Lifeforce the complete powerful and consuming score by Henry Mancini is now available on a two CD set from Intrada records. In many the film and also the score have over the years been somewhat ignored, the soundtrack being released initially on an LP and then onto CD from various labels including Varese Sarabande, normally I would say when listening to a film score that you are familiar with and rate quite high any expanded or improved edition can be suspect, there is the saying that less is more and I have over the years found this to be true in the case of so called expanded film soundtrack releases.

However, Lifeforce is I think the exception to that rule, as it is such a good score, and any extras are welcomed with open arms and an open mind. This sci-horror was directed by Tobe Hooper who brings to the screen a tale of space vampires. Released in 1985 the movie starred Steve Railsback, Frank Finlay, Peter Firth, Patrick Stewart, and Mathilda May. Based on the novel by Colin Wilson, the screenplay is a joint effort from Dan O’Bannon who co-writes with Don Jakoby. Cannon Films produced the movie which boasts a magnificently ferocious and ominous sounding soundtrack penned by the highly talented and versatile composer Henry Mancini.  

Due to various problems and set back’s in post-production and changes that were called for by censors and distributors, the film needed to be re-scored in places, but Mancini was not available so the producers enlisted the help of Michael Kamen, who wrote approximately seventy five minutes of additional music for the re-edited version.  Kamen’s music providing support for much of the opening of the movie. This two-CD set contains Mancini’s complete score, with Intrada also releasing Kamen’s score on separate CD, including premieres of his orchestral sessions. If you have not already added the score to your collection via the likes of previous releases, this two CD is a must have item, it shows just how versatile and chameleon like Mancini was, and there was more to this composer than syrupy little songs and themes such as The Sweetheart Tree and Moon River.

Henry Mancini,

At times Mancini’s score becoming malevolent and commanding, there are also some complex compositions within the work. But I think more than anything it is the rousing and fast paced Lifeforce theme that many collectors will be impressed by. It is a theme that could I suppose be described as classic film music, dramatic and driving, with commanding brass and sweeping strings. Its persona establishing a daunting and threatening atmosphere immediately. The film sadly did not do as well as many thought, with the movie appearing on British TV very quickly. A Joint U.S. and British team working in space discover an immense spacecraft which is concealed inside Hailey’s Comet.


The ship is found to contain, not just humanoids but bats, they discover a female alien (Mathilda May) and decide that they should take her back to earth. But it is not long before they and the audience realise that she is a space vampire, and she begins to claim victims killing them by draining energy from their bodies.  She is particularly focused upon Col. Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback).

His encounters with the female vampire (who memorably plays much of her part nude) ultimately lead to spectacular, and bizarre, climax in London cathedral. Mancini becomes an integral part of the action, employing dark strings, rasping brass, and driving string passages. His central theme wastes no time establishing itself with wonderful  12/8 meter rhythm in lower strings, dynamic French horn and trumpet lines above, Mancini is in complete control from the start.

And treats us to a polished and haunting soundtrack, that although for most of its duration oozes tense and unsettling compositions also has to it moments of mesmerising beauty, quiet mystery, and rich lush thematic quality.

This I think stands as one of Mancini’s finest works, that is filled with spectacular moments, to die for crescendos and swirling mystical pieces, that have to them and eerie and ethereal sound. Tim Greiving provides informative notes for the release and the superb art-work is the work of Kay Marshal. The score was originally recorded by Eric Tomlinson at EMI Abbey Road Studios in the December of 1984. Mancini also conducted the score which was performed by the mighty LSO. The Varese Sarabande tracks are available on disc two of this release. Not got this then go get it now. And whilst you’re there why not order the Michael Kamen disc as well.   


Available now from Howlin Wolf Records, here is the introduction I wrote in the notes for the CD release of this must have soundtrack.

click here to order your copy now.


