Lifeforce (1985)
Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring Frank Finlay Mathilda May Peter Firth Steve Railsback

After he hit the big time by directing "Poltergeist," Tobe Hooper directed this laughable, but highly entertaining, naked-alien-chick-on-the-loose thriller.

Like "Species," the 1990s blockbuster that copied it, "Lifeforce" features a big budget, lots of special effects and a gorgeous alien chick (May) who walks around naked as army officers try to gun her down. Bullets can't stop her, men yearn for her and she's spreading a virus that turns human beings into vampires! The virus is so widespread, in fact, that by the end of the film London has turned into an apocalyptic vampire zone. Even the prime minister becomes a vampire!

The flick is ridiciulous, but it did spawn a rather amusing film genre: gorgeous female alien movies. Usually these films have hot babes from outer space pitted against army officers or policemen who have been assigned to blow them away. In the genre, "Species" was the most successful, but "Lifeforce" is the best. There are some impressive make-up effects as victims, who have had their lifeforce sucked out of them, rise up as shrunken, rotted zombies and start sucking the lifeforce out of others.

This movie is outstanding schlock and May—as the always nude alien vampiress—is gorgeous. Stewart (as the head of a mental institution) stars alongside a number of other veteran British actors, including Michael Gothard, who played the sadistic Father Barre in Ken Russell's "The Devils." The film was co-written by Dan O'Bannon, who helped write "Alien" and directed "Return of the Living Dead," and is based on "Space Vampires," a book by occult writer Colin Wilson. But the script is probably the weakest thing about this movie.

A new, unrated version released on DVD features more nudity and the complete Henry Mancini score.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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