50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

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

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

Back to Top