LIFEFORCE (Tobe Hooper)
A rather ambitious big-budgeted sci-fi romp based on Colin Wilson’s “The Space Vampires”, shot in the UK by Texan Tobe Hooper, featuring such British acting luminaries as Peter Firth, Patrick Stewart and Frank Finlay (who once played Iago opposite Laurence Olivier’s Othello). The fact that it also stars Steve Railsback (he of Charles Manson fame) gives you an idea of how delightfully strange this film is. A lot of people thought it was also a mess. It got mostly bad reviews and tanked at the box-office, but it looks better now than ever. The special effects are quite good, and there’s some crazy energy here. One of those movies you like to recommend that many people never even heard of.
MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS (Paul Schrader)
Only Paul Schrader could have made this film, what with his fascination with the darker side of Japanese life and culture. Or at least made it as good. A biopic of a complicated man, exploring his artistry as well as his sensationalist life and politics. With a stunning score by Philip Glass.
PRIZZI’S HONOR (John Huston)
Huston directs his daughter Angelica and her then-boyfriend Jack Nicholson in a rather odd but very engaging gangster flick that seems like a bit of a throwback to earlier times. Angelica got an Oscar, and Jack worked on an accent that could be called “interesting”, if not completely successful.