The Dune Coloring & Activity Books: When David Lynch’s 1984 Film Created Countless Hours of Peculiar Fun for Kids

David Lynch’s Dune, the $40 mil­lion cin­e­mat­ic spec­ta­cle based on Frank Her­bert’s sci­ence-fic­tion epic, faced more than its fair share of chal­lenges: Lynch’s lack of artis­tic con­trol, elab­o­rate but not quite suc­cess­ful spe­cial effects, source mate­r­i­al so unsuit­ed to fea­ture-film adap­ta­tion that audi­ences had to read glos­saries before the first screen­ings. In an attempt to get ahead of bad buzz, the mas­sive adver­tis­ing and mer­chan­dis­ing blitz had begun well before the movie’s Christ­mas 1984 release, but none of its flaks seemed to under­stand the enter­prise of Dune any bet­ter than most of those view­ers did.

Case in point: the Dune col­or­ing and activ­i­ty books, evi­dence that, as Comics Alliance’s Jason Miche­litch writes, “what Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures want­ed was a Star Wars of their very own — a whiz-bang space adven­ture for eight-year-olds that they could mer­chan­dise the heck out of to the wide-eyed kids that just a year pre­vi­ous had whee­dled their par­ents into buy­ing plush ewok dolls and toy lightsabers. Instead, Lynch and pro­duc­er Dino De Lau­ren­tis pro­vid­ed them with a dark epic actu­al­ly fit for con­sump­tion by think­ing adults. Imag­ine their cha­grin.”

Mered­ith Yanos at Coil­house offers a more detailed write­up of the hours of fun on offer in these tonal­ly bizarre books: “First, there’s the Dune Col­or­ing Book, 44 pages of lurid scenes fea­tur­ing con­spir­a­to­r­i­al char­ac­ters from the film. Then there’s the Dune Activ­i­ty Book. 60 pages of puz­zles and games, mazes and more pic­tures for col­or­ing,” includ­ing a recipe for “No-Bake Spice Cook­ies” that sub­sti­tutes com­mon cin­na­mon for Dune’s Spice, a  “wacky aware­ness spec­trum nar­cot­ic that con­trols the uni­verse.” Oth­er vol­umes con­tain Dune-themed paper dolls, Dune-themed word puz­zles, and even Dune-themed math prob­lems.

Though Dune remains pri­mar­i­ly remem­bered as one of the worst flops in cin­e­ma his­to­ry (and even Lynch him­self usu­al­ly refus­es to dis­cuss it), a few fans have also come to its defense over the past 32 years. Some of them have no doubt want­ed to pass this revi­sion­ist appre­ci­a­tion down to their chil­dren, a task the Dune col­or­ing and activ­i­ty books may (or may not) make eas­i­er. If you buy them on Ama­zon, you’ll have to pay between $45 and $75 each — noth­ing com­pared to the cost of any­thing in the actu­al pro­duc­tion of Dune, of course, but still, you may want to keep an eye on eBay instead.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Glos­sary Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios Gave Out to the First Audi­ences of David Lynch’s Dune (1984)

The 14-Hour Epic Film, Dune, That Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky, Pink Floyd, Sal­vador Dalí, Moe­bius, Orson Welles & Mick Jag­ger Nev­er Made

Howard Johnson’s Presents a Children’s Menu Fea­tur­ing Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Free Col­or­ing Books from World-Class Libraries & Muse­ums: The Met, New York Pub­lic Library, Smith­son­ian & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (5) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (5)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Karen says:

    These books should have been made into a spec­tac­u­lar three part movie. I still believe with the right writ­ers and direc­tor and back­ing it can hap­pen. It needs a Steven Spiel­berg direc­tor.

  • Mabuse Mtz says:

    Den­nis Villanueve,director of the new Blade Run­ner 2049,is set to direct a new DUNE film very soon.

  • jin says:

    And it is cast with the stu­pid­est cast of actors ever assem­bled. Blade Run­ner mem­ber­ber­ries was one of the worst films ever made, utter garbage.

  • Gin says:

    Please try to quan­ti­fy or oth­er­wide jus­ti­fy that messy pile of words, for they just sit there on the screen in a messy pile of angry lit­tle bit­ty words of direc­tion­less hate; all smelly and gross­ly offen­sive and my sym­pa­thies to the first per­son that comes along and sees.…THIS. I mean, REALLY. it’s like you pulled your car over on a remote high­way, left the engine run­ning, opened the door, stepped out, pilled down your pants and squat­ted, forc­ing out these words that nev­er had a chance, left to die by the thought­less whore that gave birth to them and got back in and drove off, leav­ing this, this uncer­e­mo­ni­ous dump­ing of nas­ti­ness that I would­n’t want stink­ing up my car either. But you could at least have the decen­cy to own up to this abu­sive and scat­o­log­i­cal squan­der­ing of lan­guage. The least you could do is bury this cel­e­bra­tion of death so it does­n’t spread your tox­ic con­ta­gion.

    And there’s no evi­dence any­where here that you even made an effort to have least wiped after­ward, no tow­elettes baby wipes or even dol­lar bills. And don’t try to con­vince me you used a bidet, nobody who would defe­cate words like these could under­stand any­thing that comes close to the deep­er con­cepts og hygenic liv­ing. You ali­men­ta­ry philis­tine.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.