In its earliest form Dark Star was a 45 minute long student film by director John Carpenter and writer Dan O’Bannon that enjoyed a relatively successful run around various film festivals in 73.
Having caught the eye of producer Jack H Harris it was transferred to a better quality film stock and extended by a further 38 minutes to bring it up to feature film length.
Although it’s quite a cult film which manages to be amusing while also being something of a pastiche of 2001 and certain elements of Doctor Strangelove, the film its self cost next to nothing with sets and space suits seemingly cobbled together from whatever was to hand.
As well as various household bits and pieces being used to dress the sets, the space suits seen in the film quite notoriously feature Styrofoam packing material doubling as the backpacks with a metal cake tray adding space age detailing to the chest unit.
It’s also been stated that the suits were especially made to resemble the Major Matt Mason action figures so as to allow the once popular toy to be used in the miniature effects shots with only minor customising.
Humble beginnings indeed but it’s still an entertaining film that also managed to launch a couple of successful careers that would go on to make some very substantial genre contributions.