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From the director of Poltergeist and co-writer of Alien comes a thrilling sci-fi adventure of explosive action and pulse-pounding suspense. With mind-blowing special effects by OscarÂ(r) winner* John Dykstra, Lifeforce is a sci-fi extravaganza that delivers out-of-this-world excitement. A mission to investigate Halley's Comet discovers an even more fascinating phenomenon: an alien spacecraft! After a deadly confrontation, the aliens travel to Earth, where their seductive leader (Mathilda May) 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.And when the mission's sole survivor (Steve Railsback) sets out to destroy her, he comes face to face with the most charmingand horrifyingbeing he's ever known. Will he be able to destroy the lovely vampiress...or will he become yet another victim of her fatal charm? *1977: Visual Effects, Star Wars
Director Tobe Hooper was a hot property after he scored apopular hit with Poltergeist (thanks in part to producer Steven Spielberg), so his follow-up film was the most wildly ambitious of his career to date. Armed with a big budget and a special effects crew led by Star Wars pioneer John Dykstra, Hooper and Alien cowriter Dan O'Bannon whipped up a movie that must be seen to be believed. That's not really a compliment, since Lifeforce isn't much of a movie when all the sound and fury is over. But you've got to admit there's something crazily admirable about a movie that starts out as a science fiction adventure about a mission to explore Halley's comet, turns into an alien-invasion thriller featuring a beautiful naked woman (Mathilda May) who's a vampire from space, and escalates into an end-of-the-world disaster flick! It's got everything you could want from a horror movie--from zombies running amok in London to rotting corpses and energy bolts to signal the apocalypse to come! Holding it all together is Steve Railsback as the Halley mission survivor who holds the key to mankind's salvation--but what fun is saving the world when you could be seduced by a sexy naked space vampire? Check out Lifeforce to see how it all turns out. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
- Contains An Additional 15 Minutes Of Footage Not In Theaters
- 8-Page Booklet Featuring Trivia, Production Notes And A Revealing Look At The Making Of The Film
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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.
::This Review is of the Shout Factory/Scream Factory Blu-Ray Version Only::
I remember seeing LIFEFORCE with friends in a New York City movie theatre, and then we spent most of our time hooting at the screen over the gobs of gratuitous-seeming nudity, some laughably unconvincing effects (especially of a then-unknown to the US Patrick Stewart, whose death is meant to be horrifying - but is hilarious thanks to him suddenly turning into a literally-bloody THUNDERBIRDS puppet version of himself!), and Steve Railsback's unhinged performance as the lead. Even so, the story, which connects human energy-draining aliens with our vampire mythology, suggested there might be a better film in there someplace - and here it is on the Blu-Ray, in Tobe Hooper's Director's Cut!
Cut from 128 minutes (Hooper's first assembly, still unavailable) to 116 minutes (the Director's Cut here, shown theatrically in Europe), then hacked by US distributor TriStar to 101 minutes (the US version I saw originally), this version of LIFEFORCE is a much more coherent and suspenseful film, reminiscent of Hammer's brilliant adaptation of Nigel Kneale's QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, only on a bigger budget...and, yes, with much more nudity. It's still a crazy-trashy horror film about Naked Space Vampires kissing/sexing the life right out of British men and women, thus turning them into energy-crazed zombies, but with the Director's Cut the craziness feels more the result of Hooper's fevered talent, and the trashiness has a richness and depth it didn't have before.
This is the movie I'd hoped to see when I plunked down my then-expensive $5 for a first-run movie ticket in New York City, so it's worth every penny of the $16.79 plus tax (free shipping via Amazon Prime) I paid for it. There's also a raft of Special Features, some made at the time of production (this had a blockbuster budget by Canon standards) and some created years later by Shout Factory. I haven't had a chance to dig into them yet so I can't judge how good they are, though other reviewers have praised their depth and breadth.
The US version is available on the DVD disc (and if you buy the DVD only, I gather that's the version you get) - so it's there, if you want to compare the two...
