ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Lifeforce (1985)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tobe Hooper

Starring:
Steve Railsback/Colonel Tom Carlsen
Peter Firth/Colin Caine
Mathilda May/Space Girl
Patrick Stewart/Dr Armstrong
PLOT-CRUNCH
Astronauts on a mission to study Haley’s comet come across a deserted spacecraft. Inside they find three nude "Calvin Klein models" (2 males and one hot female) hung upside down from the ceiling, sleeping. They bring the bodies on board and are never heard from again. More astronauts are sent to find out what happened. They find the three sleeping bodies and one survivor…Colonel Carlsen (Railsback). They all go back to earth. All is dandy until the 3 foreign guests wake up, walk around nude and start sucking the lifeforce out of people…WHY?…here’s a hint: space vampires.
THE LOWDOWN
For the first 40 minutes I was convinced I was watching a new horror classic. The opening pulls you in the same way Alien did, the sets are great, the alien spacecraft is eerie and the bodies hanging from the ceiling is a wonderful touch. Once the space vampires are brought to earth, the mayhem begins. The scenes where the main female vampire (May) is walking the complex, (she’s nude the whole film…stunning girl) seducing and murdering the guards are awesome. The life sucking sequences are a sight to behold, god they look real. Having the vampire syndrome be contagious is also interesting and true to the vampire legend. But when the female vampire escapes the complex, instead of capitalizing on the new terrain the film can explore (sexy nude space vampire in London…sounds like fun no?) the film takes an unusual direction and descents into absurdity. The focus changes from the space broad to mentally messed up Carlsen (Railsback). Unnecessary subplots are inserted: psychological link between Carlsen and space girl, space girl’s ability to possess anybody, a dumb love story and an overblown climax full of cheap lightshows, one silly looking space bat and a Val Helsing character (Firth) running around with a stake, searching London for vampires. This movie is definitely over ambitious. It has too many ideas that eventually drown the film. Should of kept those brainstorms for some sequels instead of trying to fit everything into one film. Too bad, the setup is great. Let's suck this one dry…
GORE
When the vampires suck out your lifeforce, your body drains and shrivels. This effect is masterly done here using animatronics puppets, it sure is not a pleasant sight. Too bad the overblown lightshows at the end look like someone scratched the celluloid with a knife.
ACTING
Steve Railsback (Carlsen) gives an intense, no holds barred performance. He blew me out of my seat. He almost makes the silly things that happen in this flick credible. I swear this dude is going for the Oscar (if you dig the man, check out The Stuntman…great film). Peter Firth (Colin Caine) is also very solid in this one but seeing him run around London with a stake in his hand is hilarious. Patrick Stewart (Dr Armstrong) has a small scene, in one of the silliest scenes in the film, he does what he can with what he’s given and comes out of it ok (and still bald). Mathilda May (vamp)…what can I say…she is very hot and believable as the nude vamp and I relished every second she was on screen…yum yum
T & A
Mathilda May was obviously cast due to her perfect breasts, ass and beautiful face. No complaints here…be naked all you want.
DIRECTING
Hooper’s presence is felt in the first 30 minutes with some image superimposing and fade to black but it almost feels like he gave up on the film the rest of the way. Not much style or craft…he lets the effects run the movie
SOUNDTRACK
To be totally honest I was too distracted by May’s luscious melons to pay attention but I should note that famed composer Henry Mancini did the score for this film and I hear that's its impeccable. I will have to see this flick again just to catch the score.
BOTTOM LINE
What starts off as an interesting new take on the vampire legend, degenerates into a cheesy mess. The vampire victim riots in London are obviously done in studio (looks like a bad set) and feel out of place. The movie has too many ideas and can’t express them all properly. All the light shows in the world amount to jack all if there’s not a solid thought behind them. They should of focused their ideas more. This could have been a great film. I still recommend you check out this flick…3 reasons: The early effects in the film are incredible, so you can witness a great movie turn into shite in the blink of an eye and of course Mathilda May’s naked body (worth the price of rental alone).
BULL'S EYE
The original unedited European version contains more violent and erotic footage. The US version runs at 105 minutes, European runs at 116 minutes.

The co-writer of this film is Dan O'Bannon, writer of Alien and director of Return Of The Living Dead.
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