Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lifeforce (1985)

Pretty badass, if nichey Sci-Fi click about an alien vampiress/zombie/plague carrier, and her unfortunate relationship with her enslaved human mate as he tries to hunt her down. The cast is mostly unknowns, with only the lead, The Stunt Man's Steven Railsback and Patrick Stewart having any familiarity with me. The performances are servicable, with particular mention going to Peter Firth's stalwart soldier, Caine. Tobe Hooper, director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre I and II, has a filthy fucking blast mixing genres in a way that makes the central threat become, ostensibly, having your soul sucked out through your mouth by a gorgeous, naked brunette. The plot, as it unravels, has lots of fun providing you with a lot of familiar or archetypal scenes, often with a different outcome or intention than one you were expecting. In this sense the film does not achieve much; there is not nearly enough original about it to be a true work of art, but what it does, it does well. The scares are intense, the effects are reminiscent of, but superior to those of Hooper's Poltergeist, and the plot is just convoluted enough to be simultaneously self-awarely goofy and provocative; there are many parallels provided in the slave and the demonesses relationship, and their passionate pseudo-sex scene, along with Railsback's intensity throughout, make this dynamic more unique than the traditional vampire-victim relationship.

Recommended for fans of Hooper, sci-fi/horror, or '80s movies with names like LIFEFORCE. The mere fact that the blue, luminescent "lifeforce" of a human is the prize of contention here makes this at least somewhat worthwhile, right? Actually, when you put it like that...I guess you need the stomach for it. But if you do, and this pops up on cable, peep it for a bit, see how it sticks.

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