MOVIE: Lifeforce (1985)

I had an extremely long plot synopsis for this Tobe Hooper sci-fi film (the latest selection for Final Girl’s Film Club) all written out for you guys, but the more I got into it, the more I started to realize that A) it was getting WAY too long for a movie of this nature and B) there was a better way to go about this whole procedure.

So, instead, what I’m going to give you is a very SHORT plot synopsis, followed by a list of life lessons this movie is attempting to teach us. That way, you can read the list of lessons, put a checkmark next to the ones you already know, and decide from what’s left whether or not you need to see this film in order to obtain the knowledge you lack.

Short plot synopsis: This movie is about a bunch of aliens that look like humans and were chilling out in Halley’s Comet when they were “rescued” by some dumb astronauts who didn’t know any better and then let loose in England. Once on Earth, they begin French kissing everybody they encounter (with lightning bolts!) in order to suck their life forces out of them and sustain their own beings. Any human who has macked with an alien turns into a mummy who must then mack with someone else in order to restore themselves back to normal. And once they are back to normal, they must mack with someone ELSE every two hours or else they turn back into a mummy again. Commence worldwide epidemic of orgy.

More important than the plot, however, are the lessons this film teaches us about the nature of sci-fi movies, the nature of humans, the nature of this planet we call home, and the nature of Patrick Stewart’s hair (or lack thereof). Here’s the list — if you already know all these things, you can safely skip this film. If you don’t, however, I’d suggest renting it ASAP and avoiding anybody who wants to French kiss you until you’ve mastered the following ropes. It’s for your own good.

1. All astronauts should be required to watch Tobe Hooper’s OTHER movie, Poltergeist, because if the astronauts in THIS movie had done that, they would’ve known better than to go towards the light in the alien space ship, which is they got themselves into this mess. If you ever see a bright light, I would strongly suggest NOT going towards it unless A) you are trapped in a cave or B) you are accompanied by Zelda Rubenstein.

2. Naked women ain’t nuthin’ but trouble. Boy and howdy!

3. The target demographic for bad sci-fi movies is the 14 year old male. Hence the fact I lost count of the gratuitous boobie shots somewhere around number 87,456.

4. French kissing strangers is never a good idea. Especially if the strangers shoot lightning bolts out of their throats and/or say things like, “It’ll be much less terrifying if you just come to me.”

5. If you are a woman who needs to escape from a secured building, try taking all your clothes off. Because as soon as you are naked, all the male security guards will be so stunned by your luscious boobies they’ll let you waltz right out the front door, even as they mutter things like, “A naked girl is not going to get out of this complex!”

6. Patrick Stewart has been bald since he was 13 years old.

7. If you’ve noticed that, since the aliens arrived, people who at first glance seem to be dead tend to rise up later and kill others, leave the corpse behind when you board your escape helicopter.

8. Never trust the Prime Minister of England. Jesus, I thought EVERYBODY knew that guy was an alien by now!

9. Don’t assume that just because everybody around you has turned into a soul-sucking mummy, the military has noticed something strange is going on. The military is usually the last to know. Unless it’s all their fault to begin with, in which case, they will just PRETEND to be the last to know and then act all surprised when you finally tell them.

10. DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH ALIENS. Regardless of the lusciousness of their boobies.

And, last but not least: 11. If you are going to stab an alien through the back with a 3-foot sword, do not embrace her from the front while you ram the sword through her. Because that’s a really good way to also ram it through yourself. And then you’re pretty much stuck with her for the rest of your life.

Though, fortunately for all of us, that will not be much longer.

Did I mention I loved this movie? Because I totally did. Tobe Hooper can do no wrong in my book. The man’s a genius.

[Netflix me (available for Instant Viewing, which means I watched it using my spiffy new Roku Player!) | Buy me]

Genre: Sci-fi/horror
Cast: Boobies, boobies, boobies, Patrick Stewart, boobies, boobies.

Tags: ,

16 Responses to “MOVIE: Lifeforce (1985)”

  1. Alisa Says:

    I would have thought that everyone knew that the British Parlament was all made up of aliens, but I guess there are a lot less people watching Dr. Who than I thought.

  2. megwood Says:


  3. Trip Says:

    True story: I fell asleep on the couch one night, and left HBO on. I woke up towards the end of this movie (which was about 3:45 AM), to the sight of London being destroyed by lightning bolts.

    I distinctly remember thinking two things, in this order: “What the F*CK is this”? followed up 10 seconds later by “This is the loudest disaster and/or horror movie I’ve ever seen”.

