Recap #317: Lifeforce (1985)
Title: Lifeforce (1985)
Summary: IT’S VAMPIRES. BUT IN SPACE.
Tagline: The Cinematic Sci-Fi event of the Eighties [What a goddamn blatant lie…]
Note: There are several versions of this film with run times of various lengths, depending on if it was the original theatrical cut, the European theatrical cut, or the “Director’s Cut”. The “Director’s Cut” was available to me, so that’s what I chose to recap.
Also, yes, that is the theatrical poster. A bit misleading in some sense. [JC: While not accurate in the literal sense, I feel it captures the spirit of the movie.] But yeah, the art got WAY TONED DOWN for American audiences and did away with the naked women chained to space pods. [Wing: Damn puritanical cultures.] [Raven: I mean, that’s the best part, right?]
I honestly don’t remember where I came across this; it was only very recently that I learned of its existence. I was probably looking for a werewolf film to recap for Snark at the Moon! and saw this on some list and got intrigued, and you know what they say, curiosity killed the bat.
Man, you’d think I’d have learned by now. Nope. [Wing: You’d think all of us would have learned, but here we are.]
Instead of a long running preamble, I’m just going to state this film was generally fucked from the start and instead of being a box office hit, it was a nuclear bomb. Kind of fitting for SPACE VAMPIRES. No, really, that’s the title of the novel that this film was “based” upon. I kind of want to read it. I know it will be absolutely horrible. [Raven: What’s the novel about?]
I know some people have made parallels to vampires being “alien”-like; I’ve never associated vampires with space. Parasites that are “vampire-like” from space? Absolutely. Actual fucking blood-drinking undead vampires from space? Nope. So I guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to watch this, to see what the hell the writers/director/cast are trying to make viewers believe are SPACE VAMPIRES. Also, the co-writer of Alien wrote this screenplay? Explains why it looks and feels like a cheap rip-off. [JC: I kept thinking it looked like Return of the Living Dead. Which came out the same year this did, and so neither could have ripped off the other. Must be one of those collective unconscious things.]
Okay here’s the theatrical trailer:
Something tells me this film became grade A fapping material for hundreds of people.
Yet again, I have asked friends
who haven’t learned from past recaps to come along for the ride and add commentary, because what’s a bad movie without extra snark? [JC: I don’t know how the others felt, but bat has redeemed herself for me with this one. It wasn’t exactly good, but it was entertaining in a “wtf” way, and made me laugh out loud continuously throughout the first half. At absolutely nothing that the filmmakers intended to be humorous, I’m sure.]
[Wing: I enjoyed the hell out of this even though I also rolled my eyes and shouted at it.]
[Raven: It was a film, that’s for sure.] [Dove: I feel asleep during bits of it. Missing key parts of plot made this a bit of a challenge.]
Oh, the good old MGM “roaring lion” logo! Yay. Probably the only thing about this I will enjoy? Wait, this seems to be the newer CGI’d version. Damn it. OH WELL. Not off to an ambitious start with this recap, are we. [Raven: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Puss!]
(On my second and subsequently last so far vacation to Las Vegas, I totally wanted to see the MGM lions in their “habitat display” in the MGM Grand hotel. Guess what? THE LIONS WERE ON VACATION. No shit. They weren’t there. I was super disappointed.)
[Wing: Next time you’ll have to coordinate with them!] [bat: Unfortunately there was an incident and they retired the lions to a sancutary outside Vegas, so yeah. But I just remember I have cuddled a baby tiger for over an hour and I am fine with missing out on the lions.]
Ah, THE CANNON GROUP. The same group that gave us the ground-breaking films Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Neither of which I have viewed, on principle. Though this is the same group that also gave us those really weird but gorgeously detailed films based on traditional fairy tales under the “Cannon Movie Tales” banner like Red Riding Hood with the really cool man-to-wolf transformation, Beauty and the Beast with Rebecca de Mornay, and The Frog Prince with little orphan Annie herself, Aileen Quinn. I’m still very pissed that last film has never been released on DVD.
For some reason the logo always makes me think of OCP from Robocop and I always confuse the two.
Oh, right, back to the film at hand. We’re clearly in the vacuum of space, floating over… asteroids? Intense orchestral music is playing. The title appears, flying at the viewer, before it makes a whoosh-zoom noise and the credits begin to roll.
Oh good god, Captain Picard is in this. [JC: That’s how this movie got on my radar 20+ years ago, although I never bothered to watch more than a couple minutes of it on late-night TV.] I’m not joking. Patrick Stewart is in this film. Beyond him, I recognize no other names. This is another bad omen, not knowing any of the actors. I also guess we’re floating over one big fucking rock, because this is still going on and on.
[Wing: I cheered when I saw Captain Picard. Ah, the nostalgia of Star Trek. Also, something about these terrible asteroid shots reminds me of one of the Giant Asteroid Will Destroy the Earth movies — Armageddon, I think — so I’m a tiny bit concerned that future moviemakers may have taken inspiration from this.]
[Raven: Peter Firth is pretty well known in the UK. Mainstay of Spooks, and played the horse-fucker in the original Equus.]
The screen goes black before we are shown a “star field” and given a date and time: August 9th, 2:30pm, GMT. What, no date? I guess we don’t want to date it. Okay. Neither does the book, apparently. Just “the 21st century”. WELL WE’RE IN IT RIGHT NOW.
Something like the Challenger Space craft with huge solar panel wings flies/floats/orbits around in front of the camera. It is named the HMS Churchill (….okay) and is manned by a joint British and American team. Firstly, when did the UK get a space programme? Secondly… okay there is no second thing. WAIT HOLD ON THERE IS A SECOND THING. HMS is short for “His Majesty’s Ship”. DID THIS BOOK PREDICT THE DEATH OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II?? Okay, fake conspiracy takes aside, yes, I know it can also stand for “Her Majesty’s Ship”. It’s just real weird right now, adjusting to a King of England, okay?
[Wing: Transition of the crown is a good time to get rid of a monarchy. You know, theoretically.]
The HMS Churchill, as it were, is investigating Halley’s comet, as depicted as a glowing green streaky blob on screen. Wow. Such special effects. Well, I spoke too soon. They got around the crew floating on the ship by saying it’s powered by some special engine that creates gravity. Boo. [JC: Also, they keep pronouncing it “hay-lee” when it’s supposed to be pronounced so it rhymes with “valley.” It’s one of those things I’m super pedantic about, and thus it annoys me more than it should.] [Wing: … I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it pronounced correctly.] [Raven: From Wiki… “Comet Halley is commonly pronounced /ˈhæli/, rhyming with valley, or /ˈheɪli/, rhyming with daily.” And as a UK child of the seventies / eighties, I knew it as rhymes-with-daily’s comet.]
Anyway, everyone’s working real hard, poking buttons and looking at screens as they twirl about in space, headed towards Halley’s comet. Suddenly, there’s something odd about the comet that’s showing up on radar. Something that is 150 miles long is hiding in the comet’s head. It looks like an arrow. Kind of… weird for a space ship? [Wing: It’s aerodynamic. Or something.]
There’s discussion of calling base and some arguing about talking about the 150 mile long, 2 mile high “object” hiding. But they can’t get a message out because of the coma winds. Okay. They’re in a TOTAL BLACKOUT! [Raven: And how long is the blackout for…? FOREVER! Seriously, you’d think they’d have planned for this shit before taking off.] [Dove: And we thought the “there’s no cellphone reception out here” trope was relatively recent. Behold how wrong we were.]
I just want to say, these background space paintings are terrible and do not hold up at all. [JC: I found them charming in their outdatedness.]
A decision is made to “go in”, I guess they’re talking about the “foreign hidden object” that has suddenly appeared on screen, since it won’t be back for another 76 years. Based on that alone, this film is either set in 1986 or 2061 (which I could very likely live to see, which is kind of a scary thought, based on how old I’ll be in 2061.)
I feel like they were riffing on the green glow of the Alien poster for this film but it’s way too green and too bright and I keep thinking the screen has been slimed. Anyway, the HMS Churchill shuts down the engine that makes gravity work (oop there goes gravity) and everyone’s tethered into their seats to yet again get around that pesky problem of weightlessness in space. It also means the tacky solar panels are retracted. The HMS Churchill continues to twirl
towards freedom in space.
As the HMS Churchill approaches the, well, it’s a UFO basically, it is dwarfed by the size of the UFO. Its exterior looks vaguely organic and inorganic simultaneously. *cough* Alien rip-off *cough* [JC: It kept reminding me of The Black Hole, actually. Hey, that’s what this movie needed – Roddy McDowall voicing a sassy robot!] Frankly, this hold zero suspense for the viewer. There’s nothing particularly alien about this UFO. Except the choice in the tail of the vessel. What the ever living actual fuck is it supposed to look like?
Suddenly, without warning or explanation, four crew members are exiting the HMS Churchill through a suspiciously-shaped COFFIN DOOR. So subtle. I applaud you. All are wearing big bulky EVA suits, floating through space towards the UFO, and it looks so incredibly fake. Like, I’ve seen a lot of space-centric films and this just doesn’t hold up in the believe-ability department. Firstly, they are moving way too fucking fast through space as they ponder where the UFO came from. [Raven: While watching this, I thought the special effects were decent, for the time of release. Because I thought it was a film from the mid seventies. But no, it was released in 1985. That’s a full year after Ghostbusters and Gremlins, and both run RINGS around this bullshit in the SFX department. Then again, 1984 was the best year ever for cinema, and it’s not particularly close. I’m willing to die on this hill.]
