Saturday, 14 April 2007

Film: Lifeforce

Lowdown: Straight from Hailey's comet comes a naked chick vampire to suck our souls.
Those were the days! Back in 1984, Hailey's comet made its last pass at earth (for now). Since, traditionally, comets were considered to be the bringers of cataclysms, and since due to many other reasons a lot of loonies have decided that the end of the world would take place during 1984 (some of them even claim that it really took place), certain movie producers have decided that the time is right to create a horror film which would utilize people's fear of the comet in order to make some money. And so Lifeforce was made.
To the best of my knowledge it was actually released after Hailey came and went. I did go to see it at the cinema, though, with my best friend Uri, and I remember mainly two things: I was a bit scared (Uri wasn't), and we were both greatly impressed with the fine display of tits provided by the film.
Yes, Lifeforce puts tits at center stage. The story goes like this: In 1984, a manned spaceship is sent to intercept Hailey's comet. When the astronauts go near it they find this huge artificial object, which they go and investigate to find it is full of dead bats. Dead bats, as well as the bodies of two naked men (whose genitals are hidden from view) - and of one naked woman (who is very well exposed to the camera from all angles). They bring the three plus a dead bat into their ship. And then all hell breaks loose.
As it turns out, the three are vampires. We learn this from an authority back on earth, who is there to use the viewers' inherent susceptibility to accept things said with an aroma of authority as the truth in order to explain to us what is going on in the film and lead its narrative line: there is life after death, he tells us, and this happens because of a "life force" in us that is still there after our bodies die; those evil naked vampires from the comet are here to suck this life force out of us and pump it back to their ship.
And so the film provides us with the following: (a) A detective like chase scenes after the vampires; (b) horror scenes of London being taken over by vampires; and (c), lots of scenes featuring a naked chick walking about nonchalantly and sucking people's souls through sexual temptation.
There can be no denying it: Lifeforce is a very silly film. At its basis it aims to scare you, but it fails because it puts the naked chick in too many a silly situation and shoots her from every possible angle and it just doesn't make sense. Like, for example: how come she finds herself, towards the end of the film, on an altar at a cathedral - and all of a sudden, after walking about through the entire film entirely naked, she is wearing a white dress?
The film silliness is rather surprising given the effort and the obvious technical expertise invested in it. This is no B movie; I mean, it is definitely a B movie, but it wasn't intended to be a B movie: the title music, for example, was composed by Lalo Schifrin (Mission Impossible); amongst the leading actors you find one Patrick Stewart; the special effects, like the rest of the film, appear very dated, yet it is very obvious that for the eighties the effects were not bad at all (it's just that a decade of CGI has spoilt us all).
So what went wrong? It seems as though the answer is obvious: the filmmakers decided that naked chicks would bring the film more box office revenues than a coherent plot.
Cynicism aside, there is also a dark side to Lifeforce: As the vampire's force on people is transmitted through sexual attraction, and as the main characters fight the vampiress by trying to avoid her taking sexual control over them, the film could easily be interpreted as males' attempt to regain control over women in an age where women have been liberating themselves to become equals. Given the silliness of the film, though, such conclusions are more than a bit of a stretch, though.
Best scene: Well, any of the scenes featuring the naked vampire chick would qualify. The best is probably when the chick "escapes" a high security place by walking in between a group of old security guards, numbed by what they see in front of them.
Overall: This is truly a bad film - 1 star material. However, one has a duty to commend the inclusion of such vast amounts of totally redundant nudity somehow, so I'll give it 2 stars.


Uri said...

There was nudity?!
I think the fault lies in the sure hands of Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus.

Moshe Reuveni said...

It sure is Golan Globus' fault, but since 50% of the two people that read this blog wouldn't know who these guys are I didn't name names.
As for nudity: I'm all for it. I like the French attitude: whatever is normally done in the nude is shows in the nude, with significantly less artificial-ness about it. Things did go a bit too far as far as artificial-ness was concerned with the nudity: a rare occasion in which a "mainstream" film goes to the other side of the extreme.