Lifeforce review

Banana Rating: 4 out of 5

Life­force is based on a book called The Space Vam­pires, by Colin Wilson. As the film’s cred­its roll, you might be mis­taken for think­ing it was actu­ally based on a book called The Sexy Nude Space Vam­pires. There's a lot of nudity in the delightful form of a young Math­ilda May (playing the sexy nude space vampire), prowl­ing the streets of Lon­don and the sur­round­ing country roads with her boobs out, sedu­cing eld­erly farm­ers who can’t quite believe their luck. Thank­fully, the eld­erly farm­ers remain fully clothed.

But how did it ever come to this? I’m glad you asked. It starts with a mis­sion to Haley’s Comet aboard a space shuttle called Churchill. Once there, the crew dis­cover some­thing lurk­ing in the comet, a huge space­ship filled with dead ali­ens, and three humanoid creatures wear­ing not a stitch of cloth­ing, encased in glass coffins.

Because the crew don’t real­ise they’re in a movie, they go for the dumb option, and decide to take the three glass coffins back to Earth. It’s not so much a mis­sion dic­tated by sci­ence and a thirst for know­ledge, more by the cap­tain of the shuttle pop­ping a boner when he claps eyes on Math­ilda May’s knockers.

"I feel invig­or­ated," he says. Yeah, sure you do. Other mem­bers of the crew com­plain of feel­ing “drained”. I sus­pect, with Math­ilda stored for all etern­ity in the spank bank, they might’ve vis­ited the space toi­let off cam­era to crack one out.

Back on Earth, the vamps escape cap­tiv­ity, giv­ing a clutch of deadly ser­i­ous Brit­ish thespi­ans the run­around in Lon­don. The likes of Frank Fin­lay, Patrick Stew­art (in not much more than a cameo, sadly) and Peter Firth seem entirely unaware that they’re in a cheesy sci-fi hor­ror movie. Or maybe their com­mend­able earn­est­ness in the face of such sil­li­ness is just a sign of the true pro­fes­sional: they might not be star­ring in a Shakespeare play, but you wouldn’t think so to watch them. They simply get on with the busi­ness of act­ing, the sort of thing they can do in their sleep, even with lim­ited material.

Indeed, when Math­ilda May body swaps, and ends up fully dressed, it takes some skill for an actor to make the line, “And now she has clothes!” sound utterly fore­bod­ing. Some­how, Peter Firth man­ages it. I’m sure I detec­ted a slight flicker of dis­ap­point­ment in his eyes though.

The premise, that vam­pires ori­gin­ated from outer space and have vis­ited Earth before, giv­ing rise to the folk­lore that we know and love today, is an inter­est­ing one. I’m sur­prised it hasn’t really been done since, at least not to my know­ledge. Life­force doesn’t explore the idea to any great extent, save for some philo­soph­ical mus­ings from Fin­lay, as it’s more inter­ested in nud­ity, carnage, and over the top light shows.

I'm not complaining. The movie has bags of energy and B-movie charm to spare. And it's a film I revisit every so often when I'm in the mood for some unashamed schlock.