Made by Tobe Hooper director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as part of his three film deal with Cannon Films (the other two were Invaders from Mars and Chainsaw 2) Lifeforce is an adaption of the novel ‘Space Vampires’ by Colin Wilson.

Whilst on a mission to study Halley’s Comet a joint UK/USA space team stumble upon in the tail of the comet, sleeping humanoids and dead bat like creatures.  Taking the humanoids on board, the ship crashes to Earth with only one survivor and the humanoids intact.  Taken to a research facility in London, one of the humanoids escapes and starts to suck the very ‘lifeforce’ out of any unsuspecting humans. It’s up to the survivor of the crash and an SAS Colonel to save the day and the planet.

Lifeforce has a very troubled history as it was initially panned by critics and ignored by cinema goers.  However, over the years it has become a somewhat guilty pleasure and a bit of a camp classic in part to the over the top acting especially from Frank Finlay as a ‘Death’ expert and the first class effects from John Dykstra.  The original version which saw release from Cannon themselves was almost 2 hours, but when Tri-Star in the US picked it up they hacked out about 20 minutes or so, did a brand new title sequence and messed around with Henry Mancini’s score with some extra bits ‘n’ bobs from Michael Kamen.  It was the US version which was released by Guild Home Video in the UK and when the DVD release cropped up from MGM we had the original version but not in anamorphic widescreen.  MGM HD (bless them) have since broadcast it in full 16:9 widescreen and what a nice presentation it was too.

Lifeforce is first class entertainment for lovers of camp silly bonkers entertainment.  It may not have been appreciated at the time but give it a chance I simply love it and can’t wait for the new sexy blu-ray release coming soon from Shout Factory.

  • Starring Steve Railsback  Frank Finlay  Colin Firth  Patrick Stewart
  • Director Tobe Hooper
  • Distributor MGM UK/US (Original Version)  MGM Germany (US Version)