Released on Blu Ray in 2020, Force to Fear is co-written and directed by Chad Bruns and Zane Hershberger, who also brought to the screen 10/31 and 10/31 part 2, focuses upon a group of people who decide it is a clever idea to hold a dance party in a deserted and run-down building that was once a school. However, things do not go quite how they planned when they meet two men who have kidnapped a local drug dealer and are holding him in the same building. The reason that they have kidnapped and are slowly torturing him is because he has been supplying one of the kidnapper’s wives with drugs. She became hooked on them and overdosed. However, the group of party people are certainly not your average group of friends out for a fun time. And as the story unfolds it materialises that they are in fact a group of highly trained vigilante types that are looking for a serial killer and are using the cover of the party to lure him out of hiding. There is also another protagonist in the building in the form of a masked figure (The Target) who we soon discover has his own agenda and plans for both the kidnappers and the party crowd. If you watch the movie, you may think that the acting is awkward and even cliched, but this is the beauty of the film as it was something that the directors did on purpose to give it that eighties retro mood and feel. Cast members all immerse themselves into their roles and further evoke memories of the action characters that were so prevalent in that decade. Many of the scenes are drawn out or extended and contain at times a little too much dialogue, again a trademark of 1980’s low budget films.

The film also contains quite a high body count, ample amounts of blood and an array of basic effects and taking into consideration that this is an independent production, the effects are impressive. Right from the outset the directors make sure they show the audience where they are coming from and what they are thinking as in how the movie should look, the opening credits sequence could be from any number of movies from the eighties, and it’s as if you are watching them on an old VHS or Betamax machine and is complimented by upbeat synth music which includes keyboards and percussive elements. This is I think another appealing element of the production, as it displays the filmmakers love and admiration of eighties straight to video movies and infuses an authentic eighties vibe to the proceedings.

I will not say it is a straight reproduction of any one B movie opening titles as so many during this period featured pop generated synth themes and colourful title graphics which included fleeting close ups of distinct items such as a gun firing, hinting that they could be part of the storyline that is about to unfold. It is a recent movie, but it has the appearance of a film from thirty years ago, so it looks the part and becomes even more interesting when the writers include a handful of twists in the tale and slip in various turnabouts that the watching audience are not expecting, which add slithers of originality to the plot.

For a low budget affair, Force to Fear is a polished and entertaining production, and pays attention to creating realistic fight sequences whilst at the same time focusing upon providing authentic sets as well as introducing solid characters that could be straight from the nineteen eighties.


The attention to creating the eighties appearance of the production is aided greatly throughout by a synth soundtrack that was written by Matt Cannon. The electronically realised score for Force to Fear is an integral and key component of the movie and its swift moving storyline, creating varying levels of emotion that include apprehension, intensity, tension, and fear. It purveys an urgency and a dark and fearful aura, but at times moves into a more upbeat and pop orientated level which is used effectively during some of the fight scenes. As well as this the music adds layers of suitably unsettling and sinister sounding phrases beneath the action on screen. The composer adding electronic percussion which is responsible for setting the scene and creating the dramatic mood significantly from the start. It not only lends its support to the unfolding storyline, but ushers in various characters, and effectively laces and punctuates each scenario successfully. It takes on a persona of its own, as in the role of another entity or unseen character within that storyline, who is watching everything take shape generating dark and brooding atmospherics that bolster and accentuate the narrative.

Composer Matt Cannon, who is also an actor, began scoring low budget films in 2015 when he provided the score for MILF’S vs Zombies, he followed this in 2017 by scoring the (Trespasser’s segment) of 10/31. He has since 2015 worked on approximately fifteen synth-based film scores, all of which have been within the Horror/Sci-Fi genres. The score for Force to Fear, has to it both inventive and innovative qualities, but above all contains a sound that we readily associate with horror films from the nineteen eighties and evokes memories of composers such as Jay Chattaway, Alan Silvestri, Brad Fiedel, Harold Faltermeyer, and Alan Howarth.

There was a distinct sound that became standard during that decade and Matt Cannon has successfully re-created this sound, whilst also placing his own inimitable musical fingerprint upon the production, fusing both styles and putting them to effective and affecting use.

John Mansell.

Movie Music International.

The CD also includes more info about the score and the movie.

Get the CD now whilst stocks last, its selling fast.