Lifeforce (Mathilda May and the Trout) [Blu-ray] Tobe Hooper

Lifeforce (Mathilda May and the Trout) [Blu-ray] Tobe Hooper
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To increase the creep factor already coating Tobe Hooper's big budget B-movie flop, Shout! Factory has issued a home video version that fawns over the nubile, young Mathilda May. It's one thing to discuss the reasoning behind, and impact of, such a prominently nude performance (May is given an opportunity to say her piece in a special interview, lazily titled "Dangerous Beauty") and quite another for the director and a horny fanboy to cajole and salivate like Tobe Hooper and Tim Sullivan do in one of two commentary tracks for a movie originally titled The Space Vampire. Now you know what it's about: vampires from space. With 25-million invested, the small studio that produced Lifeforce balked at the extremely on-the-nose title (the public wasn't yet ready for a meta-spoof campaign, à la Snakes on a Plane), which was the name of the book by Colin Wilson Alien scribe Dan O'Bannon adapted for the screen. Hoping to have a blockbuster on their hands, the studio hacked out all the overt references to vampires (we live in a very different age) and sold the mangled result as a sexy alien invasion thriller. Both the original theatrical cut and Hooper's restored director's cut are included. Seeing as the theatrical cut is hidden in the special features menu, it's clear which is considered the definitive version. It's obvious when watching both versions as well. Not that either cut is especially good, but Hooper's is at least coherent. With the cosmic succubus angle reinstated, Lifeforce can be seen as the misogynist fear of feminine sexuality it was intended as. Back to that commentary track: when not remarking on the difficulty of convincing an actress to appear nude for almost the entire movie, Hooper and his gawking toady address the restored footage, but only superficially — neither party comments on blatant metaphors like a cosmonaut remarking, "I feel like I've been here before" while walking through the giant, cervix-looking passageway of an alien vessel. Nor does Hooper satisfactorily explain the decision to have his representative of life-draining femininity unable to speak while in her body, saving all of the queen space vampire's dramatic verbal exchanges for when she's possessing the body of another (Patrick Stewart gets to deliver all the meaty bits). Clearly, it's because Hooper cast May solely for her looks and willingness to drop trout, but the highly overrated director (Poltergeist is his only film worth seeing — Texas Chainsaw Massacre devotees are about as well adjusted as Frank Cauldhame) lacks the guts (or gall) to state it plainly. "Space Vampires In London" is a full interview with Hooper, where he skirts anything of import, like the intention behind a scene where Col. Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) tries to beat the evil out of a possessed woman, opting to yammer on about his excitement over getting to make a 70mm Hammer-style film. Speaking of Railsback, the creepy lead actor shows up to spout delusions about the cultural impact of the film in his very own interview. On a positive note, a vintage "Making Of" is included and it's actually quite an intensive piece of behind-the-scenes footage focused primarily on Nick Maley's accomplished special effects work. Maley also contributes a commentary track packed with anecdotes about his rich history as a special effects designer; you better believe he mentions being Yoda's mind-daddy — twice. Also included: theatrical trailers (one is definitely European) and a TV spot that's the visual equivalent of screaming, "Here be boobies!" (Shout! Factory)