Secondly, the closer the crew gets to the UFO, it looks damaged and broken. This apparently means the UFO has “been here a long time”. Uh, okay? They declare it “derelict” and if you don’t hear that word in Mugatu’s voice, then we can’t be friends.
Anyway, they announce they’re going in as they speed down a weird, almost flesh-like tunnel, and now everything’s bathed in a red glow. Even the female crew member announces it looks like a “giant artery”. SUBTLE. [Wing: I still can’t shake the image of them birthing themselves into an alien space.] [Raven: I got The Boys Season 3 Episode 1 flashbacks.] [Dove: Jean Jacket is what I got. I won’t be more specific than that, since it’s a fairly new movie.]
Soon they come to a massive chamber filled with mist. Video is supposedly capturing this, as well as informing the rest of the crew remaining on the HMS Churchill what is inside. THIS CAN’T BODE WELL. Also, what a cheap knock off of Alien this is. I’m sorry. Don’t deny it. There’s all kinds of pods, for lack of a better word, hanging around the walls of the UFO. The crew announces they’ve found the occupants of the ship.
We see a huge object with wings floating mid-screen. Multiple versions are seen floating around behind it. It’s unmistakable, the leathery wings. “They look like bats! Giant bats!” There’s hundreds of these creatures, all floating, lifeless. Someone suggests they look prehistoric. Um, HOW. One of the crew reaches out and rips one of the fingers off. “Completely desiccated!” Apparently space is very dehydrating. Someone tell Elon Musk to make sure there’s moisturizer onboard when he heads to Mars.
I’m barely 7 minutes into this and it is so stupid I want to cry.
Apparently now their EVA suits move real slowly. This is so inconsistent. The crew decides to “bag” this specimen and take it back to the HMS Churchill. Yeah, that will end well. And by “bag” they mean NET. What is this, a My Little Pony ‘n’ Friends cartoon?? NETS/CAGES HOW DO THEY WORK??
Back on the HMS Churchill, as the remaining crew watches their coworkers wrap a “bag” around the “giant bat” [JC: It’s human-sized. It looked much bigger when they were farther away.] [Wing: A human-sized bat still sounds pretty giant. Except for our bat, who is almost but not quite human size.] [bat: I am pocket-sized, perfect for mischief!] [Dove: You’re human-sized to me. Wing is bringing her tallness to the table.] they’ve found, a shadow crosses in front of the ship’s windows. Everyone is freaked by the sight of a huge bone-like tail – very scorpion-like – appearing. They call it quote a “big structure” that’s unfolding. Oh man, the dialogue is terrible.
Back in the UFO, a blasting white light comes from one end of the chamber, startling the crew. The female crew member is sensible; she says they should leave. Carlsen, the captain I supposed, demands they stay put as he asks the HMS Churchill what’s happening. The crew describe it as a “giant umbrella” that has opened.
Okay, so space vampires like umbrellas. I’ll make a note. [Dove: Ella. Ella. Ella. Eh. Eh.]
Said umbrella is doing nothing. It is “not metal” and radar transparent. Carlsen demands to be informed of any activity, if anything happens. Somehow I doubt it will. Carlsen turns towards the bright white light and says that’s where they’re going. Isn’t a bright light in a tunnel usually associated with dying? Because I feel like this movie isn’t being subtle at all.
Leaving the “bagged” giant humanoid bat thing floating around in the chamber, the four crew members take off, speeding again. WHAT IS CONSISTENCY. Carlsen seems drawn to the light. And we see all kinds of giant space bat corpses just floating around. Everything becomes hazy with mist, until they enter the sphincter (because that’s totally what it resembles, fight me.) The HMS Churchill warns them they are losing the signal, meaning the crew is out of radio contact. I WONDER WHAT POSSIBLY COULD GO WRONG. [Raven: Everyone is out of contact with everyone at every fucking step. Just buy some decent radio kit, you fucking twats.]
The chamber is made up of weird metallic-looking objects, almost hive-like, before the camera pans up to reveal three clear crystal-looking chambers hanging from the ceiling that contain three very naked humanoids. Ha ha, they’re hanging upside down, get it?
The foremost one is female, while the other two are male, and clearly the males’ chambers have been frosted out below the waist, because you can’t seen genitals. [JC: Full frontal double standards. Show us dicks, you cowards!] [Wing: Word.] It is decided they are three perfectly preserved bodies. Before Carlsen can decide they’re in suspended animation, something “happens” to him. The camera circles round and round (sorry, Wing), [Wing: Pardon me, I need to let the world stop spinning now.] focusing on the female and Carlsen. Carlsen babbles on about feeling weird. Suddenly the HMS Churchill gets its signal back and tries to contact Carlsen.
And that’s when Carlsen declares the bodies to be in “suspended animation or sleep.” Oh, so now the other three decide to join Carlsen in the chamber. The female crew members tries to contact the HMS Churchill to state they have found two nude males and one nude female. Wait, don’t they have a video signal? Or did that die, too?
Oh. Never mind. The HMS Churchill states they have no visual signal. I WONDER WHY.
Carlsen states they have found a “young girl”. The HMS Churchill tries to clarify if he means a human. Carlsen states she is “perfect”. This film feels extremely exploitative suddenly. I mean, full frontal naked young woman exploitative. Not in the least because one of the male crew members says he’s been in space for six months and she looks perfect to him. Ugh. [Wing: At least one of the crew members side-eye him for it, too, thank fuck. I hadn’t seen the cover image before watching it and did not expect the movie to take such a sharp turn toward sexual exploitation.]
Apparently all the male crew members are being highly affected by the naked girl. Carlsen decides they’re taking back all three of the naked humanoids, as well as the dead thing they “bagged” in a net. The crew attempt to open the chambers. The screen fades to black.
Welp, job done, the HMS Churchill speeds away – upside for some reason – from Halley’s comet. Movie’s over, let’s all move on with our lives. Wait. What do you mean there’s still an hour and forty-two minutes left of viewing?? UGH. [JC: Clearly I’m finding this movie far more entertaining than bat did.] [Wing: I did too. It didn’t feel slow to me at all, and I was perfectly happy to keep watching.] [Raven: Yeah, the space bits were fine. It’s the rest of it that sucked balls.] [Dove: Given the front cover, I was imagining this movie would be Alien only with vampires. And even though sci-fi is not my genre, I was really disappointed it was going to be an on-Earth movie.]
Oh gee, how helpful of the screen to tell me THIRTY DAYS HAVE PASSED very suddenly. If it said forty, I’d make a Noah’s ark joke, but alas. [Wing: They missed a trick.]
BACK ON EARTH, a man intensely smoking a cigarette stands inside some sort of control room. I can tell by the weird map on the wall behind him that this is mission control. Also by the dude trying to make contact with the HMS Churchill. Seems something has gone drastically wrong. Quelle suprise. Oh, I should add, this is in England. Remember, joint USA-UK mission and all that.
Though… why would mission control be based in England? Seriously. [Wing: This is a world in which England beat everyone in the space race, I guess.] [Raven: Honestly? This looked exactly like what I’d expect an English Mission Control to look like. Perhaps add a few more kettles? But seriously, the UK Space Agency has an annual budget of 469 million pounds, which sounds impressive until you see NASA spends 22 billion dollars a year.]
We learn that everything on the ship, electronically speaking, is dead. This bodes poorly for the crew. One American military man hopes it’s just the communications. HA HA HA HA! Clearly you don’t understand you are in a sci-fi film, sir.
More footage of the model ship floating above a poorly painted Earth background. The ship’s orbit is “stable” but “slightly off”. Holy shit, that also describes me on a daily basis. From this information, ground control can tell the crew set course just after they left the comet but have not updated since, which is bad news. Apparently without really saying it, the decision is made to send the Columbia, a sister ship, into space to figure out what’s going on.
Okay, no lie, this is a little weird for me. I watched the Challenger disaster live on television, and then again with the Columbia disaster. Yes, this movie was released a year prior to the Challenger so it’s not like they could predict the future and all that but maybe it would have been wiser to pick names not used by NASA at the time. I dunno. Maybe I’m being weirdly touchy about all this. [Wing: That’s an interesting thought. As a creator, do you (general you, not bat specifically) choose to, erm, honor NASA by including actual names in the story? Do you worry about a negative reaction when you’re using them in a horror movie? Do you even think about what might happen in the future in such a risky field? I can see them choosing to, erm, honor NASA by using real names without potential future tragedies ever coming to mind. Or I suppose it could just be lazy writing. Why come up with new names if you don’t have to?] [Raven: And it’s also the British Space Agency, so some more brit-centric names would be fine. They have the HMS Churchill, why not go further with another Prime Ministerial name. HMS Thatcher, HMS Gladstone, HMS Pitt The Younger, and so on.] [Dove: I feel HMS Truss would be doomed from the start. But since the front cover is covered with boobies, why not HMS Johnson?]
Anyway, rescue (recovery is more appropriate) is a go and we get more dueling space ship models in SPACE footage, as the Columbia encounters the HMS Churchill. The flight suits the crew are wearing are cheesy as hell and probably not remotely accurate. The ships soft dock and the visuals did not age well. I mean, CGI would probably still be bad but this is LOOK AT THESE TOYS SHIPS WE MADE bad. [JC: I love the cheesy tiny models. I want to hug them.]
In a really bad homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the crew of Columbia bounce badly through the “non”-gravity to enter the HMS Churchill and see what the fuck is going on. SPACE TOOLS are handed across dramatically, all the while dramatic music plays, they’re trying to ramp the tension up but I’m snickering. The access port, er door? is breached, finally.
