50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

From cosmic head trips to adventures in galaxies far, far away

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30. 'Dark Star' (1974)

While still at USC film school, future horror maestro John Carpenter collaborated with future Alien scribe Dan O'Bannon on this gloriously low-rent midnight movie. Four astronauts cruise space looking to clear habitable solar systems of "unstable planets"; mostly, they just battle cosmic boredom. An inflatable alien ball nearly tickles a dude to death. A computerized bomb contemplates its own existence. A frozen corpse asks after the L.A. Dodgers. The special effects vacillate between defiantly shitty and endearingly resourceful, and Carpenter and O’Bannon's sense of humor covers a similarly narrow ground between Loony Tunes goofiness and dorm-room stoned. "Think we'll find any intelligent life out there?" asks one of the guys. "Who cares," is the riposte. EH

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