Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 28th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Uk/Netherlands 1974
Director: Alexander Whitelaw
Writers: Judith Rascoe, Alva Ruben
Cast: Hiram Keller, Adrian Brine, Tina Aumont, Klaus Kinski
DVD released: May 30th, 2006
Approximate running time: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Doctor Ben Land (Hiram Keller) has recently arrived in Amsterdam to work with Doctor Paul Linden a serum that can extended life for a few years or maybe even for eternity. Shortly after Doctor Land’s arrival his life is turned upside down when Doctor Linden is found dead of an apparent suicide. Undaunted Doctor Land decides to move into the dead man’s apartment and pick up right where he left off in his personal and professional life.
Lifespan is tense thriller about obtaining eternal life that vanished into obscurity after its original released over thirty years ago. The was written and directed by first time director Alexander Whitelaw who manages to drain Amsterdam of every ounce of its beauty in his stylish photography that is dream like. The films lead played by Hiram Keller portrays the character of Ben becomes so obsessed with his search for the truth that he looses sight of whom he used to be as he slowly becomes the character of Doctor Paul Linden. This type of deterioration is in many ways the prototype character we have come to expect when watching a film by David Lynch or David Cronenberg. Keller would only make a handful of films in his brief career as an actor and while his range is very limited his presence in his film is elevated by the excellent direction of Alexander Whitelaw.
Euro beauty Tina Aumont always seems to be cast in the same type of character and while she does have an interesting look about her she does leave a lot to be desired when its comes to her overall performance. Klaus Kinski is a freaking animal in many of the roles he tends to get. In Lifespan he couldn’t be more subdued as it almost seems like someone shot him with a tranquiller before every take. When I watch a film with Klaus Kinski I want to see some of that magic he is know to bring to the show unlike anyone else before or since his departure from this plain of existence. The films technical jargon might be a bit to high brow for your average cult movie fan and this is without a doubt the films greatest weakness. Fortunately there are plenty of other things in the film like Terry Riley’s excellent score which is full of moody compositions that lend themselves perfectly to the films visual eye candy. The films plot while predictable since we know long before we get to end where everything is going the ride is none the less just a thrilling and enjoyable.
Lifespan is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors are lively and black levels are strong with detail looking sharp through out. Outside of some minor edge enhancement and noticeable grain this transfer is in exceptional shape and on par with Mondo Macabro’s previous releases.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix that is in English. There are some minor instances of hiss and a moment or two when the audio seems to fluctuate. Overall the dialog is clear and the music and effects sound balanced.
Extras for this release include the films original trailer, a stills gallery and text notes about the film written by Pete Tombs. Other extras include a twenty minute interview with Alexander Whitelaw which serves a nice companion piece to the audio commentary which he recorded for this DVD release. Alexander Whitelaw is a phenomenal speaker who has strong memory that recalls even the smallest detail. Both of these extras offer plenty insight into the making of Lifespan, working with Klaus Kinski and how Alexander Whitelaw got into the movie business.
Mondo Macabro continues to rescue some of cinema’s most obscure and bizarre entities and give them the red carpet treatment that has eluded them for far too long. Lifespan is a thriller/Sci-Fi hybrid that ultimately delivers a chilling answer to those who seek eternal life, recommended.