Lifeforce (Review)


It’s a bad sign when even marketing can’t work out what to put on the poster to sell the film.

There are two reasons to watch Lifeforce – and only two – and they both reside on the upper body of an actress named Mathilda May, who plays “Space Girl”. (That’s what imdb says, I looked it up to find her name.) The rest of the flick is unforgettable at best, formulaic at other times and generally woeful the rest.

I had never heard of Lifeforce until someone one day compared it favourably with Event Horizon, one of my guilty pleasures made in the mid 90s.

Having watched it I can say there should be no comparison as this is lousy.

A joint mission is underway between the UK and US to study Halley’s comet in space (need I say “deep” space, I think being in space is deep enough). During the mission the astronauts have no direct contact with Earth due to electrical currents, or static or something, who cares? They soon spot a ship in the tail of the comet and decide to investigate further, sending in a search team to check it out.

Sound familiar yet? No. (So that’s the Alien rip out of the way.)

Anyway when near the ship they see 1,000s of giant space bats, all dried and dessicated, and later on even more amazingly three human figures, naked and encased in glass pods. Cut to:

30 days later

A shuttle freewheels into the Earth’s orbit, and even though it is intercepted before crashing all occupants are already dead. The black box is recovered for investigation.

The passengers include our three naked space-buddies and no-one else, and it might save me a few paragraphs to cut to the chase and say they are… SPAAAAAACE VAMMMMMPIRRRRRES!!!

Now the director intelligently decides to focus all attention on the hot brunette chickie space vampire, and my is she a fine specimen indeed and really the only reason to sit through this crap, even though there is a fair bit of Austin Powers’ style rude bits concealment, (too much if you ask me).

This is sorta like Species but without…. well this is just like Species really, a series of scenes with a hot half naked alien chick and precious little else.

The vampires manipulate through emotion (although the Space Girl’s main power appears her hotness) and they literally suck the life out of those they come into contact with, they can also emit stuff through their palms to stun and freeze an enemy.

Once “bitten” or drained by a vampire the infected becomes a lesser version after about 2 hours, and must feed on the living every 2 hours themselves, much like a bloodier version of diabetics.

Army “scienticians” work out that unless they are stopped the world will be overrun with the infected, but apparently they are at a loss as to how to stop them.

So here comes our hero, a shuttle escape pod conveniently drops in with the lone astronaut survivor Colonel Carlsen, who thanks to an earlier liaison can “see” what the space-chickie is doing.

A complication arises in that the space chickie can inhabit different bodies that she comes into contact with. This presents two different problems:

1. It makes it more difficult for the army to find her.
2. She is no longer the hot brunette naked chick for a lot of the movie.

They ultimately track her/it down to an asylum where old Star Trek Captain Picard himself (Patrick Stewart) is running the show, where they discover something about the virus… You waiting for it?

They can be killed through a metal stake 2 inches below the heart, and everyone infected can be released from the virus if the original space-chickie host is killed! (Hasn’t anyone ever seen a vampire movie yet in 1985?)

Even if this might sound like an OK basis on which to build a film it somehow isn’t, the virus breaks out and infects London, and the director goes for the BIG ending, and misses horribly.

This movie really reminded me of Prince Of Darkness, a John Carpenter film which was all mood and style, but had no substance and ended up boring me to death.

Only not my preferred “death by hot naked space vampire chickie”.

Final Rating – 4 / 10. 2 points for the one cool special effect that I can remember, two more for the film’s co-stars.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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