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Lifeforce (Collector's Edition) [Blu-Ray/DVD Combo]

4.0 out of 5 stars 315 customer reviews

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(Jun 18, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features

Audio Commentary With Director Tobe Hooper

All New Retrospective With Cast And Crew Including Actor Steve Railsback, Director Tobe Hooper and more

Vintage 'Making Of Lifeforce' Featurette

Theatrical Trailers

TV Spot

Still Gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
  • Directors: Tobe Hooper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,496 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 23, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie has a very original twist on the old standard vampire tale, with the horror Cult King director - Tobe Hooper at the helm. It is taut pace movie scripted by Dan O'Bannon (Blue Thunder) from a Colin Wilson (Max Headroom) book. The casts is a powerhouse, Frank Finlay as Dr. Hanns Fallada, Peter Firth Brit Colonel Colin Caine, the always bizarrely brilliant Steve Railsback, Mathilda May as the female Space Vampire (not many lines but she does make an "impression"), Patrick Stewart (pre Jean Luc) as Dr. Armstrong, John Hallam (The Mummy) as Lamson and Chris Jagger as a guard (Yeppers, that is the brother of Mick!). Add in some nifty Special Effects for the vampire victims and you have one really great time!
The vampire tale is rather worn, but they manage to give a fresh take on it. Instead of fangs and sucking neck, they suck the "lifeforce" from humans, leaving the body robbed of everything and looking like a "tube of toothpaste all squished out". Worse, in short order we see that it spreads like a plague with the rapidness of dominoes.
The movie opens with the return of the multi-national spaceshuttle The Church to earth. It's overdue and they anticipate something is wrong. When the board it, they find the spaceship had been set to flame, the crew supposedly all dead, and three perfect bodies in glass coffins. They haul them back, quarantine them, but they don't stay that way for long. They soon find out they are space vampires and are now a loose on earth. Enter Railsback as the US army Colonel, the only survivor from the Churchill who escaped in a pod. He tells how they found a strange spaceship hidden in Hailey's Comet. When they boarded the found the glass coffins and lots of weird dead bats-type things.
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Format: DVD
Though director Tobe Hoooper has had more downs than ups in his career, his film Lifeforce comes out being one of his best, following only Texas Chainsaw Massacre adn Poltergeist. Though initially a box-office failure, I found Lifeforce to be a refreshing story in the otherwise repetitive Science Fiction genre. That's whats sad about the genre; when filmmakers come out with somehting new and different, it flops, but if it's another ALien rip-off, box-office hit. This "vampire" story takes a new turn on the vampire myth, with aliens arriving on Earth that drain people of "lifeforce," the essence of life. I found most of the performances to be great, espiceally Peter Firth as British Agaent Kane. He makes this film totally believable. Steve Railsback is actually the weakest in the cast, but I have to hand it to him, he had a difficult role to play and he did a credible job at it. The effects are also very good for the time and the filmmakers use their fairly high budget to their addvantage. The one thing I hate about this film is that all people seem to recognize is the nudity. They forget about the story and focus on Mathilda May's body (though she I will say she does have a great body). This film goes far beyond the nudity. It drives me nuts when I ask someone if they've seen Lifeforce and they respond "is that the film with that hot naked chick?" So look beyond the nudity and find and marvel at the very creative story aided by the mesmerizing score by Henry Mancini and the London Symphony Orchestra. I found the film very good all the way through . Some seem to think the film fizzles out towards the end when London is in anarchy with zombies running around but I myself found it very exciting and the zombie scenes rivel those of even George Romero.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
1985's Lifeforce by Tobe Hooper was critically panned and didn't make a dent in that year's box-office. But the strangest thing happened in the two decades since its initial release. The film has taken on a cult-status amongst fans of science-fiction and horror films. Hooper's film melds together so many different genre conventions that it's hard to think of Lifeforce as just a horror movie or just a sci-fi film. The film is both of those fantasy genres and the end result is a darkly campy new take on the vampire story.

The premise for Lifeforce starts off heavy on the science-fiction. 1985-86 was called the Year of the Comet since Halley's Comet was making its visit after a 76 year absence. As with most events that take on cultural significance the film studios were quick to capitalize on the event by making many low-budget and even slapdash quality sci-fi and horror films about it. Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce was one of the better ones. Hooper was still on a relative high from his success on Poltergeist. Mostly know for his low-budget and exploitation classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hooper was given a much larger budget to direct a film about space vampires discovered in a gigantic alien ship hidden in the tail of Halley's Comet. The discovery of this alien spacecraft and its sleeping inhabitants is where the sci-fi part of the film shows. The special effects were well-done for that time. The horror part of the film gradually comes to the forefront as the sleeping inhabitants of the ship gets transferred over to the International Space Shuttle sent to investigate the comet. Crewmembers soon begin to die inexplicably until only one remains and escapes by way of the shuttles escape pod.
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