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Lifeforce 1983 ***

 

Poltergeist and Texas Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper was a surprising choice to helm this big-budget but endearingly tatty sci-fi opus,  based on Colin Wilson’s novel Space Vampires, shot in the UK and featuring a plethora of recognisable actors. In a plot that updates the classic Quatermass story with new-fangled Alien-style gore, thanks to the input of writer Dan O’Bannon, Mathilda May plays Space Girl, a intergalactic vampire whose lair is discovered by a space probe, hiding behind Halley’s comet. When the discovery is brought to earth, all hell breaks lose, and Brits Patrick Stewart and Peter First join forces with sole survivor Steve Railsback to sort things out. A full score from Pink Panther composer Henry Mancini sits oddly with violent transformation scenes and some woeful model-work; taking a leaf out of Hot Fuzz, a scale model of London is destroyed in home movie fashion. Clearly a jumping off point for the Species franchise, Life-force is a classic example of good-bad film-making, as British stiff-upper lip authorities tangle with a gorgeous nude female vampire.

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