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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 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 9
Dark Star
Reply #33. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by JT Crowns
It makes me Smile.

Artists Dealing with Ideas and Storylines that we would now call "thinking outside the Box".

Effects, both visual and aural, that were ( No, make that ARE) special because they created imagery from imagination & resourcefulness rather than throwing money at it.
Judging this Work against that by Studios is missing the Point- This was the new, exciting, very raw work created by young artists living up to their potential.

This Film should be Valued the same way you would value a Baseball Card of Ted Williams when he was just a nobody rookie.

Like a Favorite Book, I return to it on occasion to Recharge my Creative .

Dark Star
Reply #34. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Chuck
The theme song, Benson Arizona, is my favorite shower song.  I only wish I could find it complete somewhere other than the copy I made years ago off the VHS.
Dark Star
Reply #35. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by bambi
Dark Star is a great camp movie.  I noticed references to it it MIB2.
Dark Star
Reply #36. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by DangerMouse
Ah yes!  Fellows of mine own ilk.  This movie makes me laugh just reading through these posts!  Part of its brilliance is its spontenaity.  None of this prepackaged, formulated, "sure fire" hollywood crap!  If they thought it would be funny, they wrote it into the screenplay!  Oscars be damned! ;)
Dark Star
Reply #37. Posted on May 21, 2003, 09:13:26 AM by No Nukes
The theme song is STILL running through my head! Dammit!
Dark Star
Reply #38. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Collin R. Skocik
This is my second favorite movie after 2001: A Space Odyssey.  As funny as it is, I never really thought of it as a comedy.  There's lots of serious subtext.

Lots of great comments here.  I saw the movie years and years ago on Suspense Theater and spent years looking for it.  I was starting to think it didn't really exist, that I had just dreamed it, but then I found it at a video rental and was delighted.  I've watched it hundreds of times since then.  Great movie!

In case anyone's interested, I've got a yahoo! group devoted to Dark Star.  It's at
Dark Star
Reply #39. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Tyler
I really enjoyed this movie.  The first time I saw it was probably when I was 9 years old after my mom rented it for my little brother, being a major sci-fi fanatic.  I am now 16, and I found this little gem at a Suncoast and had to buy it.  It is amazing how much I remembered from the movie.  I used to think of it as a stupid movie with terrible acting and just bad everything overall, and that's why I liked it.  But now, being older, I understand what it really was all about, and its just great!  I also noticed a few others mentioned how Silent Running is among one of their favorite movies, well, I find it funny because it happens to be my all-time favorite.  Sometimes I think I was born a little too late. :)
Dark Star
Reply #40. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by James Perry
This is actually a pretty decent film.  Several great comedic moments make the whole thing worth watching.  The DVD can be had for around $5-6 on the net.  I know because I paid $12.95 last year.  (Sigh)  That title song is catchy as hell!  I remember thinking this was an animated film but bought it after watching the clip on this site with the beachball.  I was not disappointed!  

I don't know if anybody mentioned it yet, but this was the inspiration for the classic BBC series Red Dwarf (see the documentary on the Red Dwarf DVDs for proof of this claim).  RD turned out to be one of the funniest things on Earth.  Somebody mentioned Silent was the inspiration for the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (at least the "guy stranded with his robots" theme of the show).
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