"Bombed" is absolutely right.
Dark Star was a John Carpenter sci-fi comedy about people exploding planets in space, and O'Bannon hadn't simply written it, but also designed and supervised the special effects. It was this (not his writing) that got the attention of weirdo director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who at the time was working on an ultimately shelved Dune film. O'Bannon was brought on Dune's production where he met a creepy Swiss artist working on the film's set and character design. His name was H.R. Giger, and you might find his work on Dune a bit familiar.
To put this guy in perspective -- upon their initial introduction, H.R. Giger immediately offered O'Bannon opium. And when asked why he himself took it, Giger bleakly responded "I am afraid of my visions." If Werner Herzog had night terrors, it would be personified in H.R. Giger's ghastly Scandinavian gaze. His paintings are what Satan uses to get an erection.
Dune was sci-fi failure #2, and after production was closed down O'Bannon found himself running out of work, and consequently money (which is commonly a thing you get in exchange for work). In what was no doubt an act of pre-hooking desperation, he and Shusett dug up yet another old failure -- a story about monsters attacking a WWII bomber (which later became a segment in the 1981 animated "film" Heavy Metal -- a series of events we've previously discussed).