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A mission to investigate Halley's Comet discovers an alien spacecraft. After a deadly confrontation, the aliens travel to Earth, where their seductive leader begins a terrifying campaign to drain the life force of everyone she encounters. Her victims, in turn, continue the cycle, and soon the entire planet is in mortal danger.
An excessive failure in a decade known for excess at movie houses, Tobe Hooper's eccentric science fiction/horror epic Lifeforce (1985) has enjoyed in recent years a reappraisal from genre fans, which undoubtedly sparked the release of this deluxe Blu-ray/DVD presentation. Despite the best efforts of an impressive array of behind-the-scenes talent, from director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) and writers Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby (Alien) to special effects designer John Dykstra (Star Wars), Lifeforce never quite blossoms into the phantasmagoric spectacle its producers--Cannon Films' infamous Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus--envisioned when they optioned Colin Wilson's The Space Vampires in their mid-'80s bid for respectability. Instead, it's a curious blend of pulp outer space adventure, with American astronaut Steve Railsback discovering a trio of aliens, including the comely Mathilda May, in a ship attached to Halley's comet, and apocalypse horror, with the aliens laying waste to London by draining its occupants of their vital energies. Hooper delivers some impressive set pieces in the picture's opening and final, manic third, as Railsback and SAS colonel Peter Firth attempt to track down May's hiding place as London collapses into anarchy, but often falters in his attempt to keep the high-minded, blockbuster-focused concept on track in the face of exceptionally purple dialogue and wildly varying performances (especially Railsback, who seems very uncomfortable throughout the film, and Frank Finlay as a babble-spouting professor). The decision to depict May in the nude throughout the film, while an obvious audience draw and one of the key reasons for the film's lasting appeal, also hampers the tone, pushing it towards drive-in territory when it clearly hoped to cleave towards the Star Wars/Star Trek ticket. The result is a genuinely offbeat film (a label that can be applied to nearly all of Hooper's CV), neither camp nor underrated classic, though it's never a dull ride, thanks to its bristling energy and the (literally) eye-popping special effects.
Audiences and critics dismissed Lifeforce upon its release in 1985, but years of (heavily edited) TV broadcasts and home video have provided it with a fan base that should be pleased with Scream Factory's typically impressive Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Its chief appeal is the inclusion of both the 101-minute domestic cut by Tri-Star pictures, and the 116-minute international theatrical edit, which features more graphic material than the American version as well as composer Henry Mancini's complete score (which was replaced in part with cues by Michael Kamen). Two commentary tracks are also included: the first features Hooper with filmmaker Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs), whose enthusiasm occasionally overshadows the director's understated but informative contributions, while the second pairs special makeup effects supervisor Nick Maley (Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) with DVD producer Michael Felsher. Hooper, Railsback, and May are all showcased in short interview featurettes in which they discuss their experiences on the film, as well as the effect that Lifeforce had on their subsequent careers, while an electronic press kit created to promote the theatrical release offers vintage interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Two theatrical trailers, a TV spot, and an HD gallery of production stills round out the two-disc set. --Paul Gaita
All New Retrospective With Cast And Crew Including Actor Steve Railsback, Director Tobe Hooper and more
Vintage 'Making Of Lifeforce' Featurette
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If the bluray/dvd is produced by "Shout Factory" then you get:
Audio Commentary with Director Tobe Hooper
Audio Commentary with Makeup Effects artist Nick Maley
New interviews with Mathilda May, Steve Railsback and Director Tobe Hooper
DISCS 2 - bluray/dvd
RUN-TIME 116 min
ASPECT RATIO 2.35:1
PRODUCTION DATE 1985
The special effects still stand up to CGI films made today. It was made by experts in their field. The acting and actors are A film quality. The "Making of..." extra tells how film was made and how it came to fruition which is posted on youtube. Looking forward to seeing other commentaries and Maltilda May's interview. It's too bad the studio butchered the release shown in the US by cutting 20 minutes and then deleting the opening film score to post text in place of the scenes that were cut.
The bluray and DVD appear to have same extras. This is one of the best scifi flicks. And the price is very reasonable.
When the 3 human bodies come to life all heck breaks loose. It seems this alien race can drain the lifeforce from other creatures creating. In doing so, however, the victim becomes a similar vampire-like creature. Colonel Colin Caine (Peter Firth) becomes involved in an effort to try and stop the naked woman (Mathilda May)that stalks innocents draining them of their lives. Carlsen, Caine and Dr. Hans Fallada (the hammy Frank Finlay who clearly recognized this would become a fun cult classic) become the last hope to stop all of London from becoming soul vampires.
