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Trip Out on the Trailer for George Lucas’ Student Film ELECTRIC LABYRINTH: THX 1138 4EB (Exclusive)

Before there were any Star Wars, there was George Lucas’ feature debut THX 1138. And before there was THX 1138, there was a much shorter film with a much longer title. It was this far out trip through an authoritarian state that started it all for USC student Lucas, who won some awards at the 1968 National Student Film Festival and simultaneously caught the attention of the Universal executive who would later help make American Graffiti as well as a burgeoning young filmmaker named Steven Spielberg.

On Monday, December 11, sci-fi streaming channel DUST will host Electric Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB to coincide with the release of The Last Jedi. The digital premiere of Lucas’s student short film is also part of a feature highlighting sci-fi shorts from USC School of Cinematic Arts students, capped off with the weirdo chase through a world where people are forced to take drugs to suppress their emotions. Fortunately, you won’t need any drugs if you watch DUST’s trailer for Electric Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB.

The future is terrifying and requires a lot of cardio. Through the grainy textures, disquieting close-ups, and sparse use of alarming color, the trailer successfully captures the experimental nature of the original 15-minute short film, which smashed discordant organ music into radio-filtered voices to create a sense of oppression and captivity.

Sometimes early work offers us the opportunity to see the potential that became reality, but beyond the technical skill and vision, it’s honestly hard to see the filmmaker Lucas would become inside this unsettling, 1984-inspired footrace. It’s waiting on an injection of pulpy fun to evolve into the series that launched Lucas into the stratosphere.

You can see it for yourself on December 11, when DUST presses play on Electric Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB.

Image: Warner Bros.

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