The inside of the HMS Churchill is gutted by fire. Everything’s black and charred. Did someone find a spider onboard and try to kill it? [JC: We’re looking at you, Wing.] [Wing: Look, if I find a spider in space, everything is going. Especially if it is an alien spider. I’m not taking that back to Earth. Wing Goes Boom. Literally.] Back on the Columbia, a crew member gets to utter the infamous “Houston, we have a problem!” line before it was a thing. On the HMS Churchill, the rescuers split up to investigate. We get a jump scare with a floating burned corpse. It’s kind of cool looking. Is this were the SFX budget went? [Raven: “Houston, we have a problem.” … “Sorry Geoff, but we’re not in Houston. We’re the British Space Agency, remember?” … “Apologies, let me rephrase: The Cotswolds, we have a problem.”] [Dove: “Houston, we have a problem.” Yes, my good man, you certainly do. Houston is not in Great Britain. And if it was, it would be said House-ton (rhymes with mouse).]
The whole room is full of burned corpses, which confirms everyone’s worst fear. [Wing: I fucking love the trope where a ship of whatever sort turns up with all the people on it dead. It’s fucking creepy as shit, and it usually means some sort of creature feature is about to go down. Or ghosts. Sometimes it’s ghosts.] [bat: New demand: NEEDS MOAR GHOSTS] One rescuer goes off to get the “tapes”, which I guess are the film’s version of the black boxes. They look pretty burnt and smoking. Another is in the tug bay; whatever that is. He encounters the crystal coffin cases, which still contain the *gasp* VAMPIRES! Of course they’re still naked. And the cases are totally undamaged. The rescuer calls the others to come look.
BACK ON EARTH, at the “European Space Research Centre, London”, which is pretty heavily fortified by military personnel and a bunch of flags, we end up in a board room meeting. A bunch of dudes in suits smoking cigarettes are discussing the cases. Apparently they have not opened the girl’s case yet but are certainly discussing how to do so. Of course. [Wing: Duh. Why would any dude possibly want to look at a naked dude? Inconceivable.]
Oh, my bad, it popped open of “its own accord”. SURE. They did manage to x-ray it but it’s not metal or organic. Hm. Apparently it is VISIBLE BUT INVISIBLE [Raven: Is it glass?]. Sounds like a lame PLOT SAYS SO to me. Anyway, they’re going to dissect the bodies because that’s what you do with weird human-like supposed corpses from space. Because everyone agrees they’re dead, right? The coroner, or supposedly the coroner, says he’s not sure he’s qualified to pass judgement on “alien” death. “But you’d agree they’re less alive than we are!” shouts the American. Because of course.
[Wing: The coroner dude isn’t wrong. I liked him. Very, I’m a doctor, not a …]
Up in some office, I’m pretty sure this is the same smoker who was the one who called it for a rescue mission, I am not bothering with names because who cares. He’s watching a bank of television screens which are informing him of world events and trading markets around the world. One screen shows a security camera footage, two others run computer text, and another is showing the livestream of the autopsy getting underway. Everyone is wearing hilarious helmets with breathing apparatuses to protect them from naked space girl. [Wing: This is a wildly eclectic mix of visuals to follow.]
The TV is talking about Halley’s comet dominating the skies, just as smoker turns up the volume so we can hear the anchor clearly. Apparently it is taking up 1/6th of the visible sky. Okay, I’ll take your word for that. He mentions that “comets were once considered to be harbingers of evil” [Wing: Once? I’m pretty sure some people still think that to this day.] and I feel like this is a TIMELY PLOT POINT everyone in the film should pay attention to. TV anchor goes on to add that no one has announced the fate of the HMS Churchill, isn’t that odd. Smoker clicks the television off. [Raven: I mean, what a Debbie Downer way of ending a news bulletin. “And to finish, I’d just like to say that knife crime is at a record high, and cries for help of any kind are nothing more than the narcissists of the world screaming into an existential void. See you next time!”]
Down in autopsy, even the security guard is wearing a hilarious breathing helmet. He stares through the window at the naked alien girl, who is covered in a green drape, and we hear heavy breathing. Soon enough, he is entering the autopsy room and standing beside the table, staring at her, as an eerie sound mixes in with the heavy breathing. I’m guessing this is meant to imply mind control or something?
Security guard reaches out a gloved hand towards her, sweating profusely in his breathing helmet, before his hand makes contact with her skin. Instantly, her eyes open and he backs away in fright. She sits up as he backs into a corner of the room, all of this is in near silence because all we can hear is his heavy breathing, before she rises from the table and walks over to him. She smiles and quite literally smizes with her eyes at him. How the fuck is smoker not seeing any of this on his bank of television screens??
Oh wait, now he’s noticed. If I were witnessing a naked woman considered to be an alien messing with the security guard for the facility, I would immediately sound the alarm. [JC: I was screaming at several points throughout this sequence, “Punch the button that floods the chamber with poison gas and kill them both!” because I just assumed that’s a thing they would have.] Smoker does not. He just watches in curiosity. It’s only when naked alien girl removes the security guard’s breathing helmet that smoker becomes alarmed and moves to do something.
It’s probably too late, dude.
Smoker runs down the incredibly 70s decor-looking hallway, I’m assuming towards autopsy, while we watch alien girl grab security guard and kiss him. She continues to kiss him as the lights in the autopsy room fade and begin to flicker like a power surge is coming. Soon lightning effects, oh you beautiful 80s lighting effects!, appear as alien girl literally begins to kiss (suck?) the LIFEFORCE out of the security guard!
Smoker apparently decided the stairs were faster, as he comes clambering down them at top speed. I guess autopsy is in the basement. We actually have to watch him open FOUR DIFFERENT DOORS in succession to get where he’s going. [JC: I laughed my ass off at the way he runs. There are only a few feet between each door, so it was like, RunHopHopOpen RunHopHopOpen. I kept waiting to see if he would crash face-first into one of the doors.] [Dove: There were about 70 of the same room: a square with wood panelling to the bottom half and windows to the top. Why is the building filled with millions of these weird rooms that contain nothing???] Wow, much security, so secure. There’s literally no one else around. WTAF. When he opens a FIFTH door, he finally comes to the hallway where the autopsy rooms are and watches the charred body of the security guard flail around in a darkened room. Just as smoker swallows his fright and enters, he catches the security guard’s body, which falls into his hands, looking for lack of a better term, like a desiccated mummy. [Raven: So many fucking doors in this place. It’s like the Honeycomb Maze in Takeshi’s Castle.]
FUN FACT: these mummified corpse dummies were repurposed for 1999’s The Mummy. So that bit of trivia is actually cool because if you don’t love The Mummy, again, we can’t be friends. [Wing: Wait, what, really? That elevates this movie on its own!
… I want us to recap The Mummy. Fuck, I love that movie.] [bat: We really should. ADD IT TO THE LIST!]
Oh dear, smoker is horrified by the corpse of security guard, as – they literally just call her SPACE GIRL so I guess that’s what I’m going to use – SPACE GIRL circles round to the door, effectively blocking escape. Smiling, she advances on a petrified smoker and speaks “USE MY BODY!” in a weird tone. There’s a bit of a stare-off before she starts to go in for another electrifying kiss. [Raven: The whole “use my body” thing made me expect a body-swap plotline.]
Meanwhile, the coroner slash doctor dude who said he wasn’t qualified to ascertain “alien dead” is looking for smoker in his office. Of course, the TV monitors are broadcasting the livestream, which he views, before running out the office door. Like, really, these dudes think they can stop SPACE GIRL?
Oh, the coroner dude is a bit smarter! He brings some security guards and the autopsy team with him, barreling at top speed through those four useless security doors. In the background you can see the two male vampires in their crystal coffin cases. Hm, wonder why they’re not up and doing mischief. [JC: Because there aren’t enough strategically-placed objects in the room to comically hide their junk?] [Wing: Hypocrites.]
Entering the autopsy room, the coroner yells at smoker, because SPACE GIRL has disappeared. Smoker, on the floor, confirms she’s gone. I LOVE THAT THAT DUDE IN THE SURGICAL SCRUBS TOTALLY BROUGHT HIS CLIPBOARD TO THE EMERGENCY! [Wing: TAKING NOTES IS IMPORTANT, BAT.] All the new people are horrified by the still-smoking mummy of the security guard laying on the autopsy table. “She did that!” Smoker announces shakily.
Since he seems to be the only sane one, the coroner immediately buzzes security and demands to speak to the duty captain. He, unwisely, insists that a naked girl is not going to escape this secure complex. HA HA HA HA HA, WHAT HUBRIS.
Back on the concrete stairs, SPACE GIRL is slowly but surely making her ascent towards the outside world. [Wing: She’s real dramatic. Respect, SPACE GIRL. Respect.] The older security guard at the desk, drinking coffee and working the crossword, just stands and stares at naked SPACE GIRL as she walks by. Good job, dude. He manages to radio control but does not sound the alarm, just says no one will believe he’s staring at naked SPACE GIRL walking freely through the building. [JC: Strange that it’s the “naked” part they find unbelievable, and not the ENERGY VAMPIRE FROM SPACE part.]
APPARENTLY APPREHENDING HER IS NOT HIS FIRST THOUGHT.
Upstairs, two more security guards are having a laugh at the thought of a naked girl wandering the facility, even though they’ve been ordered to make sure she doesn’t escape. They think it’s a joke until, surprise, SPACE GIRL slowly descends the staircase. The older security guard catches up and insists SPACE GIRL isn’t in her right mind, as they hem and haw around what the fuck they should do. MAYBE DO YOUR JOBS?
