Lifeforce (1985)


Steve Railsback and Peter Firth star in this film by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist) that revolves around an invasion of London by, well… space vampires. Railsback heads the space exploration team that finds the humanoid creatures on an alien ship, but once the creatures arrive on Earth they begin sucking the lifeforce out of everyone who crosses their path. Hooper said he wanted to make a big-budget Hammer movie, and that’s essentially what Lifeforce is — a low-budget genre concept given lavish production values.

The storytelling feels rushed at times, and the film editing haphazard in spots, but it doesn’t diminish the fun for those of us who enjoy good sci-fi or horror yarns. The mechanical and visual effects are outstanding. When the vampires prey on people’s living essence, we see the victims turn into withered husks. The effect has an old EC Comics quality about it — as cartoonish as it is gory. Henry Mancini offers a memorable march for the film and the cast of reliable character actors includes Patrick Stewart as a possessed hospital director and Frank Finlay as a fascinated scholar whose insight proves to be of value. Newcomer Mathilda May plays the lead, female vampire and appears nude throughout the entire film. There’s no denying that her physical attributes are another highlight of the movie.

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