Lifeforce: Also known as the All-Nude Space Vampire Review!
Directed in 1985 by Tobe Hooper, the man behind the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre flick, Lifeforce is a film all about the hazards of bringing back naked supermodels from alien ships. Sure, it's a rather narrow field of moralizing, but when you're up in space and some chick is jiggling her jubblies in zero-G, you'll remember what this film taught you. In case you haven't figured it out already, this film belongs to a huge but mostly unspoken horror subgenre known as "sexy horror." Far too many horror films revolve around something sexual...from Species to Flesh for Frankenstein...it's all about sex. Lifeforce seems to take that a bit further becoming almost softcore porn in a few places. The movie's in three acts each holding their own special charm. Before we get into the different parts of this film, let's see what we can figure out about this film from it's posters.
Poster #1 (pictured to the right) could be about ANY alien film ever made. Or it's about a giant eyeball about to attack a tiny planet. I just don't know.
Poster #2: (pictured to the left)
Hmmm. Apparently, Lifeforce is a film all about finding naked topless women in space. While I will tell you that's sort of accurate, I wouldn't say that's what this movie's about. Also note that the naked MEN in the other two crystals can't really be seen, but the girl's perfectly clear. No surprise there. I swear to God, if Hollywood had it's way, all important financial decisions would be handled by our crotches. Anyway, I wonder what Poster #3 will tell us?
Poster #3: (Pictured to the Right)
Oh. My. God. According to this poster, Lifeforce is about nude women chained to space vibrators that are being shot out of a giant scab in space. What I love about this poster is that it's completely obvious that whoever designed it did NOT see the movie or even know the plot beyond "some astronauts possibly find a naked woman in space." Personally I kind of dig the artist's wavelength...more movies need women chained to space-dildos. That said, let's clear up some of the poster-confusion and get into explaining this bad boy.
Act 1: All Souls Must Be Eaten.
The film opens with a group of British & American astronauts visiting Halley's Comet and finding a weird alien ship directly behind it. Within, they find two things: Dead Giant Bat Monsters and a naked woman encased in glass. Did I mention how lonely these guys are? The astronauts also find two naked men encased in glass but they're talked about far less, because, as you might have noticed, they're men. Something goes wrong and NASA (or whatever England calls their "I wish we had a space program" organization) finds the three nudies in glass but all the crew are missing/dead. So, there's a mystery afoot. They decide to perform an autopsy on, of course, the naked girl (played by "actress" Mathilda May). They're pretty sure it's some sort of disease, so they send a guy in wearing protective gear. And yet...Well, take a look:
Someone so gave this guy the short straw. Either that or the people in England just can't afford decent hazmat suits. "Hey Charles, would you mind going and taking a look at that naked alien corpse? You know, the one that was with all those dead people. We think it may be infectious. Make sure you wear your best suit and tie." His autopsy doesn't go that well, but it does introduce us to the main antagonist...and the reason some people often say "OMG I LIKES THE BOOBIES" when they recall this film.
Say hello to "Space Woman" who does NOT wear any clothing in this film, despite the large amount of screen time she gets. Basically, the girl wakes up, kisses the doctor, sucks out his soul and walks away. Thus, the hijinks of horny old security guards stumbling across a naked woman. Mathilda May (who also doesn't have more than 3 lines in this film) is apparently a "space vampire," sucking out people's souls and making them into zombies who want souls. Of course, ANOTHER doctor runs into a zombie on the operating table. The zombie starts wailing and moaning hungrily while this doctor just stands there slack jawed and mesmerized. Now, it is NOT established that the zombies have ANY sort of mind-control power, so it's up to you to wonder why the doctor stares at the zombie (who for all the world looks like he wants a hug) until he walks over to it and let it kiss him (and suck out his soul). Personally, I think adding dialogue to the scene makes it infinitely more entertaining:
I swear to Christ, that's not a big stretch of the imagination, since the camera cuts back and forth from the crying zombie to the confused doctor until the two start making out. I think this was the point that I fell in love with this film. Any movie where characters WILLINGLY choose to kill themselves by making out with the undead is an awesome one. Homoerotic zombie lovin'. Neat.