Security buzzes the coroner, saying they’ve got SPACE GIRL in the lobby. One security guard is offering her food, like she’s a dog. She raises a hand, there’s some blue lighting, and suddenly he’s in a Force choke hold or something. He drops to the floor. The second security guard attempts to “get her” but gets zapped as well [Raven: Second Guard’s attempt to “get her” was one of the weakest attempts at apprehension I’ve ever seen.]. Older security guard just stands and watches SPACE GIRL walk towards the exit.
So coroner decided to take the lift. Bad idea. It’s taking forever. It’s given SPACE GIRL all the time in the world to come to the front door, which she stares at before there’s a bunch of light flashes and all the glass shatters, blowing outwards. She calmly steps through the metal frames and walks out into the world (as [a dog barks], wtf, captioning?) [JC: Clearly ENERGY VAMPIRES FROM SPACE don’t understand how doors work. Why use a door when you can explode the entire glass front wall of the building? I laughed out loud. Also, shocked at the lack of security gates and shit in front of the building. It looks like an apartment complex, not a government facility.] [Wing: Look, SPACE GIRL is dramatic as fuck, and it’s about here I started to love her.]
The lift finally arrives! The coroner finds the security guards helping one another up, so I guess SPACE GIRL didn’t kill them. Coroner stares at the destroyed bank of plate glass windows, his breath streaming out in the cold night air. WELP, YOU’VE DONE GONE AND LOST SPACE GIRL.
However much later, the European Space whatever is crawling with soldiers and someone keeps repeating over the PA that “unnecessary” people need to GTFO. A car drives up to the entrance and two men exit. One looks around and I would say his expression is of annoyance? Maybe I’m wrong?
The crowd parts as they enter, some dudes trying to photograph the turtle-neck-wearing dude, before soldiers grab them and tell them no photos! His assistant grabs the camera and possibly removes the film; it’s hard to tell. Turtle-neck wearer inquires for smoker, so now I have to look up names. OKAY. Turtle-neck wearer is Col. Colin Caine (Peter Firth, who I’ve probably only ever seen in the Highlander television series) and smoker is Dr. Leonard Bukovsky (Michael Gothard, whom I’ve no recollection of but apparently saw in the 70s adaptations of The Three Musketeers). Okay, so who the fuck is Caine and why’s he so special?
Oops! Caine is from the S.A.S., whatever the fuck that is, [JC: British Special Forces. Basically what the US Army modeled Delta Force after.] and stupidly Bukovsky SAYS THAT ALOUD, making Caine tell reporters that bit of info is OFF THE RECORD THANK YOU VERY MUCH THIS IS A D NOTICE SITUATION. I have no knowledge of British intelligence so I’m guessing that means Area 51-level plausible deniability. Whatever.
Coroner, whom is actually named Dr. Hans Fallada (Frank Finlay, OH SHIT HE PLAYED PORTHOS??? HOLY CRAP!) is now gloving up as he leads Caine and crew into the autopsy room. Bukovsky really doesn’t want to be there, it’s very obvious. Fallada pulls back the drape and reveals the desiccated corpse of the security guard SPACE GIRL sucked dry like so many a Capri Sun pouch by 80s school children. Caine leans in but Fallada warns him not to get too close. (Why??) “And this was murder, you say?” Caine seems unimpressed.
Oh fuck what’s with these jump cuts to the next scene!? [Wing: Why do we keep running into these? Is it you? I think it’s you and your choice of movies.] [bat: Apparently it’s like trouble; play with it once, now it’s jump cuts in everything!] Now we’re in a lab, and Caine is interrogating, er, questioning Bukovsky about how SPACE GIRL totally escaped him. He struggles to answer simply, spouting a bunch of big words when really he means “SHE WAS TOTALLY NAKED AND PHYSICALLY PERFECT AND I’M A HORNY OLD DUDE WHO COULDN’T HANDLE IT.” At least he totally admits it when Caine presses if the attraction was sexual.
[Wing: Duh, Caine. Duh.]
Caine continues his questioning, rehashing everything the viewer already fucking knows, get on with it, but then asks how SPACE GIRL spoke to Bukovsky in English. How would she know English? He also questions about the HMS Churchill’s black box / tapes. Bukovsky admits they were instructed to report the tapes destroyed when they weren’t. Ooo GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY! The tapes, were in fact, erased and the escape pod is MISSING! [Wing: … I mean, the tapes being erased kind of is the tapes being destroyed if they can’t recover them, and it seems they can’t.] [Raven: Loving the ridiculousness of Tapes In Space. That’s a tell for terrible sci-fi, I think… if the writer can’t give us plausible tecnological advancements, and just base their tech on what’s available now, but in silver.]
Porthos Fallada admits that they don’t know if anyone escaped, because the condition of the bodies makes an accurate count “impossible”. Um. I dunno that I agree with that. What they do know is the ship’s fire suppressing system triggered and the escape pod wasn’t ejected by accident or computer. Obviously someone escaped. Caine says how were the crystal coffin containers with the three naked beings not harmed?
Because they’re like a “sort of force-field”, there but not there. Great. Totally a PLOT SAYS SO moment. Bukovsky admits they’re totally out of their depth but Caine is totally excited at this incredible discovery. Good for you, bud. I’m glad someone is.
Caine inquires about the two naked male vampires but Bukovsky begs leave, as he’s way too nauseous. Once he’s gone, Caine starts in on Fallada. He’s a biochemist! But no, he’s totally into death. He calls himself a Thanatologist! Cool? Maybe. [Wing: And today (or, well, when I watched this) I learned that Thanatology is real.] He explains Caine treats death as a bureaucratic problem to be solved, where as he is just plain fascinated by death itself.
Oh, I see how this plays into this story. Fallada answers Caine’s question that yes, he does believe there is life after death. He says the LIFEFORCE (drink!) [JC: Hey, that’s the name of the movie!] [Wing: *shots shots shots*] is contained always and in all things, even after death. Caine infers that Fallada believes this has played out in the death of the security guard. Fallada confirms he believes SPACE GIRL drained energy aka the LIFE FORCE (drink!) [Wing: *shots shots shots*] guard and killed him and also tangled with Bukovsky but only drank him partially.
“A vampire?” Caine asks.
“It could be described that way, yes.” Fallada admits.
C’mon, guys, she’s clearly a SPACE VAMPIRE. [JC: She is an energy vampire. I hereby dub her Colin Robinson.] [Wing: Bite your tongue! She’s far more dramatic and entertaining than Colin Robinson. Though this makes me want to go watch Nadja and Dollja for a bit. I love them.]
Fallada says he thinks we’re all vampires in a sense. Clearly he is thinking of Collin Robinson, not Nandor the Relentless. [JC: . . . I probably should have scrolled down before making that joke myself. Fuck it, it’s staying in!] [bat: Great. Now all I see is Colin Robinson’s head on naked SPACE GIRL’S body.] [Wing: Goddamn it, bat.] He adds that SPACE GIRL was no girl but totally alien to this planet, our life form, and totally dangerous. Yeah, DUH, she’s SPACE GIRL.
We blip over to the two naked male vampires chilling unconsciously in their force-field coffins, guarded by a military man standing outside the room. There’s no full frontal involved; can’t have that. [Wing: HYPOCRITES.] Guard suddenly whips around, peering through the glass at the very asleep SPACE VAMPIRES. The camera closes in on their sleeping faces but no movement.
Another guard comes up behind the first and puts a hand on his shoulder, so that’s what, the second or third jump scare attempt in this film. [JC: For the character. Not the audience. Sneaking-Up Guy was fully visible to us the whole time.] First guard startles but the second one just wants to know if the blokes in the force-field coffins are alive. “I’m not paid to believe nothing, am I?” the first guard complains.
Hilariously, the full frontal nudity is literally barred out with the reflection of the fluorescent tube lighting in the glass. I am laughing. [Wing: HYPOCRITES! Though, to be fair, I am always entertained by the various things people use to block the view.] Guard 1 says he does believe them to be alive. Guard 2 says they don’t look dead to him. AND THEN THE EXPLOSION HAPPENS.
No, literally, the whole fucking room just exploded and blew out the glass windows and door in a massive fireball. I’m literally asking what the actual fuck. [JC: SPACE VAMPIRES do not comprehend your puny Earth doors!] Oh never mind, now the two male vampires are up and fully awake and looking to drink some LIFEFORCE™! My god they are like full on stereotypical 80s males, this is cracking me up. It’s like a bad beer commercial.
The guards FLEE before remembering they totally have machine guns! They come to a stop near the stairs and aim said machine guns. Not that it matters; the male vampires blow up the four sets of plate glass windows that separate them. If anything, we totally need to see that happen repeatedly from different angles. No wonder this film went over the shooting schedule by five fucking weeks. [Wing: bat, we need those different angles. They blow up plate glass windows! It’s dramatic! We need every second of those five weeks.]
As I am pretty generally immune to brunettes, neither of these vampires are doing anything for me. They slowly advance, looking like male models, bent on attacking the guards, albeit it EXTREMELY SLOWLY. The guards start firing off rounds; we see bullet wounds bleeding in the chest of one of the male vampires. Doesn’t seem to do anything to them; they just keep walking. Round after round goes off and hits them in the torso. Nothing.
