Lifeforce: Special Edition on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review


Lifeforce was a film I always wished I’d got round to seeing on video when I was a teenager because there was a naked woman on the front cover. Of course, even if I had, videos were almost always cropped to 4:3, so the full glorious visuals from Tobe Hooper would be severely compromised and it never seemed to get an airing on television, either.

So, what better way for my debut viewing than for it to be on a Blu-ray Special Edition which features both the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts of the film. And the first thing I noticed, is that while this is a 2-disc package, Disc 1 is the Director’s Cut (aka “International Edition”), also containing the extras, while Disc 2 is the Theatrical Version. Usually, both are seamlessly-branched on the same disc. Oh well, not to worry – I watched the longer “International Edition”, anyway.

The English-staffed HMS Churchill sets off to investigate Halley’s Comet up close and personal, where they discover a 150-mile long rocket, seemingly hidden in the head of the comet. When they go into the belly of the beast, so to speak, it looks like a massive colon before they get to some weird ‘stomach’-looking thing. They find where all the occupants are seemingly dead, decide to take one with them, and then it looks like they’re in jeaopardy while one of them comes across three human bodies held in suspended animation – one woman and two men, all of which are devoid of clothes.

Fast-forward 30 days later and the HMS Churchill hasn’t been responding to Ground Control, so the spaceship Columbia is sent up to intercept and take a look. This is the same spaceship Columbia which was also seen at the start of the film but then just seemed to disappear out of the script for reasons I couldn’t work out.


Cast-wise, Peter Firth acts like he’s playing a character from Blackadder, as he plays Army colonel Caine, determined to get to the bottom of what ensues, while Michael Gothard (as Bukovsky) has the deepest voice I’ve ever heard as he tells the tale of his recollection of events from his Earth-bound desk.

I don’t want to say any more about the plot beacuse it’s a wonderful film which I really enjoyed and which you discover as it goes on, but kudos also go in the acting stakes to Frank Finlay as Dr. Hans Fallada, Patrick Stewart as Dr. Armstrong – who runs the local mental hospital, Aubrey Morris as Home Secretary Sir Percy Heseltine – although I mostly remember him as the Captain of the Golgafrincham B-Ark in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and, of course, Mathilda May, billed simply as Space Girl.

I also liked the way the film gets straight into the story. If it was a modern movie, like Man of Steel or The Lone Ranger, it’d take a good 60 minutes of build-up before it actually started to get anywhere.

It felt great, too, to see a film where special effects and models are actually done with some thought put into them, and not with endless, great big doses of soulless CGI all over the place.

Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.



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