Did director Tobe Hooper, writers Dan O'Bannon ("Alien", "Return of the Living Dead") and Don Jakoby ("Blue Thunder"), in addition to some uncredited writers who presumably did rewrites of the original script, or any of the cast actually think they were making a good movie during the production of "Lifeforce"? The movie gets progressively wackier, more disturbingly bizarre, hilarious, over-the-top, and greater by the minute. When you think that the movie couldn't possibly become more demented, that it was already as nutty as anything could possibly be it outdoes itself. I really don't know if this was at any point supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, if anybody involved thought it was genuinely creepy or effective, or if they were just too distracted by Mathilda May's exquisite breasts and rear end to care, but the end result is quite simply one of the greatest films ever made.
Here are some reasons why "Lifeforce" is perhaps humankind's greatest achievement to date (and probably impossible to surpass):
- Mathilda May is nude for the entirety of the film, and she is "the most overwhelmingly feminine presence" you will ever see. Yes, that is a quote from the film.
- Steve Railsback gives one of the most gloriously, hilariously over-the-top performances in the history of film.
- It is, to quote a fellow IMDb member, 'the greatest naked space vampire zombies from Halley's Comet running amok in London end-of-the-world movie ever made'. Yes, that is actually the plot.
- Frank Finlay, Peter Firth, and Patrick Stewart embarrass themselves.
- Special effects and design that are actually good, adding to the suggestion that someone somewhere actually took this thing seriously, which is quite a disturbing thought.
- Unbelievably stilted delivery of some of the finest dialogue known to man, examples of which include:
"She looks perfect. I've been in space six months and she looks perfect to me."
""Don't worry, a naked woman is not going to get out of this complex."
"Despite appearances this woman is a masochist, an extreme masochist."
"He too needs feeding."
"She's totally alien to this planet and our life form... and totally dangerous."
"I'm Colonel Cane." "From the SAS?"
"It was two hours ago that the guard was attacked. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we're seeing a pattern here."
"Colonel, take it from the beginning. Assume we know nothing... which is understating the matter."
Colonel Cane looks at a shriveled corpse, then asks: "and this was murder, you say? "
"Lifeforce" is not merely another 'so bad it's good' movie. It is not an example of a film made by individuals with ambition far beyond their reach. No, it is quite simply THE most audacious, spectacular, hilarious, absurd, insane, riotous, crazy, deliriously demented science fiction film of all time. I cannot fully articulate why it is deserving of being one spot ahead of Samuel Fuller's "Pickup on South Street" on my list of favorite films, but I do know that it is. "Lifeforce" elevates craziness to an art form. Quite possibly the most entertaining film known to man, and perhaps our greatest achievement as a species.