In Memory of Dan O’Bannon

by on December 21, 2009

in Entertainment

I am in mourning today for a man I never met. Late the other night I read in the New York Times that Dan O’Bannon died Thursday, after a 30-year battle with Crohn’s disease. He was 63.

He was kindred spirit. I share his love of H. P. Lovecraft and the use of fiction and fantasy to entertain and inform and sometimes make a point on a social issue.

I first became aware of Dan O’bannon when I took my wife’s two brothers to a movie in 1974 or 1975. The movie was John Carpenter’s Dark Star. Dan O’Bannon co-wrote the screenplay with John Carpenter and also co-stared as Sgt. Pinback. He had the boys holding their stomachs and stomping their feet laughing at Sgt. Pinback (Dan O’Bannon) chase an alien, a beach ball with claws, through the air ducts and elevator shafts of the spaceship.

I was thrilled when in an attempt to keep a bomb that was stuck in the bomb bay from exploding; they tried to teach it existential phenomenology. It was particularly humorous to me, having suffered through so many philosophy classes in college. The boys seemed to get the idea since they were laughing as hard as I was. You can see clips from this movie on YouTube. (The clip can be seen at the bottom of this article. Editor)

He later brought us another alien that would terrify us with his 1979 screenplay Alien. He was responsible for creating the characters for the sequels. According to IMDB there is an Alien Prequel planned for a 2011 release.

His credits are numerous and I can say I have seen most of the films that he has either written or has contributed to in some way. I think we would have seen more of his creativity if he hadn’t suffered such a debilitating illness. I can only guess at what his inventive mind would have given us had he not been taken from us so soon.

There will doubtless be numerous memorial articles about him. The community of science fiction and fantasy fans will be mourning the loss of a visionary.

I offer my sincere condolences to his family, his wife Diane and his son Adam for their loss of a husband and father.

Dark Star You Tube Clip:

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