Director: Tobe Hooper
Lifeforce is a surprisingly good piece of sci-fi camp, with so many different genres thrown together it’s hard to decide which one comes out on top. It’s science fiction, it’s horror, it’s vampires, it’s zombies, it’s gothic, it’s modern; it’s a little bit of everything all rolled into one wild time, and I guess that’s what makes it unique enough to have stood the test of time. It’s still a film aficionados reference & adore, and it’s definitely one that I didn’t “get” the first time I watched it, but one that I thoroughly & gladly appreciate now.
A space shuttle called Churchhill, under command of British & American governments, embarks on a mission to investigate Halley’s Comet, where they make a strange discovery; a starship hidden in the tail of the phenomenon. In the ship are alien animal bodies, all dead, except for three nude humans, frozen in time, which the crew of the Churchhill take on board. Somewhere on the journey back to Earth, something goes terribly wrong, because all that reaches home is an empty vessel, but for the three seemingly lifeless bodies. Well, they have a life alright, it’s just biding its time, and when they awake mthe city of London is turned into a war zone, as these monsters from space try to steal our souls from our very bodies, and as the fate the planet teeters on a razor’s edge.
It’s a space movie with a space mission, it’s a vampire flick with deadly, beautiful creatures, it’s a zombie movie with a raging disease, it’s a horror film with tons of terror, it’s a creature feature with physical effects; Lifeforce is a little bit of so much, and that’s probably what makes it so good. It might plod along a bit, the story might be silly, and the human element is suspect, as these actors aren’t incredible (except for a cameo by Patrick Stewart), but the way you feel immersed within this film is a sign of something special, and the way you feel the plot so physically is fairly unique. Naked vampires, desiccated corpses, evil exorcisms; it’s a pretty wild ride, and maybe it would help if you could laugh at the more ridiculous parts when they pop up, but generally Lifeforce is a powerhouse of its genre (whichever genre that is) and a movie to study with interest.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