When a space shuttle crew finds a mysterious spacecraft containing three human-looking creatures in a state of suspended animation, they bring them back to Earth for further investigation. It’s only then that scientists discover that they are in fact a race of space vampires that feed off people’s life-force rather than their blood. So when they escape and run amok in London, the consequences are apocalyptic – and the shuttle crew’s only survivor (Steve Railsback) seems to be the only man who can stop them.
Based on Colin Wilson’s novel The Space Vampires, co-written by Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Return of the Living Dead) and directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist), this lively sci-fi horror romp has a stellar cast including Peter Firth, Frank Finlay and a pre Star Trek Patrick Stewart – although it’s Mathilda May’s appearance as a female alien that attracts most attention even to this day.
I first saw Lifeforce when it aired on television in the late 80s and for the time, It was a strange viewing experience as I recall and it was a few years later when I revisited the film that I fully learned to appreciate its strangeness and learned to love the film. When I first saw the film I was stunned that its main villain (brilliantly played by French actor Mathilda May) was pretty much fully naked all the way through the film. For a film in the 80s (and even now I guess) that was an unusual wardrobe choice and of course distracted a little from the plot at the time.
But rewatching the film now in a stunning 4K restoration by Arrow and watching the film as a grown up. I watched the film for the plot and the performances and it is indeed a sci fi cult film and is definitely worth checking out I also opted to start with the International Version of the film which runs for around 15 minutes longer than the Theatrical Cut and whilst at the moment I havent yet checked out the shorter Theatrical Cut of the film, I can say that on the International Version, there is no way to tell by quality what scenes were reinstated for this edition. After viewing the film, I headed for the special features and started off with the 70 minute Making of which speaks with a lot of the key figures that helped put the film together, from special effects technicians, to wardrobe, make up, and many more Cannon Fodder, is a great insight into the making of a film that I didnt know too much about when it comes to behind the scenes of Lifeforce.
Check out the rest of these social features on the two disc set.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of both the Theatrical and International Versions, both from new 4K restorations
Optional uncompressed 2.0 Stereo PCM and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround Sound
Isolated Music and Effects Soundtrack
Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary with Tobe Hooper, moderated by filmmaker Tim Sullivan
Audio commentary with Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Douglas Smith, moderated by filmmaker and scholar Howard S. Berger
Audio commentary with make-up effects artist Nick Maley, moderated by filmmaker Michael Felsher
Cannon Fodder: The Making of Lifeforce – A wonderful 70 minute UK-exclusive look at the genesis, production and release of Lifeforce featuring interviews with Hooper, producer Michael J. Kagan, editor John Grover, actors Aubrey Morris and Nicholas Ball, makeup artist Sandra Exelby, screenwriter Michael Armstrong, sound designer Vernon Messenger, artistic designers Tom Adams and Douglas Smith and effects artist John Schoonraad.
Space Vampires in London: An interview with Tobe Hooper
Dangerous Beauty: An interview with Mathilda May, Lifeforce’s iconic star
Carlsen’s Curse: Star Steve Railsback looks back on Lifeforce and his career
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
Lifeforce is available now on 2 disc blu ray from Arrow Video here