Looking Into Classic Vampire Movies: Part Two – ‘Lifeforce’ (1985)


In our second part of the three part look into classic vampire movies (part one is here while part three is here), PopHorror is taking a look back at Lifeforce, an ’80s cinematic sci-fi horror with elements of romance, action and mystery, and is a true classic that any horror collector should include on their shelf.

Set in outer space, an evil force with an insatiable hunger is unleashed – with terrifying consequences for the human race.

All life literally feeds of life, whether animate or inanimate objects. There is a constant flow of energy and as portrayed in Lifeforce, we, too, feed off each other – but not on a level of fatality. The vampires in this movie represent a battle of the “stronger beings” and survival of the fittest, whereas humankind are the “lower” of the species and become the prey. There are many forms of vampirism, and in Lifeforce, sexuality is used as the key to feeding the beast.

Lifeforce was released in 1985 and directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974), taken from a book written by Colin Wilson. The screenplay was co-written by Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakoby. The movie stars Steve Railsback (The Stunt Man 1980), Mathilda May (The Jackal 1997) and Peter Firth (The Hunt for Red October 1990). 

Lifeforce is indeed a disturbingly bizarre movie with superb special effects and stilted dialogue that adds to the uniqueness of the film.

Col. Tom Carlsen is assigned to observe Halley’s Comet with his crew on the space shuttle Churchill. They encounter something unusual attached to the comet and decide to investigate further. Upon investigation, they come across three encapsulated life forms that appear to be human and load them onto their shuttle. Shortly after, they lose contact with Earth and another shuttle is sent to research the matter.

The crew on the Churchill is found dead and the shuttle is missing a rescue pod. All that remains of the ship are the recovered life forms. When a decision is made to bring the humanoids to Earth, that is when all hell breaks loose…

Trivia Time:

  • Tobe Hooper’s director’s cut was 128 minutes. The film was cut down to 116 minutes and most of the cut scenes were the spaceship, Churchill. The original, unedited European version contained more violent and erotic footage but was cut by Tri-Star Pictures for a domestic U.S. version.
  • Mathilda May’s screen time only lasts for seven minutes in total.
  • They used an artichoke for the alien spaceship model.
  • This is Tobe Hooper’s first film in a three-picture deal with The Cannon Group, Inc./Golan-Glbous Productions. The other two movies were Invaders from Mars (1986), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).
  • They were considering Billy Idol for the role of one of the male vampires.

So sink your teeth into this juicy ’80s classic and make sure to let us know what you think of Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce and how you rank it among other vampire stories!


About Samantha Françoise McCabe

Samantha Françoise McCabe is a Capetonian, South African born aspiring artist/photographer and editor who stems from a creative and artist background. She started as a Ballerina and dancer of other mediums, She worked in the film/media industry for a few years, starting as a movie extra and moving upward to producing an African Horror indie film with her husband, who is a British born director and author. She has a small art collection that is ever expanding and has a few years editing experience which involves conceptual art and conceptual writing for ongoing projects with her husband. Teamwork makes for an interesting concoction of creativity and the challenges are rewarding. Other than her art contribution to Brilliant Flash Fiction, she is a freelance literary editor and Intern at Dark Regions Press. Favourite books are written by Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, Clive Barker and Steven Laws. The book that got her into the horror genre was The Devil’s End by D.A. Fowler. When it comes to cinema, Hammer Horror is on the top of the list.

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