Monday, June 23, 2008

LIFEFORCE (1985)

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This post is part of Final Girl's FILM CLUB. So go on over to her site by clicking here, and read various other takes on this weirdo Tobe Hooper film. Happy Birthday Selma Blair! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In all the years of Halloween dress-up days and movie character costume parties how come no woman has ever shown up as Space Girl from Lifeforce? After all, in terms of strength, she's arguably the greatest female villain in all of horror/sci-fi cinema. More powerful than James Cameron's momma alien and Brian DePalma's Carrie combined. True, there is that one minor catch... Space Girl walks around naked the whole time. But still. All I'm saying is that it's a creative costume choice waiting to be tapped. A contest winner for sure!

Tobe Hooper's randy follow-up to Poltergeist is a bizarre one. A team of international astronauts are tracking the tail of Halley's Comet for research but end up discovering an abandoned bat-cave ship with some hot tail of its own inside. Among the dried up giant bat carcasses is a sealed pod with a curvy, naked female inside. The astronauts are so horny - b/c they've been in space for 6 months - that none of them can stay away from her. Space Girl's allure is their bait, and when they get too close, she sucks the life out of them.

When a rescue team brings Space Girl back to Earth as a specimen for a group of unsuspecting scientists - also horny b/c they've been, well... scientists for 6 months - her love spreads like a virus across the streets of London, turning people into some weird hybrid of lusty vampire-zombies. It's here when I stopped paying attention to the plot, and just enjoyed the nonsense... from the hypnosis induced wet dreams, to a cooly-weird Patrick Stewart rubber mannequin squirting lava lamp blood out of his mouth.

Tobe Hooper's best films are films of memorable movie moments, not complete, solid works. He's kind of a hack, but he's got enough fan boy logic in him to hook you with individual scenes. The conclusion to Lifeforce is no exception.

After being reunited with the "woman" he once discovered, Col. Carlsen seals his and Space Girl's supernatural, meta-physical love forever by committing a double suicide that makes Romeo & Juliet look like a couple of pussies. As the two make out in the basement of a church, the colonel takes a magic sword and pierces their bodies together. This unleashes a supernova of mega-love so powerful that they shoot off into the heavens on a geyser of psychedelic electric love.

Then it ends.

But so what. This is Tobe Hooper, the guy that said "I think the Chainsaw remake is very good and captures the spirit of the original film. It's true to the tone of the original, to the point that it's almost a companion piece." He also made Crocodile - and took himself seriously while doing so.

So when the guy cuts his losses and gets out on a high, passable note... enjoy it, and ask questions never.

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