Classic Cannon: Lifeforce (1985)

In 1985, Cannon released the diversive Lifeforce. We're here to review it. 

Alien vampires. Boobies. Zombies. Astronauts. Nudity. Supernatural forces. A beautiful soul sucking goddess. And the apocalypse. Lifeforce is a bevvy of genre tropes thrown into a stew of  '80s awesomeness directed by horror mastermind, Tobe Hooper. Right off of Poltergeist and before his rip roaring satirical, chili tasting, Leatherface jaunt with Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Hooper gave fans the strangest feature of his career. 

CGI would have been a disservice to Lifeforce. 

From the retro vaults of Cannon Films comes his Lifeforce, a hybrid science fiction, horror, end of the world flick with an undiagnosed personality disorder that's more fun than anything else. Despite some cheesy acting and a mass influx of differing story ideas, the opening visuals of the movie are a verifiably delectable treat for the mixed genre fans this was aimed towards. Anchoring the movie on elements from classic films like 2001, Alien, Dracula. Star Wars and even his own Poltergeist, Lifeforce is an oddly balanced gem that pushed Cannon and its creative team to the outer rim of their budgetary constraints. Cannon, never a company to bother with something called creative genius, took every license they could to deliver a movie that's not nearly as bad as we remember it. In fact, Lifeforce is a bold exercise in just how crazy and dedicated Menahem Golan was in his formative years as a trailblazing producer with absolutely no limits. 

Based on lighting and visuals alone, Lifeforce is a marvel of an era long gone. With no CGI to work with and an effects crew headed by John Dykstra (Star Wars), the core features of Lifeforce still hold up today. The haunting exterior space scenes and the cavernous vampire ship graphics are some of the best from the '80s. On top of that, the hospital zombie effects are a call back to a time when men had to model practical and physically tangible creatures to deliver a believable shot. Taking into account all the shortcomings of the story, the inept and soulless acting of Steve Railsback, and the flip flop nature of Lifeforce, everything else about the movie is top tier for a company known to rush a finished product.  From sequences of trippy psychedelic aura, to shots of life being painfully inhaled, to radical looking space vessel design, it's pressing to say that this may not be one of Cannon's best works. 

With all that said, Lifeforce is extremely barren of any emotion or real relevance of story. You can't really sympathize with the cardboard cutout characters and the obviously vacant abilities of Railsback. It never feels like anything is at stake. It's just a long series of really cool looking scenes that somehow find a path to creating some semblance of plot. Like foreplay with a long lost mutant cousin from another era, Lifeforce turns into an incestous orgy of awesome aesthetics making sweet sweet love to every science fiction and horror brainchild under the stained blankets of Cannon Films' money men. Does that even make sense?

More stunning visuals from Lifeforce. 

Lifeforce is derivative and strangely daring at times. With vampire bat creatures, a city in undead ruin, limbs being ripped off,  and a powerful beam sending its force into space, this movie was almost ahead of its time. If you like '80s horror, check this one out. You might be disappointed but at least you'll have a good time.  

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