Famed sf movie maker Dan O’Bannon died December 17. The Los Angeles Times reports his death was caused by complications of Crohn’s Disease, which he had battled for 30 years.
He is best known for writing Alien, winner of the 1980 Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo, and the Guardian’s excellent tribute to O’Bannon insightfully comments:
Over the years, many connected with the film have greedily and not entirely accurately claimed credit for just about everything good about Alien. But if you search out the original script on the internet, you’ll see most of it was already there courtesy of O’Bannon.
Other science fiction films he co-authored include Lifeforce and Total Recall.
He also directed several movies. Bill Warren considers the best of these to be The Return of the Living Dead, a comedy sequel to the original film that opens with a title card revealing that everything you’re about to see is absolutely true and all the real names are used.
O’Bannon’s career began with the low-budget 1974 sf film Dark Star. It originated as a USC student project co-written with director John Carpenter. The movie was not a commercial success, but it developed a cult following among sf fans and inspired the name of the student sf club at UC San Diego.