If that looks like a beach ball with claws, that's because that's literally what it is. A beach ball, two claws, and some glue were the only special effects Dark Star's budget could afford for the space monster who hides in the ship in the second act of the movie. O'Bannon and his writing partner Ronald Shusett later took that second act (and the whole thing about the blue collar workers stuck in space for a long time and occasionally being cryogenically frozen) and expanded it into a full script, also using ideas from an earlier story O'Bannon had written about gremlins causing shenanigans in a World War II plane.
However, "It's like this obscure movie I did, but scary!" is a harder pitch to sell than you might think, so O'Bannon avoided starvation by getting involved in other projects, like this thing called Star Wars and Alejandro Jodorowsky's doomed Dune adaptation. It was on Dune that O'Bannon hooked up with Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who eventually revamped the beach ball with claws into the hideous dick monster we all know and love.
But Wait, There's More:
While on the subject of Dicks: I mentioned Ron Shusett, who helped O'Bannon with the script that would become Alien. At the same time, O'Bannon was helping Shusett with a project of his own, an adaptation of a story called We Can Remember It for You Wholesale by cult (read: poor) author Philip K. Dick. It took a little longer to get this one off the ground, but it did finally come out in 1990 with a shorter title: Total Recall. Yes. That's right. The obscure original version of the Colin Farrell classic.
To further complicate matters, Total Recall itself almost had a sequel based on another Philip K. Dick story, or Dickstory, called ... Minority Report, which later got recycled into a Tom Cruise thing (the precogs were supposed to be Martian mutants). Oh, and because these people never let a single idea go to waste, O'Bannon's "gremlins in World War II" script I mentioned above ended up in the animated movie Heavy Metal, only with zombies.
So, to recap, all these movies came (at least partially) from two unknown, starving writers sitting in a room in the mid-'70s:
Bryanston Distributing, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures
On the one hand, that's $2 billion. On the other, that last row.