorry to hear about the death of Commander Powell."
  • Ship's Computer: "Ship's Computer calling Bomb #20. You're out of the bomb bay again."
    Bomb #20: "I received the signal to prepare for a drop again."
    Ship's Computer: "But I repeat, this is not a bomb run."
    Bomb #20: "Nevertheless, I received the signal."
    Ship's Computer: "It is an error."
    Bomb #20: "Oh, I don't want to hear that!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note darkstar1.wav Doolittle: "Storage Area Nine self destructed last week and destroyed the ship's entire supply of toilet paper."
Green Music Note darkstar2.wav Ship's Computer: "Sorry to interrupt your recreation fellows, but it is time for Sergeant Pinback to feed the alien."
Green Music Note darkstar3.wav Pinback: "Idiot!"
Green Music Note darkstar4.wav Bomb #20: "Detonation will occur at the programmed time."
Pinback: "Wouldn't you consider another course of action? For example: just waiting around a while so we can disarm you?"
Bomb #20: "No."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipdarkstar1.mpg - 2.2m
Disciplining a beach ball is silly enough, but Pinback should have kept a better grip on that broom. There is a funny section later when he tries to use a tranquilizing dart on it, the expected result happens (remember, it is a beach ball).

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 ... 4 5 [6] 7 8 9
Dark Star
Reply #41. Posted on February 19, 2004, 04:44:17 PM by john
I was channel surfing one night a few years ago and came across Dark Star. I had taken a hit of acid about an hour earlyer, needless to say i realy enjoyed the movie:)
Dark Star
Reply #42. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Phil Plait
Alan Dean Foster wrote a fairly decent novelization of the screenplay of Dark Star. As I recall, it's worth reading. Of course, a lot of the humor is better onscreen...
Dark Star
Reply #43. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Jeffrey Stube
I remember seeing this movie a bunch back when we first got cable- Showtime ran it often, and for some reason always with a short called "Hardware Wars" preceding it. That was a low-budget Star Wars parody- stuff like the spaceships were irons flying through space, etc- that was pretty funny too. For a while I thought they were both part of the same movie! Like siamese twins, you never saw one without the other.
Dark Star
Reply #44. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by K from Finland
Only scfi that makes me cry. And Im a man.

Really, the end of the movie gets tears in my eyes.

Just absolutely magnificent.
Dark Star
Reply #45. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Carol
Oh, this site is lovely, I don't know how what started me obsessively thinking about Dark Star, but sometime last week after 20 years, I started recreating it in my mind.  I remembered the alien, phenominology, the eyes of the frozen captain, Talby staring into space then going off with the pheonix asteroids--I couldn't get it out of my mind, and I searched for it at the video store with no luck, finally I searched online and got it within two days.  Aaaaaaaah, there was sooo much I had forgotten! I had forgotten "Benson Arizona"!  I love this movie, I've played it repeatedly since getting it.  It was playing as I made dinner and my husband walked in asking what that horrible movie was.  What a shock...and we're supposed to stay married for the next 50 years?
Dark Star
Reply #46. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by JM
Ditto to the previous comment mentioning the band Pinback. They are one of my favorite bands, but I had no idea when I saw the movie that there was a connection. I laughed to hear of Sgt. Pinback, all the samples that I knew from the songs, and Talby. (Talby is the name of a Pinback song. Seriously, Pinback is an amazing band.

And if ya like Pinback....check out Heavy Vegetable and Thingy, also the brainchilds (brainchildren?) of Mr. Rob Crow. OK, enough Indy rock 'shoutouts'. I liked Dark Star on it's own. Target practice with laser rifles. Rubber chickens and novelty eyeball spring glasses. Phenomenology? Brilliant!
Dark Star
Reply #47. Posted on May 24, 2004, 07:58:10 PM by claudia(from Germany)
I loved this film right from the start. Saw DS first when I was 17, now Im 39 and I still love it... There`s humour, sarcasm - and it shows that humans will always be the same idiots ,even they`re in outer space...
Dark Star
Reply #48. Posted on June 24, 2004, 09:39:09 PM by night heron
Kinda reminds me of the 60s sci fi classic LOST IN SPACE  where their aleins were kind of strange looking and one episode featured mine made from BEACHBALLS and another talked about NUTRON BOMBS which looked a lot like the beads that some toddlers would string on a red rope kindda fun
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