Lifeforce (1985)

Posted: September 27, 2013 in Movie Review
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lifeforce

 

Directed By: Tobe Hooper

Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Mathilda May, Frank Finlay, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard

Subgenre: Science Fiction, Vampires

Synopsis: A space exploration discovers a hidden space ship in Halley’s Comet that contains three humanoid life forms that turn out to be much more than they seem.

Thoughts: I’ve long been a fan of scary science fiction stories.  It’s a love affair that started with Alien and continued on with movies like Event Horizon and Pitch Black.  Interestingly enough, I had not seen Lifeforce prior to Scream Factory releasing it.  I’m not quite sure how that happened, especially with the names Tobe Hooper and Dan O’Bannon ties to it.  Maybe it was fate that I waited to see the spectacular work that Scream Factory put into the release.

The storyline in Lifeforce is really more SciFi than horror and the scary parts are few and far between.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good movie, because it is, but the only real correlation to horror is that the aliens are vampires, or at least a variant of vampires.

Steve Railsback, probably best known for playing Charles Manson in Helter Skelter delivers the goods here as astronaut Tom Carlsen, the lone survivor of the ship that discovered the alien vampires.  Railsback mentions in one of the extras that he feared typecasting after Helter Skelter, but loved the script so much that he decided to do LIfeforce.  Personally, I would have liked to see him do more movies.  He’s got a pretty lengthy resume, but not many major roles.

The other role that I have to mention is that of Mathilda May, a virtual unknown that got her role primarily because she was willing to shed her clothes for large portions of the movie.  There is a fantastic interview where she talks about it at length, as well as one where Tobe Hooper recalls how all the prospective actresses banded together to boycott the nudity.  May did an excellent job, both in portraying the alien vampire and being naked!

Tobe Hooper’s career really peeked early, with the majority of his first films being considered classics such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive and The Funhouse.  Lifeforce certainly belongs in that group.  It’s rather peculiar that his later movies never regained the success of his earlier movies. 

I recommend checking out LIfeforce.  It’s definitely more SciFi than horror, but appeals to both crowds.  I also highly suggest Scream Factory’s recent release.  It has some great extras and features an outstanding transfer.

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Comments
  1. fringevoid says:

    One of my high school teachers told me to watch this back in the day, but I’ve still never seen it. Last Road Reviews just posted their own review. They didn’t like it very much. Hmm. Mixed opinions.

    Have you seen Toolbox Murders? That’s a newer Hooper movie I liked.

  2. shnsjolin says:

    It’s very much a SciFi flick, so if you are in the mood for that, it’s a good movie. I can see how someone that was looking for more of a genre title would get a little bored with this, but I think it’s worth checking out.

    I recently picked up Toolbox Murders and it’s sitting in my “to watch” pile.

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