The film underwent re-shoots in 1972 to extend the fifty-minute production to eighty-minutes, and to make it viable for a theatrical release. The film was then purchased by Jack H. Harris (The Blob ), who demanded additional re-shoots. The film finally premiered in 1975, and met with positive reviews, but relatively little audience appreciation.
In short, Dark Star is the anti-2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). As a work of (caustic) 1970s art, it knowingly draws all the opposite conclusions about space travel, mankind, and man’s place or role in the universe. In so cleverly over-turning the 2001 apple cart, Dark Star not only lives up to its title, it remains one of the funniest science fiction films made in the 1970s.
If the 1970s is truly the wake-up from the hippie dream, as my friend and mentor, Johnny Byrne used to insist, then Dark Star is pointedly the wake-up from the 2001 dream; an acknowledgment of the absurd and pointless nature of man’s existence…even in the Space Age.