Picture this… it’s 1985 and script writers need some ideas (well, when I put it that way, it’s 2011 and script writers still need some ideas!) Halley’s Comet is coming around in a year and there’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding it. It only shows up once every 75 years, and it’s one of the few true mysteries that are still floating around in our solar system – why not write some movies about it? “Night of the Comet” already covered the zombies aspect so let’s write our script about space vampires (actually, it’s based off of a 1976 novel called “Space Vampires” of all things, but this is my review dammit so keep your hoity-toity literature insight to yourself)! We don’t want to keep the title “Space Vampires” though, it might sound too cheesy. Let’s change the title to LifeForce instead, and we’ll make the connection between vampires and Halley’s Comet down below the break. Also, be warned that some of the images below the break may be NSFW
Here we go, another vampire movie review. Kinda getting old huh? It seems like that’s all we’ve done recently (and I say “recently” because we haven’t reviewed much more than our fingernail clippings and tooth decay recently), but let’s face it… There are what seem to be a million and one horror movies about vampires out there, so maybe we’re just finally climbing on the hype train for vampires after it’s already left the station. Anyhow, on with the review:
A British and American joint shuttle mission (aboard the shuttle Churchill) is up above the earth’s atmosphere doing a little research on the comet when they notice something weird seemingly clinging onto the front of it. They get a radar readout and see that it’s a craft of some sort, seemingly organic. The crew is able to get the shuttle close enough to do a spacewalk and investigate the craft from a little closer perspective. Col. Tom Carlsen takes his crew into an open spot and sees hundreds of dead bat like creatures, and they’ve been drained of all of their fluids. While investigating, a portal opens up and the crew decides to go inside to check out whats actually in the inner layer of the ship. They discover three naked human figures, two male and one female enclosed in some sort of crystal cases. They are all drawn to the figures immediately and loosen their cases and bring them back upon the ship. 30 days later the shuttle is due to arrive back on earth, but when they hear no radio communication, another shuttle is dispatched to dock up with them and find out what went wrong. The entire crew of the original shuttle is found to be burnt to a crisp and the three alien figures are brought back to earth. Curiously, however, the escape pod from the shuttle is missing.
On earth things start to heat up. The containers and crew land in London, and Col. Collin Caine (Peter Firth) is brought in with SAS to investigate these figures and the problem on the shuttle. The figures are brought in for autopsy as they haven’t appeared awake the entire time that they’ve been on earth. Just before the autopsy is set to begin, a guard is drawn to the female figure (Mathilda May), and as he reaches to pull off her sheet she awakens and starts to suck the energy from his body and drains the “lifeforce” from him – leaving him a dried up, emaciated husk. She then almost repeats the process on a doctor before she escapes the compound – nude. After she escapes she leaves another dried up victim in a park. While these aren’t vampires in the traditional sense, they don’t want blood, but they do want your life’s energy. The British SAS retrieve the victim and notice that after 2 hours, they spring back to life trying to then suck the energy from other living beings. When they’re unable to get the energy they need to survive they dry up and die horrific deaths by exploding into dust. Meanwhile, the escape pod from space shuttle Churchill arrives back on earth, containing Col. Carlsen! Once recovered, Carlsen is brought to London and put under hypnosis so he can tell Caine what exactly happened on the ship. He shares while on the shuttle that he took a part of the energy from female vampire and he now shares a psychic link with her, and he will help find her and end her reign of terror.
As you can see, I spend the last 2 long paragraphs just trying to summarize what this movie was about, in a nutshell. It’s pretty convoluted at and there are a lot of twists and turns where you won’t know exactly where anything is going. What starts out looking like a space movie, turns into a vampire movie, and the last hour is essentially a zombie movie with crazy zombie vampire things running around ravaging everyone. The movie itself seems like it’s confused on exactly what it’s supposed to be, although it attempts to be as clear as possible as to what’s going on.
It’s a fun movie, and I was really impressed with the level of sophistication of the special effects, especially considering this was made 25 years ago. Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) directs, and unfortunately lets things ramble. It’s hard to say whether the source material or the screen writing was to blame, but the movie clocks in just under 2 hours and the ending leaves a lot to be desired.
When I saw the opening credits and saw that Patrick Stewart was listed, I thought maybe I’d see him with hair and kept looking for him. He was just his regular old grey hair balded headed self, but he has a pretty cool part, regardless. For you horndogs out there, Matilda May is nude in about 90% of her role and let me say… wow. She’s pretty damned near perfect. Thanks to the nudity, the action, the special effects, and the confusing yet thankfully interesting story, LifeForce is worth the 2 hours, and worth 3 perfect boobs out of 5.