The guards make it to the stairs before they each lob a grenade [JC: WHY DO THEY HAVE GRENADES?!] [Wing: This is the American influence on the project.] [Raven: Why WOULDN’T they have grenades? If grenades are on the menu, you bet your fucking life I’m ordering them.] and dive for cover. The bombs go off instantly; I don’t know much about grenades but I don’t think that’s totally accurate. There’s two huge explosions, loud enough that we get a quick cut back to Caine who hears it and whips round to look at the door. Okay. Suddenly he and Fallada are on the move!
Descending the concrete stairs, Fallada and Caine find the two guards standing there, one on the phone saying there’s been trouble but it’s now under control. UM. Caine and Fallada can totally see the VERY CLEAR DESTRUCTION of the basement. Yet, they walk on past the VERY SUSPICIOUS GUARDS who ask for other guards to come down stairs to help. UM. HELLO. IS THIS NOT OBVIOUS TO ANYONE ELSE?
Fallada and Caine find the “remains” of the two vampires in the destruction, lamenting that there’s to be no autopsy and they no longer pose a threat. YOU TWO ARE IDIOTS. A bunch more security arrives. To do what, I dunno. Fallada wants to observe the autopsy on the original sucked dry guard, which a security chief confirms has started.
Which we SMASH CUT over to. A pretty clear closeup of the SFX body made for the corpse. It’s pretty damn cool, honestly. I would guess these were used as the corpses of the Americans in The Mummy, that’s the most logical answer. The coroner is recording his findings as three others observe. I hope Clipboard Dude is there! The coroner is handed a scalpel and weirdly pauses, before starting the Y incision.
And that’s when security mummy comes awake! The subtitles tell me he is “roaring” and “groaning” which I guess is one was to describe the inhuman horrible noise he’s making. Everyone in the room panics and backs away. The mummy sits up and raises his hands, in what I’m calling a beckoning gesture. [Wing: Come at me, bro.] The lead coroner becomes slowly entranced by this. I don’t know how else to describe it but that’s totally what happens. [JC: This! This is where I first started thinking this movie had just turned into Return of the Living Dead! They’re just zombies now!]
He walks towards the mummy, slowly, stilted, before leaning in like he’s going to kiss the mummy. Then we get an electric light show as the mummy begins to drain the coroner of his LIFEFORCE™, because I guess he’s a vampire mummy now? Is that what those bat-looking-humanoid things on the space ship really were??
Oddly, everyone else just stands around watching in horror instead of, you know, maybe trying to intervene and prevent their colleague from being killed. Maybe he’s an asshole and they feel he deserves it. Who knows. Oh wait, one of the security guards is making a phone call! He demands Caine come down immediately.
Ewww. This is taking forever. It is also a demonstration of how this LIFEFORCE™ draining works. It is killing the coroner but restoring the health and vitality of the former 20 year old security guard. [JC: Twenty years old my ass. Was it a Florida Man twenty?] Huh. Reverse Dorian Grey? The SFX makeup is pretty damn cool, I got to admit.
Anyway, once he’s done and full restored, original security guard drops the coroner’s drained corpse on the floor and looks around, before the horror sets in and he realizes what he’s done. One of the assistants shakily draws a syringe full of what I’m assuming to be a tranquilizer. Before he can finish and inject him, Fallada and Caine arrive. Fallada orders the former mummy guard to be put in an isolation cell, as the dude is starting to have a complete breakdown. Guards rush in and grab him as the assistant injects him – that was just weirdly played out – before manhandling him out of the autopsy room.
Everyone is ridiculously calm for what they just witnessed. Fallada says he had no idea this could be passed on. They better put the body of the coroner in a cell because in two hours – the amount of time that had passed since SPACE GIRL drained the security guard – he very obviously transformed without their knowledge, so there’s a strong likelihood the coroner will, too.
Caine adds he wants the pieces of the two “vampire males” that were shot collected and observed, and get him the Home Secretary stat. Stupid idiots, if they can’t figure out… well, I guess they’ll find out soon enough.
Then they hand Caine a huge brick telephone handset and I’m laughing again. Someone has discovered the naked body of a girl in Hyde Park and it is in an indescribable condition. Looks like SPACE GIRL got hungry and stopped for a snack?
SMASH CUT TO DAY LIGHT in Hyde Park, where really fake crime scene tape has been strung around the base of a tree and Fallada says that it’s not SPACE GIRL. Apparently there’s two witnesses who say they saw this now-corpse earlier in the park. I love that the obvious fake body is still wearing a wrist watch. SPACE GIRL clearly only wanted her LIFEFORCE™ and clothing, but not the accessories. Maybe she doesn’t know how to tell time.
It is also divulged that these two twenty-something boys (one of whom is Julian Firth, who portrayed the annoying twat called Brother Jerome in Cadfael; admittedly, I didn’t recognize him, but knew the name) saw SPACE GIRL and circled back to see if she and the now-victim were “doing something” but that’s when they found the victim alone, about half an hour ago. Well, one and half hours before she rises from the dead to suck down some LIFEFORCE™, better get a move on.
Fallada says clearly this is the work of SPACE GIRL and they better get this seeming corpse back to the facility. I gotta say, I will forgive the extra cheesy bullshit of the space scenes for the the fact these horror dummies really are amazing looking. Caine becomes captain obvious and points out SPACE GIRL now is wearing clothes. HORRORS! NOW WE’LL NEVER FIND HER! BLAST! SHE’S OUTSMARTED THE MEN AGAIN! [JC: “Recognize her face? What face? We weren’t looking at her face!”]
[Wing: Finally, finally, finally the perfect time to make this reference.]
Back at the European Space Failure facility, Caine is rushed downstairs by the Home Secretary, Sir Percy Heseltine (quite a British name if I’ve ever heard one) [Raven: Sir Michael Heseltine was a key political figure in the UK in the Eighties, so it makes sense.] [bat: See, your commentary helps in these instances, Raven!] and comes upon Fallada staring at the now-reanimated security guard who is throwing himself around inside the barred cell they stuck him in.
For some reason Fallada points out it’s been exactly two hours. Like, where’s the coroner this security guard drained? Shouldn’t they been looking at him? The guard, wearing a bathrobe, begs for help in a whisper, before throwing himself around the cell for a second round. He comes to the bars and begs for help before he begins to growl (?) and some neato SFX stuff happens. His hands wither back to skin and bone, before we see the rest of his body do the same. Huh. Apparently LIFEFORCE™ is not Six Hour Energy.
Sir Percy looks real upset by all this.
In a matter of seconds, the security guard is once more “dead”, the energy he stole gone, as Fallada surmised without sharing. Caine asks for clarification of Fallada’s theory but only gets Fallada picking up a broom handle and poking the corpse with it, which immediately crumbles to dust. THANKS FOR NOT SHARING WITH THE CLASS, PORTHOS. [JC: Dead guy? Better poke ’em with a stick! Poky poke poke!]
So. Unlike actual vampires, SPACE VAMPIRES have to feed pretty regularly and consistently or they become dust. Lame. Apparently this is a very horrifying turn of events for Fallada. What happened to being a Thanatologist and obsessed with death, Fallada?? [Wing: I quite like the death unless regular feeding, and by regular I mean real damn often. Adds some MURDER TENSION.]
Caine reminds everyone that the pathologist (MY BAD!) who the security guard drained two hours ago is also in this basement. The trio follows the racket the living corpse is making as it throws shit around in its temporary cell. Fallada points out it needs to feed. The former pathologist takes one look at the trio, screams, then runs at the cage door. It blasts apart into ashes. Well, that’s new! [JC: All of the mummypires exploding into dust made me laugh, but this is the one that really made me lose it. I imagine the sound it made could be expressed as FLOOMP! . . . BOOOSH . . .]
Again, Sir Percy is the most horrified.
Fallada gets ominous, saying this is going to happen to the Hyde Park girl in about an hour. SMASH CUT to everyone standing around staring through plate glass windows as Fallada checks his pocket watch, the Hyde Park girl strapped to a table as the countdown begins. It’s all tense as everyone focuses on the EKG, which is still reading a flatline.
SUDDENLY THE EKG BEGINS TO BEEP!
Hyde Park girl corpse comes to life – man these are amazing puppets – and struggles against the straps tying her to the table. Yet again, Sir Percy is horrified. Caine and Fallada just look tired. Oh, I guess it’s also a heart rate monitor, because that thing is screaming the more she struggles, unable to get free or feed.
It is too much for the medical electronics, for they short out in a hail of sparks and blank monitors. After a last bit of shaking and growling, Hyde Park girl drops to the table and promptly explodes in a shower of dust and bone. Everyone gasps.
I mean, this is cruel, right? They let her die. Yeah, I know, she’d have to drink a human to revive but this is still proxy murder? I dunno.
[Wing: The viciousness of science.]
Also, why did everyone duck when she was enclosed in a completely separated room?!
Sir Percy asks if this was the last of them. So far, yes. A military aide says they’re monitoring phone calls and sightings. Suddenly, Bukovsky remembers he works here and rushes in, shocked. Sir Percy wants to understand if these were the creatures brought back from the HMS Churchill. Caine says not this one, exactly. He calls Hyde Park girl a victim of the creatures. OH JUST SAY IT, THEY’RE SPACE VAMPIRES. [JC: I just keep singing “Space Pirates” but changing it to “Space Vampires.” Oddly, it still works.]
Caine confirms they don’t know where the HMS Churchill acquired them. Oh, so no one watched or listened to or whatever the supposedly destroyed tapes??
Oh, Bukovsky has news! Some technical mumbo jumbo spews out but basically someone in Pasadena called and said they’re tracking what might be the escape pod of the HMS Churchill. And it’s reentering the atmosphere over Texas!
