{2jtab: Movie Review}

Lifeforce: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review


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3 stars

“Use my body.”

With that enticing command, Tobe Hooper’s science fiction bonanza, Lifeforce, (s)explodes onto the screen with an interesting premise involving Haley’s comet and a smokin’ hot chick who walks around the ENTIRE movie without any clothes on.  That’s not distracting at all.  Make no mistake about it, the entire Species series (how many are there now?) owe their existence to what Hooper did with 1985’s Lifeforce.

Written by Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakoby, Lifeforce involves a research mission in deep space by various members of the HMS Churchill that goes horribly wrong when the British and American crew “rescues” three naked human bodies from deep inside a spacecraft hovering alongside Haley’s Comet.  Of course, the beings are nowhere near being human.  They are, in fact, aliens who are masters at “sucking” the life out of humans.   And, due to human involvement, the three beings make their way to earth.

Lifeforce, based on the 1976 novel “The Space Vampires” by Colin Wilson, stars Steve Railsback as Mission commander Colonel Tom Carlsen and features a solid performance from Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, and a strange extemded cameo from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Patrick Stewart.  The film doesn’t succumb to its schlocky science fictiony trappings too often.  It also doesn’t completely drain the viewer of any enjoyment while it dangles little nuggets of science fact aboard the Churchill.

The script isn’t a one note affair either.  Oh sure, there are forays into vampire-like erotica that it just should never have traveled down but, for the most part, the cheesiness is relatively short and, in large part, avoided.  It also helps to have smart special effects – that still work today – produced by Academy Award winner John Dykstra.

Thanks to its creative writers, Lifeforce plays out as a mystery for a large part of its running time as the audience is guided through what happened on board the spacecraft AFTER the hot naked alien is running amuck on the planet.  The rest then is the science and the fiction part of Hooper’s film.   With a good amount of practical effects and smart camera work from cinematographer Alan Hume (Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi), Lifeforce extends far beyond its budget limitations to be the cult film that it currently is today.

Scream Factory provides fans of the film and people who have never seen this forgotten gem a chance to see what Hooper and his crew originally intended with a look at a remastered international cut of the film.  It’s sexier and more disturbing and, let’s face it, filled with more asparagus-shaped spaceships, vampires, lasers, and murders than ever before.  The US version focused more on sex and space boobies.  The UK version focuses on plot and character development.  It is, in fact, the recommended version of Lifeforce to watch.

For American audiences, this is Blu-Ray release is a real treat…albeit a royally weird one.  For everyone else, the HD gloss adds more enjoyment to this sick and twisted space fantasy.  The filmmakers are unabashedly proud of what they’ve done in this genre-busting matinee flick and they should be.  While never a hit with critics, the creativity of the team continues to show as other films like the aforementioned Species and 28 Days Later and The Hidden continue to suck (and copy) the energy right out of the twisted tale that is Lifeforce.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Lifeforce: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
101 mins.
: Tobe Hooper
: Dan O'Bannon
Cast: Steve Railsback; Peter Firth; Frank Finlay; Mathilda May; Patrick Stewart
: Sci-fi | thriller | horror
The Cinematic Sci-Fi event of the Eighties
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'd say she's perfect. I've been in space for six months and she looks perfect to me."
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 21, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 18, 2013

Synopsis: A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Lifeforce: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

5 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
4 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition / Blu-ray + DVD

Available on Blu-ray - June 18, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy

This film has aged quite well.  The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode dazzles with a transfer that looks as sharp as a modern-day release.  While natural grain is thinly-layered, there is nice warmth to the entire transfer that adds a detailed film-like quality to the film.  The transfer also displays excellent, well-balanced contrast with sharp, crisp whites throughout. Details in clothing and hair are distinct, while London streets and buildings are well-defined.  Black levels are crisp and never bleed their edges.  And the neon?  Perfect.  It’s a gorgeous transfer for a film from the middle of the 1980s.  Once again, Scream Factory! offers fans the choice between a 5.1 remix or a 2.0 stereo option, and as always, the latter DTS-HD MA soundtrack is the better and more preferred listening method.



  • With these release, there are a pair of audio commentaries: one with moderator Tim Sullivan and director Tobe Hooper, and the other with DVD producer Michael Felsher and (now retired) make-up FX genius Nick Maley.

Special Features:

Scream Factory provides both versions of the movie on Blu-ray and DVD.  The difference is night and day.  The UK version has more plot development and the American version focuses more on space boobies.  There is a whole new batch of extras, too. These goodies include new interviews with Tobe Hooper, Steve Railsback, and Mathilda May; an excellent 20-minute "behind-the-scenes" archival featurette, two theatrical trailers, a TV spot, a stills gallery, and a reversible slip-cover that has the old poster art opposite new artwork.

  • Making of Featurette (21 min)
  • Dangerous Beauty (15 min)
  • Space Vampires in London (10 min)
  • Carlsen's Curse (7 min)
  • Trailers
  • Still Gallery

{2jtab: Trailer}