Life Force


Viewed – 18 October 2013  Blu-ray

International Version

I have fond, if cloudy memories of this 1985 science fiction horror.  I’ll admit straight up that as a hormonal boy, the site of French actress Mathilda May walking around naked certainly stayed with me.  But thankfully with more mature eyes, I can appreciate this hoky but fun movie on more than purely teenage fantasy levels.

A group of Astronauts investigating the arrival of Haley’s Comet over Earth, discover a space craft hidden within the tail.  On-board they stumble upon three pods containing three human-like bodies … two males and a female, and subsequently decide to take the bodies back to their own space shuttle.  Cut to London thirty days later and the bodies have been recovered from  the shuttle following an unexplained fire, and before long there’s a beautiful, naked female wrecking havoc and sucking the Life Force out of anyone she meets.

lifeforce6

Directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) this is an energetic crowd-pleaser of a movie, with that 80s lack of restraint and bags of personality.  Effects work is decent with some quite cool make up effects and production values throughout are impressive.  Acting honours, it’s a mixed back with a stand-out Steve Rallsback as a disturbed Astronaut and even Patrick Stewart turns up not looking a great deal different than he does now (?). It has an alarming tendency to jump around from quiet talking scenes to all out chaos, surreal dream-sequences and horror – but makes for an experience that is never dull.  Performances are basically adequate, sometimes over-acted but stylistically this looks great and with a thunderous score by Henry Mancini it’s very hard not to get caught up in the sheer enthusiasm of it all.

Yes its a bit silly in places, the story is nonsense, but honesty in this particular movie – it doesn’t matter.

The Blu-ray from Arrow Video is impressive.  Two cuts of the movie, the slightly trimmed ‘Theatrical Version’ and the director-preferred ‘International Version’, two commentaries, an engrossing documentary called ‘cannon fodder’, interviews, trailers, and a collectable booklet.  The movie itself is in great shape.  A very clear, often sharp HD transfer and a decent 5.1 DTS Master Audio soundtrack (or uncompressed 2.0 stereo) both impress.  This is a surprising but welcome treatment for one of the more obscure movies of the 80s, but as a fan I couldn’t be happier.

Verdict:

(the movie):  4 /5

(the Blu-ray):  5 /5

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