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LIFEFORCE (1985) – Episode 206 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“I mean, in a sense, we’re all vampires.” Everyone is draining the life out of everyone else in one way or another? Hmmm, that’s a dark take, but a fair point. Join your faithful Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, Crystal Cleveland, and Jeff Mohr  – as they drain everything possible from Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985).

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 206 – Lifeforce (1985)

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A race of space vampires arrives in London and infects the populace, beginning an apocalyptic descent into chaos.


Lifeforce is the first of three films Tobe Hooper made with Cannon, followed by Invaders From Mars (1986) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). As Bill’s pick, it’s a film he frequently revisits trying to understand the choices made during its making. He’s always liked the film, even while feeling a bit baffled. Chad first read about Lifeforce in Fangoria. He loved how crazy and wild it was when he first saw it and he still does. Chad’s never quite sure what he thinks of Steve Railsback’s performance because to him, he’ll always be the Charles Manson he portrayed in Helter Skelter (1976). The excellent practical and visual effects are what pull Jeff into this movie. 

All three of this episode’s Grue-Crew compare Lifeforce to the feel of Hammer’s Quatermass and the Pit (1967) and indeed, may have been a better picture if Hooper had gone full-Quatermass. And of course, they all agree that Mathilda May is phenomenal at portraying the female vampire with style and grace while spending nearly the entire film unabashedly nude.

For other Decades of Horror discussions of Tobe Hooper films (and Quatermass and the Pit to boot), checkout the following episodes:

If you so desire, at the time of this writing, you can stream Lifeforce from Tubi and PlutoTV with ads, or from various PPV streaming services. If physical media is what trips your trigger, Lifeforce (Collector’s Edition) (4K UHD) is scheduled for release May 24, 2022 from Scream Factory. And let’s face it, it’s always time to revisit Tobe Hooper’s films.

Every two weeks, Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1980s podcast will cover another horror film from the 1980s. The next episode’s film, chosen by Crystal will be Vamp (1986), featuring a speechless Grace Jones. 

Please let them know how they’re doing! They want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave them a message or leave a comment on the gruesome Magazine Youtube channel, on the website or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.