“In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.”
Today marks the UK release of the deluxe Blu-ray and Limited Edition SteelBook version of Tobe Hooper’s cult sci-fi classic, Lifeforce. Originally released in 1986, the film is an adaptation of Colin Wilson’s novel The Space Vampires and features the familiar faces of Peter Firth (Spooks) and sci-fi legend Patrick Stewart (pre Trekkie days of course) – making it a wonderfully British affair against the backdrop of space and London.
Following the success of Hooper’s horror hits The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist, Lifeforce centres on the events that unfurl after a space shuttle crew happen upon a mysterious spacecraft holding three humanoid creatures in suspended animation. After taking the creatures back to earth, it doesn’t take long for scientists to discover that these humanoids are in fact a race of highly dangerous space vampires who, instead of feeding off blood (because that would be too cliché!), feed off people’s life-force. From there it’s a race against time to vanquish the life-sucking vampires as they escape into London and turn the city into an apocalyptic nightmare.
With a devoted cult following, Lifeforce is a sci-fi horror that slots in with the old classics. Sure, it has that trippy 80’s feel to it, all over-the-top sci-fi clichés and archetypal ambient music (produced brilliantly by the London Symphony Orchestra), but it’s a whole lot of fun to watch and the masterful restoration helps to bring it up to date. The quality of the film on Blu-ray is excellent and, whilst it’s not as outwardly frightening as modern day horrors, the special effects are credible considering the film was made almost 30 years ago. A scene in which Patrick Stewart violently spews his entire blood mass into the shape of an alien woman is really quite gruesome.
Packed with a host of deluxe features including an exclusive look at the making of Lifeforce, interviews with cast & crew and a collector’s booklet with original archive stills, the Limited Edition SteelBook is definitely worth a buy for cult enthusiasts.
Not as good as Hooper’s previous film, Poltergeist, but watch it for what it is, a melodramatic 80’s sci-fi horror, and you won’t be disappointed.