Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lifeforce and British Security!

Tobe Hooper's amazing and insane Lifeforce has just come out on blu-ray, and it is as nuts as I remember from seeing it in the theater many moons ago. Based on the Colin Wilson book "Space Vampires", Lifeforce is probably most remembered for the lengthy and impressive nude scenes performed by Mathilda May, who gamely walks around London in the buff because space vampires don't need no clothes.  Yes, London, because this is a fanciful world where England is in the space race.  In fact the biggest leap in the film is the idea that the U.S. and England would actually cough up the cash for a joint space mission, and the U.S. would allow the HQ to be in London!

What impressed me most on this re-view of the movie is how casually our stalwart and mostly British scientists (including Frank Finley and Patrick Stewart) take the greatest discovery in human history.  Texas-drawling astronaut Steve Railsback and his shuttle crew find a space-craft hidden in Haley's comet.  Cue some cool John Dykstra special FX as our spacemen float into the ship and come across three naked humanoid forms inside crystal cubes, including the aforementioned (and did I mention impressive?) Ms. May.  Just looking at Mathilda provokes a lot of eye-acting from Railsback and the other astronauts -- her beauty is seductive, ya see.  Stuff happens and the aliens are eventually brought back to Earth for study. 

But the discovery of alien life seems about as exciting to these scientists as deciding between beef or fish for dinner.  They schedule the dissection of the seemingly dead female alien in the middle of the night, and send one schmucko with a scalpel into the dissection room to do the deed.  No one else is even watching -- guess they have better things to do than be there when someone CUTS OPEN THE FIRST ALIEN LIFEFORM EVER DISCOVERED.  Upstairs in his office, the lead scientist dozes off (!) in front a video array while scalpel boy gets busy -- only to have the female alien snap awake. Schmucko is getting his soul-essence sucked when the sleep-deprived head scientist finally snaps out of his stupor and calls "security".  The naked alien lass strolls around the lab while a crack force of three oblivious Bobbies -- one of whom offers the naked female space vampire a sandwich to settle her down -- basically watch her walk off into the night.  

I will say that you really don't know where the hell this movie is going, which is a plus -- there is a lot of whacked out shit going on in this thing.  And the blu-ray transfer is pretty spectacular.  But otherwise, there's a reason this hasn't risen higher in the pantheon of classic sci-fi...   



Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mark just discovered your blog, sorry I'm so late to the party. long time listener, first time caller. Just re-watched this, and the annoying casualness of the characters was obvious to me too, until I kind of squinted my eyes a little bit, and saw it as if it was a Tom Baker "Dr Who" episode or a "Quatermass" film. 100% dem-Hammer-feels. oh hey whats new on "Children of Paranoia"? Sherm shermaniumatgmaildotcom

8:37 AM  

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