SMASH CUT to Texas, the dead of night, a bunch of men with flashlights running in an open field. Oh, it’s pouring down rain, too. The escape pod is back on Earth, its parachute stuck to the muddy ground. Someone pops the hatch door and who’s inside? Col. Tom Carlsen, the man responsible for bringing the force field crystal coffins out of the mysterious SPACE VAMPIRE ship!
Bukovsky is on the phone, learning Carlsen is basically fine, just exhausted, and is at Walter Reed. He demands Carlsen be sent to London STAT. Okay, that was fast, smash cut to the next scene and Carlsen is walking in to Bukovsky’s office. Sheesh.
Bukovsky states, “Thought you were dead.” What a warm welcome. He introduces Caine, of the Special Air Services, and Fallada. They sit down and Carlsen says he’s got some difficult things to say, to which Caine points out they’re not going to have any trouble believing him at this point.
Caine goes on, explaining that the fire onboard the HMS Churchill didn’t kill the SPACE VAMPIRES and they were brought to London and SPACE GIRL escaped and has killed three people. Well, technically 2, that pathologist was by proxy. Carlsen looks green and is quite upset. He admits they found the SPACE VAMPIRES in the mystery space craft. Everyone else in the room is alarmed by this news. Caine tells Carlsen to take it from the top and act like they’re completely uninformed.
So, yet again, the whole plot is rehashed by Carlsen, with some varying degrees of new info as well as visual reenactment. We see the exploring crew bringing the force field cases back to and boarding the HMS Churchill with them. Oh, and the “bat-like thing” came with them. Sure.
Everyone’s staring at the bodies in the tug bay. Contact with Earth is still down. Carlsen notices another crew member is acting strange. Derebridge says he feels drained. Carlsen counters that he feels invigorated. Pin a rose on your nose, Carlsen.
Why would anyone stick their face so fucking close to a magical box with an alien inside? OH WAIT KANE DID THAT WITH THE EGGS. Gee, keep ripping off Alien, Lifeforce!
[Wing: People are very very very dumb and will stick their body parts into horror movie scenarios all the time.
Have I told the story of my first escape room? Was with boss and coworkers (at the time), we made it into the second room, one of the main clues was to look through a hole in the wall and find a message in the parking lot.
Wing: FUCK NO I’M NOT PUTTING MY EYE TO THAT HOLE.]
Carlsen orders everyone back to their stations. It’s hilarious to see them pretend they’re floating around in zero gravity when VERY CLEARLY they are hanging on wires in a studio set. Anyway, the HMS Churchill is headed home!
Back to the present. Carlsen says one by one the crew started to die. Sounds like Dracula’s onboard. The first to die was the radio officer who, clearly under mental control of the SPACE VAMPIRES, destroyed all the communications equipment. [JC: Oh, so now the movie wants to be The Shining. In SPAAAAAACE! Cool cool cool.] [Wing: Everything’s better IN SPAAAAAACE!] Of course he had no memory of doing so. He was eventually found drained like the three victims on Earth.
I dunno. If it was me, I’d jettison those force field coffins and skedaddle for home BUT SCIENCE OR SOMETHING.
So eventually 99% of the crew ended up desiccated corpses that Carlsen into clear plastic bags. Um. Also that really weird painted portrait of Edmond Halley hanging on the bulkhead of the space ship is cracking me up.
We see Carlsen wandering round the HMS Churchill, crew members’ lifeless and sucked-dry bodies still in their seats at their consoles. Carlsen admits he kept thinking about “the girl”. Caine presses him on this. But Carlsen dodges, saying the next thing he remembers – implying he wandered round the ship in a fugue-state for who knows how long, at least 30 days – was that he saw Earth as the ship began to reenter orbit and decided they (like, dude, everyone else is dead, this is on you) couldn’t expose the world to what they’d brought back. OH REALLY. NOW YOU WANNA PLAY SAVIOR WHEN YOU’RE THE LAST STANDING SURVIVOR.
OH MY GOD WHY DOES THIS FILM HAVE A WHOLE HOUR TO GO.
Anyway, we watch Carlsen run through the ship and open the manual emergency oxygen control valves, filling the ship with fresh oxygen. Basically, he’s Ripley setting the self destruct sequence, only far less cooler and far less intense. Damn, this is just a terrible rip off of Alien.
Also, how many damn manual oxygen control valves does this ship need? It’s been like six of them!
Carlsen enters the tug bay and removes what looks like a laser gun from a backpack. [JC: This was the point where I said, “Hey, a phaser! . . . isn’t Captain Picard supposed to be in this movie? When is Patrick Stewart going to show up?”] Only it ISN’T. It’s just a goddamn overly fancy lighter! He uses it to light up the net/bag the dehydrated bat-thing is in. Oh, my bad, he CUTS OPEN THE BAG FIRST then holds the ridiculous lighter to the desiccated corpse. It takes a minute but the foam finally catches. And now I can’t stop laughing at the [CLUNK] caption as Carlsen drops the fancy, overpriced lighter. [JC: Clearly I missed out on yet more hilarity by not having captions on.]
You know how viewers tend to want their Sci-Fi / Fantasy movies to be intense with their suspense? Well it ain’t happening with this one. EDITING MIGHT HAVE HELPED but I don’t know that it could have saved the ridiculous story. Concept = decent, execution = sucks.
Carlsen stands around for a minute before opening the bay doors, letting the streaming oxygen rush into the tug bay. The fake bat-thing is burning but there’s no real explosion of flame or anything to actually describe. He runs the length of the bay towards the HANDY DANDY ESCAPE POD, stopping to open yet another manual oxygen control thingy, the voice over monologue saying how he was determined to destroy them all. Meaning the SPACE VAMPIRES.
He climbs in the escape pod and finally manages to shut the door, looking through the port hole for a long second before the fire explodes, feeding on the oxygen that has filled the ship. I dunno, there was zero tension, zero sense of urgency in that entire scene.
Carlsen informs the trio it was the hardest thing he ever did because part of him did not want to leave the ship. Leaving SPACE GIRL, in spite of the fact she had slaughtered his entire crew, was the hardest thing this man has ever done.
….people paid money to see this in theaters? I would like to interview them and ask why.
[Wing: To be fair, they paid their money before they saw it.] [Raven: Also, it was the Eighties. A lot of people had more money than sense.]
Fallada puts a pin in the questioning, saying Carlsen looks exhausted and they can continue later. Caine agrees. I PERSONALLY THINK IT IS A BAD IDEA THAT YOU BROUGHT THIS MAN TO THE ISLAND WHERE SPACE GIRL IS RUNNING AMOK.
In bed, Carlsen tosses and turns. Caine is watching him through a CC TV monitor. It’s like a really awful sleep study. Bukovsky wanders in and announces to Caine that NASA and their tracking (I guess he means the shambles of the European Space whatever) have both just reported an “unusual” structure leaving Halley’s Comet. And it’s headed for Earth!
Uh, what? Did SPACE GIRL phone home and alert the SPACE VAMPIRES?
Bukovsky says the “object” – it’s a fucking space ship, come on! – is needle-like in shape and 150 miles long. It’ll be orbiting Earth in roughly 2 days’ time. Oh, so this is why I still have a full hour to watch. Ugh. The Prime Minister wants answers, so there’s going to be a meeting at Downing Street. For some strange reason, Caine rises from his chair with a hilarious expression I cannot describe. I think it’s supposed to be horror? We’ll go with horror.
It’s 3am, according to the alarm clock. Carlsen is still restlessly sleeping. Something startles him awake and he sits up, just before there’s an explosion and A HUGE FAKE HUMANOID BAT CREATURE FLIES AT HIM AND THIS IS ON PAR WITH THE DEVIL PUPPET IN ROCK’N’ROLL NIGHTMARE. Even if it was a terrible jump scare, the only thing this movie knows how to do.
Carlsen stares as the bat thing morphs into SPACE GIRL wearing some kind of cloak, she’s straddling him on the mattress and pulling his shirt up and over his head. Wow, not wasting time here. There’s a lot of red lighting and sounds of electricity snapping and crackling and Carlsen is decidedly not fighting her off.
It’s nice to see SPACE GIRL with clothing. For a change.
She instructs Carlsen to close his eyes and places her hands on his chest. A moment passes before he removes her hands and says she’s giving him her life. SPACE GIRL is taken aback, pulls down the hood of her cloak, as the camera zooms in for a close up.
Oh well, so much for clothes.
“You’re taking it,” she answers Carlsen, while he pushes the cloak off. I mean, I was fully expecting him to go for the boobs. Never mind, there he goes. All this red lighting is giving me a headache. [JC: LIFEFORCE™ is contained in the boobs.]
They madly and passionately suck faces while weird animal-like noises play, more bad flickering red lighting blinding me. You know, I’m going to ruin this by telling you that SPACE GIRL was played by Mathilda May, a French actress who wasn’t even 20 years old during filming. Apparently she was naked for 99% of it. Most of the other actors were old enough to be her father. [Raven: Also, she couldn’t speak English at the time. All her lines were learnt phonetically.]
I’m honestly not sure you can call this a sex scene. Carlsen is apparently draining SPACE GIRL of all the LIFEFORCE™ she’s sucked up while on Earth. She warns him he’s taking too much of her. The screen goes black.
