1974 Directed by John Carpenter
Teaser Storyline for Dark Star
It is the mid 21st century. Mankind has explored the boundaries of his own solar system, and now he reaches out to the endless interstellar distances of the universe. He moves away from his own small planetary system in the huge hyper-drive starships: computer-driven, self-supporting, close-system spacecraft that travel at mind-staggering post-light velocities. Man has begun to spread among the stars. Enormous ships embark with generations of colonists searching the depths of space for new Earths, new homes, new beginnings.
Dark Star the scout-ship traveling far in advance of these colony ships carries the Advance Exploration Corps. Their job is to clear the trail for the peaceful colonists who follow. So far from home that Earth is no longer even a point of light in the sky, they comb the universe for those dangerously unstable planets which lie in the path of the colony ships and destroy them with Exponential Thermo-stellar Bombs, equipped with sophisticated thought and speech mechanisms to allow them to make executive decisions in
a crisis situation, and so powerful that they start a chain reaction in the very matter of the planets that they are dropped on, turning the planet into a giant reactor which destroys itself in one staggering thermal flash.
The crew of Dark Star, Doolittle, Talby, Pinback and Boiler, have been in space for 20 years and are preparing to drop their 19th such bomb, blowing yet another unstable planet into oblivion . . . they will remain in space until all their bombs are gone. Only then can they return to Earth. They have been rendered immortal by sophisticated medical techniques, their bodies are those of men in their twenties. The isolation and loneliness has eroded their morale. They eke out the days in a bored stupor, relieved only by the occasional bomb run and by the continual malfunctions of the ship's systems. The ship's CO, Commander Powell, died years ago in one such malfunction. His body is kept below decks in a freezer.
In their numbed state, they fail to notice the most serious malfunction the ship has ever experienced: damage to the bomb drop systems. It begins as another of the routine catastrophes they endure constantly: an encounter with an asteroid storm. To protect themselves from the storm, the men lock themselves into suspended animation as the ship sweeps into the meteor field. Observed only by the ship's computer, the ship suffers damage to one of the bomb system: a data-transmitting laser which controls the bomb's dropping mechanism. Coming out of the suspended animation, they ignore the warning of the computer and retire to different parts of the ship.
Tably, the only crewmember concerned with this new malfunction goes down to the Computer Room to try and locate the difficulty on the computer scanners. Discovering that the problem is in one of the communications lasers, reached via an access panel inside the Emergency Air Lock, he puts on his star suit for protection and goes to the airlock to search for the malfunction.
As the ship arrives at target planet #20, the rest of the crew return to the control room for the next bomb run. Entering orbit around the planet, the bomb bay doors are opened, the bomb is primed and the countdown begins. Bomb #20 is programmed and armed verbally; Sergeant Pinback begins talking to it, telling it to arm itself, giving drip and detonation time.
Talby, still in the Emergency Air Lock, has opened the access plate to Laser #17 and discovered the malfunction, which must be fixed before attempting to drop the bomb. Busy in the control room, they ignore Talby as he tries to warm them. He tries to fix the Laser before the bomb is dropped, but accidentally causes the bombs jettison primer to fire prematurely . . . .