The space shuttle Churchill is assigned to observe Halley's Comet under the command of Colonel Tom Carlsen. They see a strange form attached to the comet and Carlsen goes with a team to investigate. They find three humanoid life forms in caskets and they bring them to the Churchill. However, Earth loses contact with the shuttle and the Space Research Center sends another spacecraft to search the Churchill. They find the crew dead and the shuttle burnt and one rescue pod missing. They bring the humanoids to Earth and soon Dr. Hans Fallada and his team discover that the Space Girl is a sort of vampire and drains the life force from people, transforming them into zombies. When the authorities find that Colonel Tom Carlsen has survived, they summon him to explain what happened in the Churchill. Carlsen tells an incredible story about the three aliens and he teams up with Colonel Colin Caine trying to save mankind from the evil vampires from space.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Full-size models were made of the three nude aliens for the wide shots of them in their glass cases. Tobe Hooper joked in the DVD commentary track that Mathilda May's body model is a high-ticket collector's item. See more »
The vampire girl is hiding in St Paul's Cathedral, but the blue beam she's emitting appears to emanate from the dome of Greenwich Observatory. See more »
The web of destiny carries your blood and soul back to the genesis of my lifeform.
See more »
Tobe Hooper's director's cut was 128 mins when the film was cut to 116 mins mostly scenes on the spaceship Churchill were cut See more »
Like several other reviewers here, I'm surprised to see many negative reviews on this film. Dan O'Bannon's previous effort was the groundbreaking 'Alien' of 1979. Because it and 'Star Wars' introduced the stylistic approach of 'Used' or 'Dirty Space' in art-direction for these kinds of features doesn't mean that this was the only way to produce them.
Rather than dismiss 'Lifeforce' out-of-hand as a sort of schlock and primitive exploitation feature, it's important to recognize that the film draws upon the 'esteemed' traditions of British horror and science-fiction - specifically Hammer and American International features like Quatermass (specifically 'Quatermass and the Pit', 1967), Doctor Who and 'The Day of the Triffids' (1963), if not the works of Gerry Anderson ('UFO', 'Space:1999' and 'Thunderbirds'). But none of these influences would be a surprise if other reviewers recognized writer O'Bannon's genre-scholarly appreciation for 'Queen of Blood'(1966) and 'It! The Terror from Beyond Space'(1958) - the immediate sources for 'Alien' (1979).
Granted this film has some 'legacy' elements, but perhaps it's worth comparing this film to its more immediate peers - 1981's 'An American Werewolf in London' and 'The Company of Wolves' (1984) - other 80's films that share a 'looking-back' while they adapt those stories to the 80's zeitgeist. All three films drew on earlier incarnations of the same, but substantially sexed-up their themes (because they could), and, at the same time they recognized the tongue-in-cheek, humorous aspects of their projects.
Neil Jordan's 'Wolves' played to many of the psychoanalytic memes floating around at the during the '80's, while 'American Werewolf' curdled its theme as a 'coming-of-age' film. It's called artistic license, and the adaptations of these three films are no less valid than the latter-day dramedy inherent in the 'Scream' franchise, 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and 'Final Destination'. But these teen-targeted, films seem to be part of a box-office trend, whereas the 80's films like 'Lifeforce' belong a canon of British sci-fi - even if this one was written by an American.
In many ways this film holds up much better than latter-day disaster and alien-invasion flicks ('Independence Day', 'Armageddon', 'Deep Impact') in that the 'solutions' don't reside in gun-battles, weaponized payloads and testosterone. At the opposite end of the pole, it is unfortunate that Steven Soderbergh and James Cameron didn't examine Tarkowski and Lem more closely before they remade 'Solaris'...
The goal of this film was fun, not ponderousness or stupidity.
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