Carlsen awakes, screaming. Like overdoing it with the screaming. [JC: I could not stop laughing at the screaming. Bro really went for it.] Fallada and Caine burst into the room. Carlsen shakily insists it was a dream and that SPACE GIRL visited him in said dream. He insists she has some sort of mental contact with him. Does he mean connection? A doctor helps him to lay back in bed, as a nurse readies an injection. Oh and Bukovsky bothered to show up as well.
He insists that the SPACE GIRL is draining him, not the other way round, and now the “dream” is gone. Fallada decides to hypnotize Carlsen with his permission. For some dumb reason the doctor tells him to try in the morning. So we fade cut to THE NEXT MORNING while Fallada is attempting to hypnotize Carlsen to access his dreams and memories. Why not.
Okay weird, artsy overlapping imagery aside, this is boring. This is a lot of work for stupid exposition, shit the viewer has already figured out. A lot of the story seems to be rehashed every few scenes. THIS IS WHY EDITING IS IMPORTANT. [JC: It’s odd; there are places where they choose to tell rather than show, but then when they do show, it’s things we’ve already been told, or shown, or extrapolated because we’re not idiots. Sigh.]
To TL;DR this, Carlsen obviously shares a mental slash telepathic-style link to SPACE GIRL. Which also clouds his feels for her. He mentions he feels as though his mind is not his own. We’re clearly gender-flipping Dracula and Mina at this point. [Wing: Such an interesting idea that I want to explore in more depth.] Fallada asks Carlsen to try and see where SPACE GIRL is. We SMASH CUT to a verdant green field, a woman sporting a green plastic poncho and some big poofy 80s curls walking through said field. Carlsen notes that SPACE GIRL’S face has changed but it’s still her.
Fallada questions how she’s acquired a different face. Carlsen says she’s using a different body. WHY AREN’T RED FLASHING LIGHTS AND SIRENS GOING OFF?? HELLO, YOU IDIOTS. Anyway, Carlsen says SPACE GIRL is looking for a man, any man. This would have been a perfect time to play Maneater but I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have afforded the rights. JUST GO AHEAD AND TRY TO CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE, THAT SONG WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECT.
Oh, Carlsen goes on to add, when asked by Fallada, SPACE GIRL doesn’t want to kill because she fears being caught. (Well, DUH.) Apparently she can draw energy from someone without killing them. I’m guessing sex? Because sex. SPACE GIRL also has another mind in there with her own and Carlsen’s, under the name of Ellen. Okay, weird hive mind compartmentalization? [JC: So now we’re throwing possession into the mix. The SPACE VAMPIRES can possess people. Because why not.]
OH OH! FALLADA JUST SAID VAMPIRE! DRINK! [Wing: *shots shots shots*]
SPACE GIRL in Ellen’s body has finally reached a random bench placed along a wayside, where an older gentleman — looks to be a farmer — is putting stuff in the trunk of his Volvo. Caine whispers for Fallada to ask about the license plate, which he does. Carlsen rattles it off, I’m guessing Caine’s going to order a BOLO on the vehicle. There seems to be no real interaction between SPACE GIRL / Ellen and the farmer, but she makes a bunch of “sexy” faces at him before suddenly getting in the front passenger side of the Volvo. Old dude looks around like he’s getting away with murder before he climbs in the driver’s seat.
SPACE GIRL is working fast, hiking her poncho up as well as her skirt. Carlsen is repeating this information in a pained voice, sweating to death in bed. On the screen is the most basic of porn premises: old guy gives ride to hot hitchhiker wearing lace panties. I’m guessing Carlsen is supposed to be very uncomfortable that he’s watching this as well as technically experiencing it. Y’know, through their mind link.
He stammers that the old man is putting his hand on SPACE GIRL / Ellen’s leg. Um, that’s her inner thigh. In a movie with FULL ON SPACE GIRL FRONTAL NUDITY you can’t be more specific, Carlsen?
There’s a sudden sound of a truck horn and the image pans away quickly as we smash cut to Carlsen sitting up in bed, then slowly laying back down WHAT THE FUCK IS IT SUPPOSED TO IMPLY. That the mind link was severed? That SPACE GIRL / Ellen and the old dude crashed because old dude was so thrilled to stroke a young woman’s inner thigh?
We smash cut to Caine reading the license plate over the phone to someone. He says there’s a girl named Ellen in the car and she’s connected to “the case”. He also can’t go into detail over an open line because D CLASSIFICATION AND S.A.S. BUSINESS.
Fallada and Bukovsky – the latter looks completely worn out and his tie is practically undone and he probably needs a shower – wander in as Caine hangs up the receiver. It literally tells me [PHONE CLUNKS].
Caine doesn’t trust Carlsen’s story. Fallada says it’s brilliant that SPACE GIRL is moving from body to body and mind to mind. STILL HAVEN’T FIGURE THAT OUT YET HAVE YOU, YOU MORONS. Anyway, by doing this, she doesn’t drain the victims of LIFEFORCE™ but only takes a small amount = no bodies to be found by unsuspecting locals = no way to track SPACE GIRL.
Caine points out an interesting question: where is SPACE GIRLS’ actual body? (Please be in a coffin, please be in a coffin!) They decide it’s hidden (duh) and should try and find it (why not). Bukovsky points out that maybe SPACE VAMPIRES are like actual vampires of the literary kind. Meaning they carry their earth with them in their coffins.
“That’s what this cave is, it’s one giant coffin!”
So, I guess we better start really looking at that massive 150 mile long pointing UFO that’s going to hit orbit around Earth ASAP, right? Right??
Smash cut to some set made to look like a mission control room, with a NASA logo on the wall and a bunch of clocks and dudes in short sleeve button downs pretending to be space nerds running around looking at monitors. Apparently the UFO is visible against the moon, though that image makes me laugh. If anything, it’s the unexpected moments that crack me up that is getting me through this stupidity.
We get some closeups of the UFO – now for some reason it looks like a broom stick being ridden by a vampire squid. [JC: I’m getting “palm tree if the fronds were made of mutated bat wings.”] [Wing: Really painful sex toy.] The weird cartoon-y painting of Earth is making me laugh, in spite of the SERIOUS OMINOUS MUSIC playing. Like, the umbrella part? Does that like try to enfold over the earth and its little pointy ends stick into the ground as it tries to suck Earth dry? I HAVE QUESTIONS.
Back in London, Fallada is on the phone as he examines an object in a wooden packing crate. Whatever the wicked looking iron spoke in a fancy wooden and studded handle/base is, it was presented to the Ashmolean Museum by Capt. Leigh John Masters in 1858. As far as I know – because I’ve read A Discovery of Witches and its subsequent sequels and also Google tells me – the Ashmolean museum was founded in 1683 but the name doesn’t return any hits so let’s see what crappy back story the film is going to give us.
Fallada says something about a skin tissue sample and that he’ll follow all containment procedures, as he asks for a solider to be sent in. Hanging up, he goes to the door and takes a plastic bagged sample – the skin tissue? – from some lowly background actor in a white lab coat. Now we’re in a darkened lab. Place your bets now on what Fallada’s doing with that sample!
He removes the container from its bag, pulls out the sample and puts it on what’s maybe a slide. Just as he’s about to zap it, there’s a knock at the door. HMMMMMM. There’s a solider who just sort of walks into the lab… Apparently he’s the one Fallada asked to be sent to him. DOESN’T HE LOOK STRANGELY FAMILIAR.
At first Fallada tells the solider he be right with him but the OMINOUS MUSIC and weird lighting that highlights the soldier’s eyes seems to draw Fallada’s attention back. Oh dear, this may end poorly for Fallada.
Else where, Caine and Sir Percy, who apparently wasn’t entirely grossed out and horrified by the proceedings he witnessed, are wandering down a hallway. Sir Percy is confiding that it was awful trying to find the Volvo but they did it and detained the old man from Yorkshire. He apparently dropped Ellen Something-or-other off at a hospital, since she’s a nurse. Also they spent the afternoon together before the drop off and the old dude doesn’t want to talk about what happened. He just happens to be totally exhausted.
Caine ponders Thurlstone, asking it it’s an asylum. Sure enough, it’s an asylum for the “criminally insane”. [JC: Of course it is. Of. Course.] [Wing: Fuck you, movie. Fuck. you.]
AND NOW WE WATCH A HELICOPTER FLY OVER THE IRON GATES OF THURLSTONE ASYLUM. Geez, they work fast when they want to.
The helicopter lands and Caine, Carlsen, and Sir Percy jump out. Well, the other two help Sir Percy out. A bunch of men walk across the green to meet them. The lead is Dr Armstrong (Sir Patrick Stewart himself, I was beginning to wonder if he’d ever show up)[JC: Fucking finally. Too bad he decided to show up in the boring half of the movie.], the director of the hospital. It’s an asylum, come on.
Sir Percy complains about the cold as Armstrong leads them to the nurses’ house, saying Ellen Donaldson is in number 5. He’s about to ring the doorbell when Carlsen steps in to block Armstrong. They don’t want Armstrong to accompany them. Sir Percy steps in, saying they have several matters to discuss, and leads Armstrong away, which means Caine and Carlsen are going to deal with SPACE GIRL / Ellen on their own.
LET’S SEE HOW TERRIBLE THIS GOES.
Ellen answers over the intercom and Caine introduces him, asking to speak with her. She buzzes them in, they bound up the stairs, to find Ellen in a floral print robe standing in the doorway of her flat. They assure her they’ve spoken to Armstrong, they just want to talk with her. She seems wary but allows them in.
I HAVE QUESTIONS. If Carlsen really does have a mind link to SPACE GIRL shouldn’t he be able to tell if its her or Ellen in this scene?
