“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.IMDb
- Director: Tobe Hooper
- Writers: Dan O’Bannon & Don Jakoby (screenplay); Colin Wilson (from 1976 novel The Space Vampires)
- Music: Henry Mancini
- Cinematography: Alan Hume (director of photography)
- Production Design: John Graysmark
- Makeup Department: Nick Maley (makeup effects & prosthetics supervisor)
- Visual Effects: John Dykstra (special visual effects)
- Selected Cast:
- Steve Railsback as Col. Tom Carlsen
- Peter Firth as Col. Colin Caine
- Frank Finlay as Dr. Hans Fallada
- Mathilda May as Space Girl
- Patrick Stewart as Dr. Armstrong
- Michael Gothard as Dr. Leonard Bukovsky
- Nicholas Ball as Roger Derebridge
- Aubrey Morris as Sir Percy Heseltine
- Nancy Paul as Ellen
- John Hallam as Lamson
- John Keegan as Guard
- Chris Jagger as First Vampire
- Bill Malin as Second Vampire
- Jerome Willis as Pathologist
- Derek Benfield as Physician
- John Woodnutt as Metallurgist
- John Forbes-Robertson as The Minister
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:
- Eaten Alive (1976) – Episode 136 – Decades Of Horror 1970s
- Salem’s Lot (1979) — Episode 69 — Decades Of Horror 1970s
- The Funhouse (1981) — Episode 90 — Decades Of Horror 1980s
- Poltergeist (1982) – Episode 106 – Decades Of Horror 1980s
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre II (1986) — Episode 81 — Decades Of Horror 1980s
- Quatermass And The Pit (1967) – Episode 93 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era
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.
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