Everyone in the horror community knows the name Tobe Hooper. He’s the man who directed one of the most terrifying films of all time, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What most people don’t remember Tobe Hooper for is directing a little film called Lifeforce.
Lifeforce was the first in Tobe Hooper’s three picture deal with Cannon Films. The other two were Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and the remake of Invaders from Mars. Lifeforce is far and away one of the best hidden gems of the horror and scifi genres. It’s got a real budget, 25 million, and top quality actors, Matilda May and Patrick Stewart, and a brilliantly written screenplay, one of the co-writers was Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Return of the Living Dead).
Lifeforce centers around three extra terrestrial humanoid creatures that are discovered in a crash-landed space craft. One of these creatures, who takes takes the from of a naked woman, psychically bonds with one of the human characters. What transpires is an amazingly chaotic film filled with psychic probing, zombie attacks, and Patrick Stewart freaking his shit out.
While Lifefoce lacks some of the stripped down elegance that Hooper’s earlier movies possessed, it definitely has the ‘holy shit, this flick is batshit insane’ thing going for it. That along with really high quality visual effects and an unlikely protagonist the film is a truly wonderful experience.
Lifeforce really excels in its third act. Everything just goes bananas. It’s a wonder to behold. Lifeforce is a moderately budgeted, exposition heavy film, but, on the head of a pin, it turns into 28 Days Later. It’s absolutely wonderful. The effects are great, the high concept for the film is wonderful, and the characters, while slightly campy at times, are really fun to watch.
Too bad that Lifeforce completely failed at the box office. It only made around $11 million of it’s $25 million budget back. It really is too bad because the film is wonderful on numerous levels.