Shaun vs. Lifeforce (1985)

life1Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring Steve Railsback, Mathilda May, Peter Firth and Patrick Stewart

A space crew on a mission to Halley’s comet discover three humanoid life forms asleep on an alien ship.  The crew is killed in a fire en route back to Earth although the bodies found miraculously survive then come to life and suck the life force (!) out of their victims.  Looks like we have a case of space vampires.  Sexy space vampires.

In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.

The film begins with the space ship Churchill as it’s en route on it’s mission to intercept Halley’s comet.  I’m not sure exactly what they’re looking for, but everyone on board is excited none the less.  Though an energy field disrupts their communications, they decide to continue their mission and transport down to the comet’s surface.  They discover what appears to be an alien ship and when they enter, they find giant bat-like creatures, floating dead inside, blood drained long ago from space.  If that’s not exciting enough, they also discover three humanoid bodies, one female and two males, asleep in crystal…I want to say, coffins?  We’ll go with coffins.  Colonel Carlsen (Railsback,) leading the mission, instantly becomes infatuated with the woman as he first lays eyes on her.  Pretty creepy vibe when she’s sleeping in the nude, dude.


Sucked dry.

The bodies are brought onto the ship and the film fast forwards a month when the ship arrives back in orbit of Earth.  A shuttle is sent to investigate the ship and they find the bodies of all the crew members aboard, charred to crisp — everyone except Carlsen, who is later found in an escape pod.  The bodies in the coffins survived as well and they are brought into an army base for study.  Before an autopsy on the female body can begin, she wakes up, seduces the pathologist and literally sucks the life out of the guy, leaving him a dried up husk.  (I ain’t saying she a gold digger.)  The bodies aren’t actually dead though as they can still feed off human energy and need to do so in order to live.  It usually involves someone getting awfully close and kissing them on the lips, which is different, but they are space vampires!  Or zombies.  They might be sexy space zombies.  The female space girl (seriously, that’s her name in the credits) escapes the command base with her magical powers and impressive bust size, I assume.



On her trail is SAS Col. Caine (Firth) who is put in charge of investigating these events and later recruits Carlsen to help him.  Carlsen displays a psychic link to the girl and together they use that link to track her down as she is now able to jump into others’ bodies.  Carlsen, madly in love with the space girl, is fighting his urges to be with her and you never know if you can fully trust him.  While they are on the hunt, the other two vampire bodies awaken with the intention of spreading a zombie-like plague in London and beyond.


I bet he’d rather be in outer space right now.

Looking into the background of the film, there was a LOT going wrong for it.  Over budget and running out of money, still shooting weeks after initial filming was supposed to end and a cast and crew that were tired of this shit, I expected the worst from the film.  Surprisingly, the first half of the film has a great set up, well done special and practical effects throughout although the movie comes off more like a romantic drama at times more than a sci-fi horror film.  I was all aboard the space vampire train until the film started getting a little more convoluted and silly towards the final act, but then the film gets crazy bloody with tons of zombies/vampires/whatever running all over the place while London is getting blown up.  It’s a little overlong at two hours but overall Lifeforce was a decent watch and certainly better than I expected.


Now that is a space vampire!


Story: 6 – Starts off great with space vampires running loose on Earth, gets silly towards the end but then you forget about it with a splash of blood and lots explosions to make you forget about it.

Blood: 7 – Not really super gory until the end, the movie provides dismemberments, gun shot wounds and Patrick Stewart’s head gushing out all the blood in his body.  Poor bugger.

Nudity: 10 – Mathilda May is gorgeous…and nude in 90% of her scenes.

Overall: 6 – I was wary going in but it sucked me in with good storytelling and Mathilda May and although I wasn’t the biggest fan of where the movie went towards the end, it wrapped up nicely and was worth the watch.


-Before credited screenwriters Dan O’Bannon and Don Jacoby were brought in, the script had gone through eight drafts.

-Mathilda May is only in the movie for seven minutes.  But what a glorious seven minutes!

-The film’s production was shut down once due to funds running out on the eventual $25 million picture.

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