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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lifeforce (1985)

Lifeforce is a forgotten gem of the 1980's that is WAY underrated by critics.  At the very least it's the best vampire zombies from space film you'll ever see!  The story begins with a space shuttle that's exploring Halley's comet and discovers a strange spaceship hidden in its path.  As they explore the ship they discover three humans in suspended animation which they bring back to earth with them.  Needless to say, it's a BIG mistake.

Dan O'Bannon [Alien, Aliens, Total Recall] wrote an intelligent script that is delivered by a cast of fine actors.  Mathilda May is mesmerizing as "space girl."  Bless her heart, she spends most of the movie naked as a jaybird.  Yet, in spite of this, her nudity never feels gratuitous.  She is beautiful, powerful and deadly!  I also liked Steve Railsback [Ed Gein, Disturbing Behavior] who plays the captain of the ship.  Some reviews I've read are really unkind to him but I think he fills the role nicely and is a good mate for space girl.  Patrick Stewart [X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation]  also has a cameo role that is up to his excellent reputation as an actor.  It made me wish he had a bigger role.

Another thing Lifeforce has going for it is the masterful direction of the one and only Tobe Hooper [Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist].  He shows remarkable restraint with this film but imbues it with a sense of terror nonetheless.  All the scenes where space girl is sucking the life out of someone work very well because of his direction and ability to compose a scene for maximum emotional impact.

I also thought the special effects were very good.  The zombies were completely awesome and unique looking.  These aren't Romero zombies but something that can only be described as freeze-dried living dead.  Love it!  The final icing on the cake was an excellent score by legendary composer Henry Mancini.  Rarely do horror films get this beautiful of a score.  It's a total home run for me.

So, critics be damned.  Lifeforce should be on everyone's must-see list.  It's unfortunate that this film doesn't get the attention it deserved.  I'm trying my best to rectify that situation.  

RATING: Excellent.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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