There's more going on in the first act, ranging from a psychotically New Age guy in charge of the British NASA organization to the fact that one astronaut from the spaceflight seems to be found alive and having nightmares involving having rough sex with Mathilda May (of course she's nude), including her sucking out his seed during sex (no joke). But, this film is really about two thing: Sexiness and Astral Venereal Disease. The space vampire creates a zombie every time she kills, and that zombie creates more zombies, etc. Of course one of her first victims is yet another naked woman (some lesbian she found naked in the park by coincidence). So of course this film has hot zombie boob action. Something tells me director Tobe Hooper either needs to get laid or he's getting laid too much and it's bleeding into his work. Gah. So let's take a break from Mathilda's slutty soul-guzzling nude antics and see what Act 2 has for us.
Act 2: More Sex and one very scary melting Patrick Stewart.
Apparently, the Space Vampire (naked Mathilda) can switch bodies now. Basically, this is an excuse to introduce new actors to take off their clothes. I'm surprised more movies don't do this. "Um, why is the lead being played by a different actor in this scene?" "He can switch bodies....shut the hell up." Through the magic of hypnotism (via the New Age NASA guy), the scientists know where she is. She's in an asylum for the criminally insane that looks a lot like an ordinary apartment building. In fact, I don't know why they even had to add that little fact, since it's so obviously crap, what with the people in the building picking up hitchhikers as they go for evening strolls. Basically, the NASA folks are convinced that this random girl has the spirit of the Space Vampire in her so they decide to beat and rape the devil out of her. Tobe Hooper = issues with women. The Space Vampire's spirit ends up in the Asylum's warden as played by Patrick Stewart (you know, Captain Pickard from Star Trek) who completely out-acts every other person in the film despite the fact that he's only got a handful of lines. But, oh, what little gems of dialogue we get from him. Mathilda, in the body of Patrick Stewart, starts declaring her love for the astronaut. You haven't lived until you've seen Patrick Stewart strapped to table flutter his eyelashes seductively and tell you that he loves you. I take that back...actually, it's downright disturbing.
To make a long story short, they decide to fly the now sedated Patrick Stewart/Space Vampire back to London and figure out what they should do next. Along the way he sort of melts and vomits up a gelatinous and bloody (and very nude) Mathilda who explodes (apparently making her escape and not, as it would appear, that she just exploded).
Act 3: Sorry, Can't Help You...I'm Getting Laid.
So the soul-sucking zombie plague (complete with zombie nun) has taken over London (which is a quarantine zone) and the nude Mathilda is the "power battery" sucking up the souls and sending the energy to the alien ship up in space. It's a race against time and the NASA guys don't know where to find her.....
despite the fact that there's a building with a column of light shooting out of it. I could make a joke about how you could see this thing from orbit, but the fact of the matter is that YOU CAN SEE THIS THING FROM ORBIT.
There's also a great subplot about the New Age guy randomly stabbing his security guards in the chest because they were "possessed by the space vampires." I sort of forgot to mention that the two naked Space Vampire MEN got up and started walking around...but they sort of got blown up/decided to possess some of the NASA soldiers...or something. Point is, there's no sign of it in the film, not really. So when the New Age guy starts going on about how he had to murder his men because they had to be possessed, it looks more than a little dodgy.
The astronaut that survived and that has the psychic link to the Space Vampire finds her. He gets separated from the NASA guy who has to deal with a giant monster bat. That taken care of, he looks in on his friend who seems to be MAKING SWEET LOVE TO MATHILDA THE SPACE VAMPIRE. He starts shouting thing ranging from "Kill Her!" to "What the crap are you doing?" to "Are you at least going to save the world when you're done screwing her?" Of course, he's doing it because he also has Space Vampire blood in him...which is the best this film can do for a surprise ending. Loverboy ends up impaling the two of them together mid-coitus, which is pretty important because it tells you that the film is over.
I liked this movie. Any movie that is so undeniably about showing off a person's breasts as well as putting those breasts inside Patrick Stewart is nothing short of stupendous. This film also seems to have taught me about having a physical relationship with a zombie...if you must, you should try to wear protection, no matter what he tells you.
Now to go find a movie where they stuff William Shatner with a naked woman...
Copyright 2005 jared hindman who does not hold copyright over these pictures and is using them purely for review and masturbatory purporses.