    The only other movie I ever woke up to at the end, in a similarly surreal manner, was The Arrival. That one had Charlie Sheen, a machine that turns ordinary white people into mustachioed Mexicans, and a kid with a haunting gaze, whose legs bent backwards as he ran from his exploding home base. That pretty much weirded me out for the rest of the next day.

    Anyway, this post got me thinking about London and apocalyptic flicks…I’m toying with a theory here.

    1. When London is being destroyed on screen, it sucks. See The Avengers; also Lifeforce.

    2. When London has already been destroyed, it RULES. See 28 Days Later, Reign of Fire.

    Any merit to this?

  4. megwood Says:

    I can see some merit to that theory. Except for Children of Men, which I thought sucked (but, apparently, I’m the only one, so I should probably just stop talking now).

  5. Mindy Says:

    Now see, I always thought stripping down to the naked boobies resulted in men being drawn irresistibly towards one, stupor or no. That plus the, um, increased jigglage factor would seem to make naked escape a bad plan.

    And, please please please, tell me that 11 isn’t actually a lesson to be learned from this movie! Pleeeeease!!!

  6. megwood Says:

    Oh yeah, the naked boobies definitely drew the men to her, but the stupor is what prevented them from actually preventing her from leaving the building. They’d just stare at her with big stunned eyes as she walked right by them. Worked like a charm! Of course, it also helps if you’re an alien with mind control powers. . .

    And yes, 11 is a very important lesson. And, I hope, one you will all take with you, just in case you should ever find yourself in a similar situation.

  7. Liz Says:

    This movie: STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! This write-up: FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY!
    But, PLEASE NOTE: I, TOO, thought “Children of Men” was pretty lame! So you’re not the only one, Meg.

    I saw this movie years ago, and I agree: Patrick Stewart must have been bald his whole career! (Note: I’m very mad that he didn’t get a “Tony” for “Macbeth!”)

    Another note: this “Final Girl” web site, while entertaining, does not suggest the best films, does it? I may still try to register on it, but I haven’t yet.

    Meg – I thought your comments about “Cloverfield” had a lot of merit. Explaining what was going on was not part of what that movie was supposed to be about! I just always worry that I’ve missed something that everyone else got! (Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get me! :-))

  8. Liz Says:

    Phooeey! I get Happy Faces when I don’t want them, and when I do want them, they’re not there!

  9. megwood Says:

    Ah, I should probably point out that when Final Girl picks a GOOD movie for Film Club, I generally don’t bother participating because I’ve already seen it numerous times (case in point, her recent selection of Near Dark, the best vampire movie of all time). I’m thoroughly enjoying the excuse to watch things like Scarecrows and The Manitou, personally!

    And dang, girl, if the “best films” are what you’re looking for, I hate to tell you this, but you’re in the wrong place! Says the blogger who will watch anything as long as it has brain-eating zombies in it! šŸ™‚

    For smilies, use a colon/close-parens to get the normal smiley, and a semi-colon/close-parens to get the winky. You’re getting them in the wrong place because of typos, is my guess, and not getting them at all sometimes because you’re using too much detail. Leave out the nose, in other words, if you want the cartoon face! Or, leave it in if you want the sideways ASCII face. I know what you mean either way, though, so no worries!

  10. Trip Says:

    I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven.

  11. megwood Says:

    Oh good lord, we got Trip started with the movie quotes again.

    “Stop saying ‘okay’ all the time. Okay?”

  12. Trip Says:

    You shouldn’t talk about pigs that way. They’re usually much nicer than people.

  13. megwood Says:

    Send in the cats!

  14. Liz Says:

    Send in the CLONES!
    (A small tribute to Sondheim AND “Star Trek TNG.”

  15. megwood Says:

    Liz, somehow I missed this comment until stumbling across it today. For the record, two days late: *snort*


  16. Nick Says:

    I absolutely love this movie. Saw it recently, and have watched it several times since. It’s far from perfect, but so much is thrown out there that it’s impossible for me not to enjoy. Highlight has to go to Frank Finlay. I thought he was a fantastic Van Helsing in 1977’s Count Dracula, and I thought he was absolutely brilliant as the Van Helsingesque Dr. Hans Fallada here. He steals the film in my book, not that Railsback or Firth do a bad job as the heroes. Finlay’s unflappable way of understanding all the heaps of crazy crap he’s being faced with is great to watch.

    Also, props to Henry Mancini’s score. The opening and closing credits theme is wholly inappropriate for a Sci-Fi film, but man is it epic, and the the more I listen to it, the more perfect it seems for the film.

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