Lifeforce (1985)

Article 4577 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-12-2014
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Featuring Steve Railsback, Mathilda May, Peter Firth
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Apocalyptic science fiction/horror

An outer space probe investigating Halley’s Comet brings to Earth several human-looking figures in suspended animation they found aboard a huge ship they discovered in space. However, the figures turn out to vampire-like creatures with a goal of draining the life from the planet.

Part vampire movie, part zombie movie, part science fiction thriller with touches of ALIEN (Dan O’Bannon was one of the screenwriters), and (most interestingly) part Quatermass-style epic, one can’t help but admire at the very least the sheer ambition of the movie. I will say this much; the movie was interesting enough to hold my attention to the end. I’m just not sure I can say I was quite satisfied with it. It’s quite uneven at times, especially during the awkward and clumsy opening ten minutes of the movie. It gets better after that, but it never quite draws me in completely. Part of the problem is that the movie seems to be trying too hard to be big; there’s something about the rousing score, the occasional descents into histrionics, and the special-effects-laden climax that really had me wishing the movie had tried for a quieter form of suspense rather than loud spectacle. Ultimately, as interesting as it was in some ways, I found it hard to feel any real emotion about it at all. As such, I doubt that the movie will have any real lasting impact on me, and I’ll probably see it more as an interesting failure than a success.

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