LifeForce (1985)

LifeForce (1985)

Steve Railsback as Col. Tom Carlsen
Peter Firth as Col. Colin Caine
Frank Finlay as Dr. Hans Fallada
Mathilda May as Space Girl
Patrick Stewart as Dr. Armstrong

Directed by
Tobe Hooper

Running Time:
England: 116 min | USA: 101min





Review and Summary

I remember seeing “Lifeforce” in the theater in 1985. It was somewhere after the first 15mins I remembered I was watching a Sci-Fi Horror/Vampire movie. Not because I didn’t know anything about it, but because Matilda May’s running around fully nude finished. And they were real and spectacular way before Terry Hatcher’s Seinfeld moment. But I digress.

The story is from Colin Wilson’s work titled originally “Space Vampires” later retitled. Lifeforce was a product of director Tobe Hooper, Screen Play written by Dan O’Bannon & Don Jakoby, and produced by Golan-Globus, bringers of such other forgettable features as “Masters of the Universe”, “Alien from LA”, and “Superman IV”. Tobe Hooper is also known for “Salem’s Lot” (1979), “Poltergeist” (1982), and other forays in horror and sci-fi in movies and TV.

Dan O’Bannon & Don Jakoby have multiple credits to both their names. O’Bannon is known for “Alien” (1979), “Dark Star” (1974), and “Blue Thunder” (1983). Jakoby wrote “The Philadelphia Experiment” (1984), “John Carpenter’s Vampires” (1998), and co-wrote “Blue Thunder” with O’Bannon. Hooper, O’Bannon, and Jakoby all have a number of intersecting work in the sci-fi and horror genre together.

The story starts off with a narration by the uncredited John Larroquette, surprising as he is also an uncredited narrator for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” (2006). Sensing a pattern here??

The shuttle Churchill is on a deep space mission to rendezvous with Halley’s Comet. Unexpectedly as they near the comet, they discover another ship in the corona of the comet. A ship 150 miles in size yet. So they do what good crew would do. They sidle on up to the much much larger ship of advanced technology and go onboard. Seriously, if they didn’t then where would we be for a movie now.

Once onboard the alien “Artichoke” (as it’s been described), they discover multiple bat-like creatures floating around. 6ft tall desiccated bat-like creatures that is. They continue to explore deep into the ship and find surprisingly 3 naked humans in glasslike cases. Now one of the cases contains a gorgeous nude brunette, and did I mention that everyone on the away mission is starting to feel light headed and weak. But they decide to bring them on back. So they bag up a few of the “desiccated Bats”, and somehow pry loose the 3 glass cases and treat them like take out.

We then jump back to the Churchill making Earth orbit, but funny, no communications since they last checked in before meeting up with the alien shtick. So they quickly send up another shuttle to rendezvous with the Churchill. Once there they find the interior of the ship a shambles, all the crew dead and desiccated, however, the glass cases are intact. Funny how that works? Now at this point, one would think of maybe quarantining the ship, or maybe thinking about it more?? Of course not, we wouldn’t have a movie if they did?

       NOTE TO NASA and ESA: PLEASE PLEASE watch these kinds of films and take notes before
       we head off to a manned Mars mission. I’m just saying.

So now enter the state of the art facility in London where they bring the 3 “humans” to be examined. Now seriously, I know that there is a budget, but couldn’t they have used some extra drywall and other stuff to make it look better. Not to mention if you have ever seen pictures of the Lunar Receiving lab, … ok it is a movie.

So sans any heavy duty super protective gear, the rocket scientist, biologists, and physicians endeavor to examine the 3 bodies. But before they can do that, Matilda May strikes! I can only imagine that O’Bannon, Jakoby, and Wilson asked for advice from a pubescent teen in hormone overload, or Hooper had some kind of mind storm. But after being locked up on an alien ship for however long, and being a gorgeous brunette who is built like a brick excrement house, what’s the first thing you want to do?? Correct wakeup and suck face with the security guard who is stupid enough to walk into the room. Matilda promptly makes him do an impression of a raison, and then moves on out. See she’s a Vampire, but not for blood, but for soul power!! The next 10mins are priceless as she works her way thru the facility and escapes, all fully nude. Oh, by the way, fully nude and gorgeous brunette space chicks, can walk on glass and don’t get cut. I found to really appreciate Matilda’s “body of work” and that she is a major “asset” to the film.

