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Lifeforce (1985) October 13th, 2020

Happy anniversary to this blog! It’s been a whole miserable year since I started this escapist vanity project. To think one year ago I had the wholly original and completely unique idea to start writing a blog about the movies I was consuming in quarantine. And the rest was history, there was no holding back the success, accolades, or readers… because they didn’t exist! Zing. I hope your year’s been good, but smart money says it’s been a lot like mine. A lonely drudgery with little forward progress after overcoming life-altering setbacks. A better segue into my blog I cannot imagine so let’s get on with the one year anniversary review of a movie I watched 5 months ago.

Lifeforce should’ve been titled Space Vampires because that’s what it’s about… and it’s the title of the original novel. Sometimes it’s just best to go with your first title. I’m looking at you Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Directed by Tobe Hooper, Lifeforce indulges the director’s penchant for body horror and skill with creature effects.

Somewhere in deep space, a human space exploration team discovers a derelict craft. Inside the ship, large frozen bat-like creatures float around big empty rooms with walls that look like the inside of a colon. The astronauts (Look, I don’t think they’re astronauts, the protagonist is British and most of the movie takes place in London. I simply don’t recall what the space explorers are called in the movie, so let’s just call them astronauts.) find three transparent crystal coffins containing three naked humans in a prominent position in the center of a large chamber. The coffins are retrieved and taken back to earth on the human’s space ship.

Once on earth the naked lady alien begins extracting the life-force from anyone she touches and escapes the examination rooms where the earth scientists were examining her. The rest of the film is a chase to capture and exterminate her as she walks around London nude while killing or mind controlling people.

Did I enjoy the naked-lady space-vampire movie with an onscreen kiss between Steve Railsback and Patrick Stewart? Yeah, yeah I did. Lifeforce isn’t a great movie, but it is great. Think of it this way, mix the bug hunt aspects of Aliens with the weird alien eroticism of Species and all the special effects magic of Ghostbusters and you’ve got Lifeforce. Where can you go wrong?

Honestly the plot is insignificant next to the special effects. They’re certainly a product of their time but I love that stuff. Matte paintings, puppet creature effects, Mathilda May naked and covered in fake blood, that lightning effect movies in the 80’s couldn’t use enough… it’s got them all! It’s a morsel of plot in a delicious visual effects smorgasbord. And really, does anyone need more reason to watch Lifeforce?

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