Lifeforce Screen 6 articles



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  • Director Tobe Hooper seriously overplays his hand, losing the shape of this 1985 film in a barrage of overblown special effects and screaming Dolby stereo. It's a shame, because the screenplay—by Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby, from a novel by Colin Wilson—could have yielded a classic in the hands of a filmmaker with a halfway decent grasp of pace, narration, and performance.

  • Hooper parodies the sexual panic that informs the classic vampire tale, which is often famously preoccupied with the fear that giving in to what truly turns you on could upset your carefully governed symbiosis with the rest of society—a subtext that Hooper immediately elevates to text with a series of opening moments that follow Tom's crew as they enter a collection of alien chambers that must surely constitute some of the most vaginally symbolic imagery in all of American cinema.

  • How do we parse this distinction between “good” and “a good time”? Are movies like women in ‘forties films? At any rate, much of what is hilarious and delightful in LIFEFORCE *could* be deliberate, which should lift the movie clean out of the “so bad it’s good” category. What makes my head go all Linda Blair is a feeling that even IF the ridiculous choices ARE purely intentional, they still seem crazy and impossible to defend on any normal grounds.

  • In a picture of so many extraordinary allusions, the most valuable is surely the most abstruse -- Antonioni's notion in Identification of a Woman of female mystery and human relationships manifested as an image out of sci-fi hokum... Far from the nonsensical, failed-blockbuster of its maudit reputation, the movie is a ravishing renewal of the genre hollowed out by Star Wars; it was up to Mel Brooks to complete its redemption two years later.

  • Aliens, vampires, and zombies—oh my! Tobe Hooper's LIFEFORCE will remind the previous generation's moviegoers of their influence and inform the newer generation of their lack of originality as the three fantastical entities are represented in this single film. Though it premiered both to disappointing ticket sales and negative critical reviews, the film has a cult-like status that is only magnified in its original format.

  • I can see that at this very blog, almost ten years ago, I remained non-committal. Well never mind that shit. It's great. Hooper's decision (it it was indeed his) to leapfrog back from Alien and make a full-on Hammer-style space vampire movie, complete with dribbling lasciviousness, was, if not revolutionary (ideologically it's irrefutably reactionary), hilariously transgressive on a kind of termite-art level.

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