Movie Name: Lifeforce
Studio: Cannon Films
Release Date(s): June 21, 1985
MPAA Rating: R
The Churchill discovers a massive ship hidden in the tail of Halley’s Comet. Colonel Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) and his crew discover three alien humanoids on board and take them back to the ship. When the Churchill returns to Earth completely destroyed except for the aliens, a plague is unleashed upon the Earth when the female alien (Mathilda May) escapes into London. The return of Colonel Tom Carlsen and the discoveries of Dr. Hans Fallada (Frank Finlay) lead Colonel Colin Caine (Peter Firth) on an attempt to stop the aliens and save the Earth.
Directed by Tobe Hooper, Lifeforce is a sci-fi horror film. The film adapts Colin Wilson’s novel The Space Vampires from 1976. The movie received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box office.
Lifeforce was always the “vampire movie with the naked lady”. The movie was a weird blend of horror and sci-fi and big mesh of a ton of movie…and it makes a strange blend of horror that does make the movie kind of watchable.
Lifeforce feels like watching a ton of other movies. The movie starts out as Alien with the ship picking up the alien which infects and kills the crew (mostly seen in flashbacks). It then turns into Dracula with Railsback’s character almost acting as Renfield to the alien vampire. The last sequence of the movie turns it into a zombie film. The plot has a weird logic and despite being borrowed, it feels logical.
The cast is rather strong for what could be considered a B-Movie. Railsback and Firth are good leads though neither are very dynamic. The movie is also known for featuring a pre-Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart as Dr. Armstrong who suffers a sad fate at the hands of the vampire woman.
The visuals for the movie are quite good. The movie not only has some great zombie effects form the life draining vampires, but also has weird scenes that don’t make much sense. At one point, the vampire woman forms out of blood from two men then collapses into a ball of blood…it is cool looking, but some of the effects feel like they are just for looks (which works in a film like this).
Lifeforce is a really uneven movie that despite its flaws is kind of fun. The movie is just a strange amalgam of other stories that when shoved together feels original. In a world of remakes and sequels, it is nice to watch something original, and Lifeforce definitely qualifies in that sense. I just wish more recent movies would recognize this.