When Dan was in USC, he met John Carpenter and they collaborated on the 45-minute USC Film School short Dark Star (1970). Carpenter expanded the short into a feature which was released in 1974 with a final budget of only USD 60,000. O'Bannon was along, serving in a number of capacities, including scripting, editing and even playing one of the leading roles (Pinback). In 1975 Dark Star won the Golden Scroll award (as the Saturn Awards were known in the early years) for Best Special Effects.
O'Bannon, growing up a sci-fi and horror enthusiast, had abandoned technical work (including a stint as a computer animator on George Lucas' classic Star Wars) for screenwriting. Together with Ronald Shusett, he wrote the original story for Alien (1979), a graphic, gory feature with a simplistic and formulaic story rooted in classic sci-fi adventures: a spaceship is forced to land on a hostile planet where a parasitic creature finds a host in one of the crew members. Owing much to films like the 1958 It! The Terror From Beyond Space, Alien benefited from its strong female lead, which the writing team had not originally envisaged and director Ridley Scott's visual stylings.
O'Bannon has also voiced his displeasure with his next big-budget outing, John Badham's Blue Thunder (1983), an action yarn about an L.A. helicopter surveillance team. Originally written with Don Jakoby, Blue Thunder also underwent extensive rewriting, losing some of its political content.
He and Jakoby scripted Lifeforce (1985), a tale that veers from alien visitation to vampirism to an apocalyptic ending that was directed by Tobe Hooper.
In 1985 O'Bannon moved to the director's chair with Return of the Living Dead, a highly entertaining follow-up to George Romero's 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead.
The trio further collaborated on the 1986 remake of Invaders From Mars, which most critics felt was inferior to the original.
He and Shusett reteamed on Total Recall (1990), an adaptation of the classic Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. Blessed with the presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven's sure-footed direction, the film went on to earn well over USD 100 million.
His second feature, The Resurrected (1992), was released directly on video and focused on a family's ancient rituals which awaken the dead.
He went on to co-write Screamers (1995), about post-apocalyptic robots programmed to kill, adapted from another Dick story, Second Variety.
Dan O'Bannon Facts
|Daniel Thomas O'Bannon
|September 30, 1946 (77)
|St. Louis, Missouri, USA
|The Return Of The Living Dead
|The Return of the Living Dead / Swamp Thing / A Bucket of Blood / Frogs
|Invasion Of The Body Snatcher / The Return Of The Living Dead
|*HORROR* The Return of the Living Dead All Zone DVD RC0 Thai,English Language