RETROVIEW: LIFEFORCE (5 STARS): In an astonishingly realised future London, SAS agent Caine hunts aliens brought to Earth from an alien spaceship found near Halleys Comet. But these aliens are Vampires feasting on the souls of humanity, led by a beautiful vampire queen whose magnificent bosom haunts the erotic nightmares of Carlson, the astronaut that her bought her evil to Earth. But is Carlson human, or a space vampire himself?
This film is perhaps the most under-rated sci-fi movie of all time. It is a masterpiece of dark brooding psycho terror, and a classic work of prediction. Forget 2001, this is how the future will REALLY look. The fx are so terrifyingly realistic that you will feel like you are seeing documentary footage of the end of the world, and Tobe Hooper’s gripping direction keeps you on the edge of your seat with panic. Mathilda May’s awesome space vampire whose naked bosom spells death for humanity has never been equalled. Frank Finlay’s depiction of a homosexual scientific genius on the brink of insanity deserved an Oscar, while Peter Firth’s subtle portrayal of the cool, sophisticated SAS Vampire Hunter steals the show, surely marking him as a future James Bond. We can only watch in numb terror as we realise that the future of the world is a Jean Michel Jarre concert populated by zombie joggers gone mad.
Who can tell if this awful fate awaits mankind in the future? Will this epic vision come true? Only one thing is certain- that when Hallleys Comet returns next century, the public will be s***ting bricks.
Hmm, sorry about that. That was a piece I wrote for a fanzine many years ago, a tongue-in-cheek review of the R1 MGM DVD. Thought I might post it here in celebration of Arrow Films superlative Blu-ray release of Lifeforce here in the UK.
Watching this new Arrow Blu-ray of Lifeforce, I thoroughly enjoyed it, more than I have in ages. Maybe I was in just the right frame of mind. Its such a mad, overblown movie (Its also a hideously bad movie but…) well you know how it is, sometimes some movies are so bad they are actually good? Or maybe I’ve seen so many bad, boring films in the years since that even Lifeforce seems good by comparison. I remember watching it at the old ABC cinema in town on its original release. Although Mathilda May obviously left an impression, the most lingering feeling was that something was very wrong with the movie. The premise was silly to the point of absurd (a UK-based Space program, a space shuttle -bizarrely bigger on the inside than it seemed from the outside- travelling out to Halleys Comet to find an alien ship shaped like a umbrella), the script was shockingly rife with awful dialogue provoking more titters than shudders, and actors hammy performances more fit for the ‘sixties Batman tv-series than a big-scale serious horror movie. I mean, it was a horror movie, right? Or was it a tongue-in-cheek comedy poking fun at the horror genre? Was the whole thing really a genuinely serious attempt at a blockbuster sci-fi horror movie? Or was it a madly over-budgeted Carry On movie? Back then I wasn’t sure, and to this day I’m not sure Tobe Hooper really knew what he was doing. Its mad, its bad, but goodness me its also glorious. Spielberg got away with something just as daft with his 1941, so I say give Tobe Hooper a break- he made a great movie.
Great fun, and this Blu-ray is one of the releases of the year.