Lifeforce. Film Review


Director: Tobe Hooper          

Screenplay: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby, Michael Armstrong

Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Mathilda May, Frank Finlay

Certificate: 18

Running Time: 116 mins

Format: Blu-ray         

Reviewed by Guy Adams

Oh, LIFEFORCE, how I love you. It’s a complicated relationship, you’re quite clearly not the sort of film my mother wanted me to fall in love with. You’re vulgar, tasteless, exploitative and dirty (and, correct me if I’m wrong but your pupils look terribly dilated, what are you on?). You don’t always make sense. You’re moody, setting rules that you then ignore purely because you want to have fun and to hell with the consequences. Still, at least you’re not a skinflint, you’re always throwing your money around even though you’re not earning very much. You’re the cinematic equivalent of the pulp novel, you’re sleazy and mean, you’re all about the spectacle.

I first met you when I was young and impressionable. You dazzled me with your bright lights, your violent ways and the body of Mathilda May. I didn’t notice your flaws back then, I was blinded by blood, breasts and a soundtrack that should have been for a western.

As I got older I began to notice there were things about you that just weren’t right. Dialogue that would chip the teeth of any cultured mouth, the odd performance or line reading that smacked you in the eyes and ears. Still, young love is hard to conquer and I happily turned a blind eye, basking in the remembered heat of our first date.

I told my friends about our love and some simply stopped talking to me, shocked that I could excuse your bad behaviour, worried that I could enjoy being in such questionable company.

Then, for a few years, I began to agree with them. I found it hard to ignore your antisocial ways, the fact that you stole from so many of our other good friends: Mario Bava, Nigel Kneale, Ridley Scott (though I’ve fallen out with him these days too, he’s become so self-important and egotistical, at least I could never have accused you of that).

Then, just the other night, having not seen you for so long, we were introduced again by our mutual friend Arrow Films. Arrow had taken you in hand, they said, tidied you up, made you presentable again. And you looked so beautiful, sounded so rich and fun and exciting… I honestly didn’t know you could be so stunning.  And the stories they told me about you, about how your birth, and your time growing up. I was fascinated. And… and, oh… I’ve fallen in love with you all over again. You saucy, badly behaved thing you.

Come here, LIFEFORCE, who cares what the rest of the world says, they don’t understand our love, they never will. Why should we listen? Why should we care? What we have is special.

LIFEFORCE… I adore you.