Friday, December 18, 2009

Dan O' Bannon Passes Away

I am very depressed today, hearing about the passing of Dan O’ Bannon so The Existentialist Man wishes to celebrate his life with this lament from Dark Star which is strangely apt, so let’s have some music in here Boiler……

Now the years pull us apart,
I'm young and now you're old.
But you're still in my heart
And the memory won't go cold.
I dream of times and spaces
I left far behind
Where we spent our last few days
Benson's on my mind.

Benson Arizona,
blew warm wind through your hair,
My body flies the galaxies, my heart longs to be there.

Benson Arizona,
the same stars in the sky,
The days seemed so much kinder,
When we watched them,
You and I.

Benson Arizona’ Music by John Carpenter. Lyrics by Bill Taylor

I’ll miss you Dan, as your work touched my life.

From The Guardian

As a writer, O'Bannon was adept at taking something standard and adding new twists to it. He may not have originated all the concepts he doled out, but he was usually the first to expand on them and think of how they could be realised in visual terms. Witness the vertical cities he and Moebius put forward in their futuristic comic-book short story The Long Tomorrow in a 1977 issue of Métal Hurlant, which was "borrowed" by Ridley Scott for Blade Runner.

O'Bannon's résumé is full of highly enjoyable genre movies that are full of interesting quirks and character, many co-written with Shusett. There's the downbeat and creepy zombie tale
Dead and Buried, the paranoid, surveillance-themed helicopter movie Blue Thunder, and Lifeforce, the muddled but hugely entertaining adaptation of Colin Wilson's Space Vampires that mixes aliens, zombies, vampirism, spaceships, nudity and large-scale destruction of London.

There's also Total Recall, which managed to expand the Philip K Dick original into a high-action script that even managed to add a little ambiguity (Shusett and O'Bannon were way ahead of everyone in realising the cinematic potential of Dick's stories, picking up the rights to a few at a snip long before Scott's Blade Runner upped the price out of their range).

His directing career unfortunately never really got off the ground, but is still worth considering. As someone who had a hand in more or less every department in Dark Star, he wasn't one to delegate easily. As a result his directorial debut, The Return of the Living Dead, apparently wasn't much fun for anyone involved. The story is enjoyably told in B-movie actor Jewel Shepard's frank autobiography, If I'm So Famous, How Come Nobody's Ever Heard Of Me? – it's well worth tracking down a copy. The finished film, however, is great and was a "zomcom" long before Shaun of the Dead; it also had running zombies long before Zack Snyder "invented" them in his Dawn of the Dead remake. 1992's The Resurrected, the rather nifty HP Lovecraft adaptation, is O'Bannon's only other such credit.

Photo : Dan O' Bannon as Lt Pinback from 'DARK STAR'

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