The "Dark Star" special edition DVD campaign


"Dark Star", what a cool frickin' film!
It all started out as a student film in the early 70's. It was the very FIRST movie that Dan O'Bannon and John Carpenter *ever* did. After further financing, it was extended to theatrical length.
It was done on a very low budget but for the money and resources they had, they pulled off a very funny (and very dry) sci-fi comedy that later helped inspire Dan to write the now legendary "Alien".
The plot simply centered around a few men in deep, deep space and have been traveling for many years. Boredom has long taken it's much so that blowing up unstable planets (their mission) has become as tedious as watching paint dry.
Various problems begin to surface....their ship encounters some kind of asteroid field which screws up everything, making the bombs want to explode while still inside the ship's bay. The bombs think for themselves (and there's a hilarious scene near the end with the captain trying to convince the bomb not to "do it's duty" using philosophy.) Dan's character 'Pinback' is chasing down a runaway "pet" alien which is really just a beachball...seriously, that's what they used to make the creature. I'm laughing right now just thinking about it.
Dan co-wrote, co-starred, edited and supervised the special effects (what a well rounded fella!) while Carpenter directed and co-wrote.

So anyway, the original DVD was released by VCI Home Video and by reading *every* review of the disc, the quality is awful (plus there are no special features to be found.)
Naturally I decided to see if I could do anything to get a re-issue. I knew Dan would love to take part in the restoration of the film as well as record an audio commentary track.
So with that in mind I contacted VCI and to my surprise, they were really jazzed about doing a new version! All I had to do was put them in contact with Dan and voila!
I got this e-mail earlier in the week from the president of VCI;

"Dear Michael,

I wanted to let you know that I have spoken with Dan O'Bannon today and he confirmed he would be happy to help us on redoing the DARK STAR DVD. He was very busy but said he would call me on Monday to work out the details.

This is very exciting news and I don't mind if you want to be the first person in the world to announce on your website that we will be doing a new SPECIAL EDITION DVD, which will feature, at the least, a new digital anamorphic widescreen transfer - enhanced for 16x9 monitors. I'll keep you posted on more details as they are worked out.

I appreciate all your help in making this happen."

Best regards,
Robert A. Blair, President

So as you can see, this project is gonna happen. This page isn't a "campaign" or "petition" but merely a news source on the DVD's progress and as soon as I hear something more, I'll post it right here!

In the meantime, you can always write to VCI, thank them for re-doing the film and encourage them to add as many features as possible.
Their address;

VCI Entertainment
11333 E. 60th Place
Tulsa, OK 74146

or call them at;

(918)254-6337 / (800)331-4077

I've started a petition a few weeks ago, to sign it click HERE.


UPDATE: 7-12-2002

Some news for everyone

I received a letter for "the man" himself, John Carpenter, today.

While he has "great affection" for the movie and would "love to see a special edition", he will NOT work with Dan O'Bannon on the DVD in any way. Apparently after 20+ years, the bad blood between the two is still running deep.

Kinda sucks, I know but you can't force people to work with each other if they don't wanna.

I'm glad Mr. Carpenter took the time to contact me anyway. At least we know what to expect (or not to expect in this case) regarding the DVD. Still, O'Bannon is involved and 1 outta 2 ain't bad.

NEWSFLASH!!!! 3-27-2003

It's been a while since this page has been updated but hey, there was nothing to report. However, today I had a few e-mails with John Carpenter's assistant and have put them in contact with VCI (and vice versa!) This is very good news, so hopefully the two sides can come together and make a special edition DVD of "Dark Star" a reality!


UPDATE: 8-20-03

Wow, it's been a while hasn't it? Well, there have been reasons why I haven't had much to report. I'll let VCI president Robert Blair tell you;

"Some other issues have come up which we need to straighten out before we redo Dark Star. We are working on it though and hope we can begin in earnest on the new improved reissue soon."

There you have it! They're still trying to get a new DVD done, I guess you'll just have to be patient.