Director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, TCM Part 2, Poltergeist, Funhouse) is a horror master! Many know of Steven Spielberg’s heavy-handed involvement in Poltergeist and thus question Hooper’s contribution as a director. True. Spielberg is awesome and the family-urgency was likely a product of his influence. But have these Poltergeist nay-sayers even seen Lifeforce!?!?! Get ready for an AMAZING experience!
An investigative space mission is graced with the discovery of the millennium! The astronauts unexpectedly encounter a 150-mile-long space vessel during an exploratory mission of Hailey’s Comet. The influence of H. R. Giger is undeniable as the vessel’s interior has an organic motif, as if the explorers were entering the anatomy (even the womb) of a leviathan being—much as in Poltergeist (1982; late in the film) or Alien/Aliens (1979, 1986). The spaceship’s inhabitants are all deceased, and they resemble bat people. You may be thinking “Are we really only 6 minutes into the running time?” The answer is YES. This film has a LOT to offer and it wastes none of your time!
While most of the bat-like inhabitants are long dead, the explorers find three preserved, naked, uncannily human lifeforms in stasis chambers—two men, and a woman. Then…something mysterious happens and the mission returns home with zero contact for thirty days. So what happened on that ship that returned with no living crew members? It’s not as obvious as you may think.
It’s not until mid-story that Colonel Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback; Alligator II: The Mutation, Barb Wire, Ed Gein), who was on the original exploratory mission, is recovered as the sole mission survivor in an escape pod to inform the military that an alien vessel was encountered...and what happened on that ship. He comes back a changed man, and the only hope of hunting down the escaped female who is now wandering the streets of London and draining its inhabitants.
Our interstellar succubus (Mathilda May; The Jackal) is beyond stunning, supernaturally manipulative, and clearly is on some sort of life-draining mission of her own. Her abilities infect our sexual weaknesses as well as our subconscious desires. So much so that a grown man might feel compelled to kiss Patrick Stewart (Green Room, Dune).
For 1985 the special effects are fantastic!!! Utilizing Star Wars-like rotoscoping for space scenes and Ghostbusters-style ectoplasm for supernatural life-sucking effects, you almost forget this film is over 30 years old. The life-drained bodies are desiccated husks and the zombie-esque animatronics of their movement is impressive.
Not only are the effects genuinely fantastic, but the concepts are as well. Classical vampire notions like the charming gaze, life-draining, telepathic links, and shapeshifting are clearly present, although cleverly modified. When the astronauts first enter the alien spaceship, it feels “strangely familiar” and when Tom sees the preserved female (Mathilda May) he seems to be entranced. And one can’t argue here, Mathilda May has entrancing boobs and a serious enthusiasm for kissing. Most men would be powerless.
The first 20 minutes of this film are more substantial than most entire horror films. I know…you’re thinking “really, John, but all the nudity.” But you’d be wrong. This film remains something special even if there was not a nipple to be seen.
Most interesting to me is how this 1985 movie, in the early HIV/AIDS era, captured the raw pansexuality of the vampire. Much as Anne Rice’s Lestat, even a withered male husk can allure another man to his charm. Although the “kiss” is admittedly more distant when male-to-male than when Mathilda tongue-wrangles her drained prey, infectious male-male kissing (or, at least, its implication) is quite frequent. It seems that Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound (1988) were influenced by the exquisite life-draining effects, which set the bar high.
The final segment erupts into an epidemic owing much to Dawn of the Dead (1978), with London immersed in a contagious essence-feeding maelstrom. The effects are consistently high quality and the bat monster is awesome, but the gore doesn’t properly kick in until this third act.
Is this movie a work of film art? No. Is it an amazing horror film? YES! Does it have its fair share of heavy exposition? Sure. Do I care? Not at all! They deliver it well and in plausible context.
This excellent horror film has my 100% backing. I may have fallen in love with it as a teenager (understandably for the boobs, at that age), but now I would love it if there were not a single nipple to boast. This film is smart, oddly elaborate without getting carried away with itself, and 96% serious in its delivery. Unusual in many respects, and noteworthy in more, this is not the film to miss.