The 1980s Sci-Fi Horror Epic With A Star Trek TNG Icon, Stream Without Netflix Right Now

By Brian Myers | Published


An overlooked film from Patrick Stewart’s vast catalog of acting credits is now streaming online for free. The 1985 film Lifeforce can be seen on Tubi, Pluto, and other platforms, serving as a great opportunity for a second look at a vastly underrated film that crossed multiple genres. It’s also a chance for Star Trek: The Next Generation fans to get a look at the TV and screen legend in a film produced two years before he began donning the uniform of Captain Picard.

Patrick Stewart As Dr. Armstrong


Before he was cast in Lifeforce, Stewart had amassed dozens of film and TV credits that included science fiction and fantasy entries like Dune and Excalibur.

His supporting role in Lifeforce is the character Dr. Armstrong, the operations manager of a London psychiatric hospital.

The Story


Lifeforce begins aboard the space shuttle Churchill, where the crew of British and American astronauts discover a spaceship attached to Halley’s Comet. When crewmembers explore the craft, they discover three humanoids living in suspended animation inside glass receptacles. After taking the lifeforms with them aboard the Churchill, the crew loses contact with mission control specialists on Earth.

After a rescue mission discovers the Churchill damaged by fire, the crew members dead, and the escape pod missing, the recovery team returns to London with the three lifeforms they discovered (undamaged) on the shuttle. The plot in Lifeforce takes an interesting twist, as it’s soon revealed that the humanoids that were retrieved from space are a race of space vampires with the ability to shapeshift. After they awake, they begin terrorizing the streets of London as officials turn to an ancient relic to try to stop them.

Lifeforce Didn’t Find Life In The Theater


Lifeforce brings to life the 1976 novel Space Vampires, written by Colin Wilson. Canon Films brought in veteran horror film director Tobe Hooper to lead the action on the set, hoping his status among horror fans would vault the film above and beyond the $25 million production budget. Unfortunately, even Hooper’s chops couldn’t save the film from a poor reception at the box office, where the film was only able to make back half that amount.

Cast And Crew

Hooper, who is probably best known in the industry for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, wasn’t the only industry legend to be involved in Lifeforce. The film is brilliantly scored by Academy Award-winning composer Henry Mancini and features a solid cast of well-known American and British actors. Alongside Patrick Stewart, the film stars Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, and Frank Finlay.

Steep Competition

When Lifeforce was released, part of its poor opening was likely due to what the film was up against on competing theater screens. The Ron Howard film Cocoon dominated the box office that weekend, pushing the Tobe Hooper offering to a mediocre debut in 4th place. The critical reception didn’t do the film any favors either, as American movie reviewers largely panned the film.

A Cult Classic

But horror and science fiction fans have turned the film into a cult classic. Viewing Lifeforce on various streaming services is now possible, and several of them are free. Pluto, Tubi, and the Roku Channel all have incorporated the film into their streaming library for free viewing with ads, while Amazon Prime, Google Play, and others offer opportunities to rent or buy Lifeforce commercial-free.