Now enter the other main characters of the movie. Colonel Colin Caine (Peter Firth) from the SAS, and Dr Hans Fallada (Frank Finlay), who is the chief biologist (or something like that), and who also has a degree and interest in ancient legends, folklore, and death. All good to have for a biologist that is working with alien specimens. They start to delve into what all has happened, when they are notified that Churchill’s escape pod is landing and being retrieved. Now reenter Colonel Tom Carlsen, commander of the Churchill thought to be dead with his crew.

For the rest of the film the team pursues the escaped Space Girl, while back at the lab, the 2 Space Guys wake up and begin to share their vampire love, leading to a zombie apocalypse thru London. See the Vampire sucks the life out of the victim. An hour later, almost like having Chinese, the victim awakes and must feed. Or blow up into a big blast of dust. Thus our epidemic.

Caine and Carlsen track Space Girl to a mental institution. Along the way we get some S&M as well as voyeurism to keep things interesting. It seems that Space Girl pulled a fast one. She took over the mind of a nurse from the institute who was out an about, while hiding her own body back in London.

Carlsen and Caine corner the ethereal bad girl, only to learn that she was leading them away, all the while taking over London. Now at this point we have an awesome death scene with none other than Patrick Stewart. To say it’s a bit bloody is an understatement. Kudos to the SFX team who created the effects, truly awesome!

So on to the final battle. Caine and Carlsen are both trying to find the girl’s hidden body in London. Chaos is everywhere, the Zombies are rampantly feeding and numbers are growing. Fallada gets a really good send off as he himself has been consumed and turned into one of the vampires. As he is dying, he is explaining to Caine the gist of how these creatures have been coming to Earth for centuries, each time Halley’s Comet bringing them. The only way to kill them is a lead stake/pole just below and to the right of the heart. Kind of grounds them out.

Meanwhile, Carlsen has found the vampires headquarters, in a church no less. While Caine is making his way there, gratuitously slaughtering zombies along the way, we learn that the Bat Creatures are the true form of the aliens. They are also collecting the “souls” of the victims to feed on. And like any good vampire squirrel, they are sending them up to their ship, which is charging up like a battery from all the Soul Food, pun intended.

So at the crescendo, Carlsen and Matilda are together, as she reveals that all along she used him to pattern herself and the others into a form that the astronauts would find irresistible. She only took some of his energy, but not enough to kill him, she joined with him. Kind of cool up until she goes all incest like. At this point it seems kinda really weird.

So with London destroying itself, vampires collecting souls, and what seems to be the end of the world, we have Carlsen caught up in a make out moment with Space Girl. Luckily he is able to maintain enough presence of mind to reach out to Caine. Caine throws the uber sword he got from Fallada to Carlsen, and he impales himself and Space Girl, ending the ongoing terror. Carlsen transports up with Space Girl to the orbiting ship, and he now joins them as part of the survivors.

The ship now sated with souls leaves to return to Halley’s Comet... Queue the ending theme.

Overall I love this movie. Its the kind of movie I throw on, when its gray and rainy outside, or during a snowstorm, with the lights turned down low, and a good batch of popcorn. I hope you all enjoy it.

If you liked any of these movies you will like this movie.

     Alien (1979)

     Moontrap (1989)

     Predator (1987)


If you want to add this movie to your collection as well
     here are some places you can find it..


Willys Vaults Ratings
"Bug Eyed Monster"
6 out of 10

     Overall I give them credit for a decent Uber Vampire design, but they get extra
     credit for the Matilda May Nude-a-thon .

I See The Wires"
10 out of 10

    They get credit for some awesome designs overall.

"Man In Rubber Suit"
5 out of 10

     They get partial credit for the batsuits and Matilda again.

"Oozing Mess"
10 out of 10

     The Blood Blob alone gets them full credit!

"Cheesy Acting"
8 out of 10

     The acting thru out is just awesome. They know this is a monster movie, and yet
     they all carry on in the typical British Fashion.

Total Summary
39 out of 50

     Overall LifeForce gets a 39. It’s a great flick and its entertaining. I love the whole
     concept and how they carried it out. Bravo!!

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