So it is time once again for the FGFC This month the coo coo nutsos ran the asylum and Stacie allowed a vote to choose the movie. That vote lead us to “Lifeforce.” A sci-fi/horror, (or is it horror/sci-fi?) flick directed Tobe Hooper out of 1985. The movie is based off of the book based on the book “The Space Vampires” by Colin Wilson, a book that based on it's title I find annoying that I had never heard of. Time to head to the used book store!
So I went into this movie as usual knowing extremely little. In fact really all I knew was the description Stacie gave during the voting process (a new and scary, but cool, addition to the film club. Now we can only blame ourselves?). Research, whats that? So basically I went in knowing only that it was a Tobe Hooper directed flick, and at some point some naked life sucking space vampires would show up....Ok that's not true, I did do a little research. I had to make sure the name Bea Arthur didn't appear anywhere on the cast list. But other than that I swear I went in knowing nothing.
On with the really big shoe
You know honestly I'm have no idea why but after multiple viewings this movie really just doesn't do much for me and
I really have no idea why. When I sit back and think about it I really should have loved the thing. First off it combined horror, and sci-fi two of my favorite genre's in any medium. That alone should have been enough to seal my love. So why didn't it? Seriously I'm asking because after 4 viewings (Yes 4 viewings!) It still isn't striking me strongly in any way.
It isn't poorly made. In fact in a way the effects really impressed me. I really liked the look of the dehydrated lifeforeceless victims. They had a fantastic creepiness about them, especially when animated, and those eyes. I really liked the practical effects. Even the light/energy stuff wasn't so bad, although the effect itself didn't make a whole lot of sense in a logical “what is that doing” sense. But then we are talking about space vampires no? The closest thing to an eh, maybe moment in the effects was the space “walk” moments where it was clearly a still image floating on a matt-painting. And yet even that wasn't terrible, they managed to get some depth out of it and the painting was top notch. Actually I take that back, there is one effect I didn't care for. The animated giant bat creature, I thought they looked cooler while inanimate.
The story, well maybe this is what does it. First I'll note that I've never read “The Space Vampires” so I don't know how true to the book it truly is. But to me it plays an awful lot like a movie that was directly adapted from the pages of a book. Most people think that is what they want. I always maintain that movies and cinema are two completely separate mediums and direct translations rarely work. People get hung up on changes, but they simply are needed. Need proof see the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in fact watch it with director/writer commentary they talk a lot about changes being needed and people love those movies (and by people I of course mean me). So from the beginning it plays a lot like a book on film, from the John Larroquette exposition at the beginning spelling out the happenings to the order in which things are happening. Even the twist at the end was dulled for me by the manner in which the foreshadowing, the verbal queues would work in a book but on film there are better more subtle ways.
There were things I did like storywise though. The misdirection sending them to Yorkshire, the stuff in the asylum that was good. The retconning of the entire vampire mythos was kind of cool. The idea of a vampire plague and the energy being sent to the shop was a really cool sci-fi meets classical horror type convergence.
See like I say, some complaints but nothing overwhelming. Yet somehow I just couldn't feel Lifeforce. And that is saying something I mean c'mon....Naked vampire aliens from space, Patrick Stewart getting lip locked by a another man, bodies that explode into dust, zombiefied plague victims going all hungry vampire zombie all over London, freaking naked vampire aliens from space (did I mention those?).
My final conclusion.....My brain effing hates me and wishes to drive me insane.
Also I'm not so sure that the female naked vampire alien from space wasn't actually a Sith. When she was escaping the research center it looked an awful lot like she was using, Force Lightning, Force Choke, and Force Push. Go ahead and rewatch, you'll see. She was full of the dark side!