Well directed by Hooper, "Lifeforce" is larger than life and writ twice as large as that. It's a bit of a cult classic with it's histronic tone. Railsback, Firth, Finlay, May and Patrick Stewart are perfect choices for the film. They all ham it up quite a bit adding to the cult allure of "Lifeforce". The visuals by John Dykstra ("Star Wars", "Spider-Man", "Spider-Man 2", "Battlestar Galactica")are pretty good considering the budget and time constraints in shooting the film. Dan O'Bannon ("Alien", "Total Recall", "Return of the Living Dead")and Dan Jacoby ("The Philadelphia Experiment", "Blue Thunder" and "John Carpenter's Vampires")both scripted the film and took Wilson's basic premise constructing an unusual screenplay to say the least
Shout! Factory has reissued this cult classic in a terrific deluxe packed edition. The Blu-ray features both the original U.S. theatrical release as well as the longer, extended edition that appeared in Europe.
The film has never looked better with a very nice, sharp (surprisingly given the many visual effects in the film)transfer. The audio sounds quite nice as well with lossless DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of the film.
This is a region A Blu-ray and the DVD is in NTSC. The cover is reversable with new artwork for this edition and the original theatrical artwork on the flipside of the cover.
The special features just add to the quality of this release.
We get a new interview with actor Steve Railsback entitled "Carlson's Curse" discussing the challenge of the making the film and how he ended up with the lead role (he also mentions "The Tonight Show" interview where Patrick Stewart --who has a bit part--was asked what his first screen kiss was and he, stated without missing a beat, "Steve Railsback".The interview lasts around six minutes.
Tobe Hooper appears in a a new interview (outside of his audio commentary track)entitled "Space Vampires in London". Hooper discusses the genesis of the project and the advantage of working with the Cannon Group (he mentions, for example, that if you agreed to do a project it would move quickly to production). He also discusses Dan O'Bannon's involvement in the script. Hooper also shares an amusing story about Mathilda May's involvement in the film and how difficult it was to get an actress to appear nude in the film.
Actress Mathilda May (who appears nude throughout the movie)appears in a new interview called "Dangerous Beauty" discussing her work on the film. May was a ballet dancer prior to taking on the role in "Life Force" and used her training as a dancer to give her performance an eerie, otherworldly quality. May looks amazing for her age in the new interviews. She points out that today she wouldn't do the nude role but is still proud of her work in the film. She also learned her lines phoentically since she didn't speak English at the time.
We also get the previously mentioned commentary track by Hooper, original vintage featurette, theatrical trailers, TV spots and still gallery that round out the special features. We also get a DVD that includes the International, longer cut of the film.
"Life Force" ranges from camp to horror. The film is certainly an acquired taste but for those who enjoy it, this is the ultimate edition of the film.
The main attraction for guys is actress/model May who parades around nude for the length of the feature sucking the life out of everyone around. Hooper's direction sets an almost operatic tone to the proceedings complimenting Railsback's crazed performance.
Original MGM DVD:
The DVD sports a nice widescreen transfer but lacks significant extras. There's no commentary track or featurettes although that isn't a surprise given how poorly this was received both by audiences and critics. The original trailer and an eight page booklet with trivia about the film are included. Why would anyone expect anything conventional from the director of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the co-screenwriter of "Dark Star" and "Alien"? It's not to everyone's taste but it is a guilty pleasure of mine. If you enjoyed the over-the-top style of "Excalibur" you may enjoy "Lifeforce" although, admittedly, there's nothing else quite like this movie.
Shout's official statement at the time of this decision to pull the Collector's Edition stated:
•The vintage "Making of Lifeforce" featurette will no longer be available.
•Artwork is slightly different: The original theatrical artwork is now front-facing, and the Justin Osbourn-created piece will be on the reverse wrap.
•The "Collector's Edition" branding will be removed.
•Slipcover will not be offered.
•The new version will be priced less than the collector's edition.
According to Scream Factory, the change-of-plans is unique only to this release, and there will be no future reissues of Collector Editions on a regular basis.
Aug 26, 2017 = Director Tobe Hopper passed away. RIP!
Most recent customer reviews
Probably not for everyone. Big budget, very pyrotechnic, over the top scifi. Some great actors.Read more
Movie way ahead of its time. Prequel to lots of other SC FI movies and ideas.Read more