UPDATE: 2-17-2004

There's some news that a new "special edition" DVD will be released in Region 2 (Europe) this year, here's the details;

Click here for the article.
Presented for the first time in a new special edition DVD Box Set (RRP 」15.99) to be released in the UK on the 19th April 2004.
Extras and tech spec is:
Anamorphic Widescreen and 4.3 Versions
New CGI Menus
New Synopsis
New Character and Crew Biographies
Chapter Points
Stills Gallery
Publicity Material
Theatrical trailer
Commemorative Anniversary packaging
Aspect Ratio: 1.85.1
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Audio Language: English
Catalogue No.: FHED1765
Suggested Retail Price: 15.99
Certification: PG

Now this is about as lame a "special edition" as I've ever heard..."new synopsis"? Give me a break.
While a Region 1 re-release isn't coming just yet, I can't believe anyone will be rushing out to buy this R2 disc to tide them over.


UPDATE: 3-19-2008

I know, it's been a while hasn't it? Well here's the good news, shortly after VCI's web site listed "Dark Star" as an upcoming special edition, I contacted the president Robert Blair and he did confirm it IS coming (finally) and revealed the likely bonus features on the disc. What are they? Well I can't say just yet. I won't make them public until I'm given the ok but I'll say this...while you shouldn't expect some 5 DVD box set, the supplements do look to be very interesting.


UPDATE: 9-17-2010

Well here it is (finally, I know I know) but the new DVD has officially been announced! "Dark Star: Hyperdrive Edition" will be released in the U.S on October 26th! Here are the details;

Special Features on the DVD

LET THERE BE LIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF "DARK STAR" An all new, feature-length documentary exploring the controversial making of the John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN) and Dan O達annon (ALIEN), Exclusive interviews with actor Brian Narelle, cinematographer Doug Knapp, art director Tommy Lee Wallace, visual effects artist Greg Jein, voice artist Cookie Knapp, film director Jack Harris, Diane O達annon, USC alumni/director Jeff Burr, as well as archival interviews with John Carpenter and many more! Plus the final interview with Dan O達annon - Directed by Daniel Griffith - 2010

Interview with Sci-Fi author Alan Dean Foster

3D guide to the DARK STAR ship

Full-length audio commentary by 壮uper-fan Andrew Gilchrist

Written Intro by Dan O達annon


and here's a look at the DVD cover:

Sadly no Blu-Ray release has been mentioned (yet) but one can hope! Finally, you can check out the DVD's official Facebook page HERE for further updates!


UPDATE: 9-20-2010

The folks releasing the new "Dark Star" DVD recently explained on their Facebook page why there is no Blu-Ray release forthcoming and if you haven't read it by now, here it is;

"That has been put on hold until we are able to acquire a print that would allow for full HD resolution (which no one seems to have to the best of our knowledge). As of now, even Mr. Carpenter agrees that releasing D.S. on Blu-ray would be ...disappointing at best, due to the process involved. We tested a segment from the 35mm print we have and it was not acceptable. We also tested a segment of our restored SD master up-converted to HD and it was also not acceptable. Stay tuned...we are always in search of that mystery person out there who's hoarding away pristine masters of the classics."

So there you have it, perfectly reasonable in my opinion. If ANYONE out there knows (or owns) a pristine print of the film, contact VCI!


UPDATE: 12-7-2012

For those of you unaware, VCI has finally released "Dark Star" on Blu-Ray so I hope you guys have bought your copy!

Here's a look at the cover art;


If you have any questions or suggestions on helping this campaign, please e-mail me, Michael Allred, HERE.

Here is a banner you can add to your web site to help promote the campaign, just be sure to link it back here!

Thanks to Horror Asylum for the banner!


Here are a few links;

The best "Dark Star" site can be found here. Pics, facts and more!

Another site of interesting facts can be found here.

Finally, be sure to visit the "Dark Star" section at John Carpenter's official web site, located HERE.

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