Wow, that is quite the jumble of art and decor on the wall there, Ellen. Is that Bowie? [JC: At least she has good taste in music.] And a French mime/clown? And that butterfly…
Caine doesn’t beat around the bush. He immediately asks about the man she spent the afternoon with, one Ned Price. Ellen denies it. Carlsen asks to see Ellen’s hand, advancing her on her. She puts up a bit of a fight but looks more horrified and scared then anything else. Carlsen insists that (SPACE GIRL) is in there, hiding.
He slaps Ellen when she says she doesn’t know and doesn’t answer him. They struggle a bit as Caine yells at Carlsen. Carlsen informs Caine that SPACE GIRL has fled and is no longer in Ellen’s mind/body. Ruh-roh. [JC: But . . . you just said she was, Carlsen. Make up your damn mind.]
And then we randomly detour into Carlsen “reading” Ellen, saying she’s an extreme masochist and wants Carlsen to force the name of the body SPACE GIRL is hiding in out of her. WTAF. This was not on my bingo card!
[Wing: Did not see this softcore SPACE VAMPIRE porno to become a softcore SPACE VAMPIRE BDSM porno. I did not sign up to watch a male dom, fuck out of here, movie.] [bat: Especially not after your kinky science possible sex cult in a castle movie.]
Carlsen continues to look into Ellen’s mind and repeats what he sees, that Ellen likes it rough. Caine decides to stay and witness, since he’s a “natural voyeur”. Carlsen rips Ellen’s robe off, revealing what looks like scratch marks on her back? I can’t quite see them. He pulls her hair, yelling supposedly at SPACE GIRL to see if she’s still hiding in Ellen’s mind. Yeah, no way is Carlsen totally going to abuse the abilities SPACE GIRL has given him, sure.
Ellen’s reaction is so muddled it’s hard to describe. She’s supposedly enjoying Carlsen’s forceful manner and her hair being pulled, because she’s making noises that could be described as pleasureful? But her expression changes and it’s left to the viewer to puzzle out if that’s Ellen or SPACE GIRL in control. Ellen begins to kill Carlsen, who doesn’t fight it whatsoever and Caine continues to be a voyeur. The music builds to a climax as Ellen pulls away, shaking.
Carlsen stares as she collapses, catching her. Guess SPACE GIRL had left the body. He puts her in bed, touching her hair and face, as Caine wants answers. Carlsen apparently succeeded in getting a physical description of whatever body SPACE GIRL be hidin’ in.
The men head downstairs, Caine asking Armstrong to send someone to look after Ellen. Carlsen asks if he describes an inmate, could Armstrong identify him? Armstrong is game. Carlsen describes whom Armstrong identifies at Jeffrey Sykes, a child murderer. Okay, was he a child when he murdered or did he murder children? [JC: I assumed the latter. We have a real clown baby/baby clown situation on our hands, I guess.]
Armstrong wants to know where Carlsen got the description. Carlsen ignores this, asking where Jeffrey is. (I totally want to type Joffrey, is this a thing for anyone else who lived through Game of Thrones?) “He’s in solitary confinement. He’s been naughty.” Armstrong answers. [bat: NAUGHTY JUST LIKE JC???] [JC: Patrick Stewart can call me naughty any time.]
Armstrong wants answers but the others ignore him, Caine informing Sir Percy what they’ve seeking has moved. I guess that’s one way to put it. This all seems pretty deceptive. I dunno. I feel like something is off or viewers are being deceived here.
Sir Percy asks to use the phone. Carlsen wants to see Jeffrey now. Armstrong tries to delay until morning but then acquiesces. HM. He takes them to another building, asking why this is all so hush hush and hasn’t he a right to know? The police know! Why can’t he!
Citing national security is Sir Percy’s way of handling Armstrong. Armstrong still wants to be involved, Jeffrey is his patient. THIS ALL FEELS LIKE A BIG RED FLAG. Jeffrey has the IQ of a child of four (this feels like a major HIPPA violation right there) [Wing: Predates HIPPA. Which I realize is not the point.] and suddenly Carlsen is pulling Caine into the hallway where they’re whispering as Armstrong yammers on. Sir Percy says only Caine can decide is Armstrong may be involved, which Caine says totally yeah sure, come along, let’s get started!
This is a trap within a trap, isn’t it.
Armstrong asks what they’re going to do to Jeffrey. Carlsen says he wants to hypnotize him. We smash cut to an assistant doctor fixing an injection of pentothal and morphine. Funny, we don’t use pentothal anymore in the 21st century. There is some allusion to this being used to “manage” patients. Armstrong steps to the cell door and says Jeffrey seems quiet.
The assistant unlocks the cell door and the five men step into the padded-wall cell. A very large man in a padded straight jacket snores while lying on a cot. A huge dark patch almost covers his left cheek, a birthmark. Carlsen asks if the injection could be dangerous. Armstrong dismisses the issues. The assistant says there’s always a risk; Armstrong shakes his head. HELLO RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG!!
Caine takes the syringe from the assistant, tapping it to break any air bubbles. Armstrong leans in to wake Jeffrey when Carlsen grabs him. Caine injects the mixture as the assistant is all WHAT THE HELL! [JC: This orderly or doctor or whatever the hell he is goes along with Caine and Carlsen’s bullshit amazingly quickly after the initial WHAT THE HELL. Patrick Stewart must have been a shit boss.]
Caine finishes the injection and says Armstrong is sick, as Carlsen continues to hold on, Armstrong screaming and shaking. Okay so they did figure out what was wrong. Will Fallada? Time will tell!
Armstrong continues to scream and struggle, now Jeffrey is screaming, other patients are screaming, ugh. Soon Carlsen has Armstrong on the floor, but Armstrong fights, meaning Carlsen has to straddle him from behind and pin him to the ground. Sir Percy, yet again, looks completely horrified. “It’s madness!”
Carlsen wants to question Armstrong, so they move him to a different room, it says surgery on the door. Carlsen dismisses the assistant. Apparently Sir Percy wants to know how it was Armstrong. Carlsen says he figured it out when Armstrong touched his shoulder in the nurses’ quarters and Carlsen saw into his mind. Caine assures Sir Percy that Carlsen can only see into the minds of people possessed by SPACE GIRL.
And currently they have trapped SPACE GIRL inside Armstrong’s mind.
Or, that’s Carlsen’s theory. He isn’t sure. He asks the assistant how long the drugs last – maybe an hour or two is the answer. He wants another dose, or more. Make that three doses. The assistant is incredulous. Caine says he and Sir Percy will take responsibility. Sir Percy isn’t sure that Armstrong’s heart can withstand the flood of drugs.
Carlsen says Sir Percy doesn’t know what they’re dealing with – I mean, in fairness, do you, Carlsen? Look at what you’ve already done and how bad you fucked up! – and if the drugs wear off or weaken, SPACE GIRL could flee! I’m getting very Rocky Horror vibes off this surgical room and I like it.
Carlsen attempts to talk with Armstrong; Armstrong stammers that he isn’t being allowed to talk to Carlsen. Um, awkward writing much? Suddenly he begins to scream (I really hope no one is watching this with headphones, good god) [JC: . . . is there another way to watch things?] [Wing: God, I regretted headphones this time.] while the trio holds him down. Carlsen asks if Armstrong can see the SPACE GIRL. He says yes. Suddenly the assistant interrupts, having brought three doses of pentothal. UH YOU BETTER HOPE SHE DIDN’T JUST JUMP SHIP RIGHT THERE, MORONS.
Caine holds Armstrong down as Carlsen readies to inject another dose. Suddenly Amstrong speaks but it is SPACE GIRL’S voice that everyone hears. She tells them there’s no need for another injection. Carlsen ignores her and doses Armstrong’s body with the second round of pentothal.
Carlsen tries to make mental contact but the pentothal is like a wall. Sir Percy wonders if they’ve overdosed Armstrong. Carlsen snaps, screaming at Sir Percy to shut up, before he threatens SPACE GIRL by saying he’ll keep Armstrong dosed up for weeks. He demands she talk to him. SPACE GIRL asks Carlsen to be with her. Uh. She tells Carlsen she loves him.
This just got way awkward.
Carlsen wants to know why she’s so human and so perfect. He asks about the “bird creatures” on the ship. PRETTY DAMN CERTAIN THEY’RE BATS, MORON. Oh, suddenly Carlsen sees SPACE GIRL’S body instead of Armstrong’s lying on the table. [Wing: Of course not, can’t let it get too homoerotic around here. Hypocrites.] She informs him that bodies aren’t important to SPACE VAMPIRES and they changed appearance for the crew of the HMS Churchill. They scanned the crews minds and SPACE GIRL took her shape from Carlsen’s mind, from his deepest thoughts. Ew.
That’s also how she learned English. THANKS, PLOT SAYS SO!
“I am the feminine in your mind, Carlsen.” SPACE GIRL says as we see Captain Picard laying on a surgical table, lip-syncing the words.
Carlsen is totally gonna make out with Captain Picard, isn’t he. I can just see that’s where this is headed.
Apparently all this info – that SPACE GIRL made herself look like the girl of Carlsen’s dreams and fantasies – is too much for Carlsen, who starts screaming and demanding to know where her body is. He slaps Armstrong’s face, screaming the demand to be let go. Suddenly he sees SPACE GIRL’S form instead of Armstrong, her eyes open, and she instructs him to touch her. He struggles, still demanding to be let go, as he begins to lean close and closer to Armstrong’s face.
It must be weird for Sir Percy and Caine, watching Carlsen lock lips with Armstrong, when Carlsen sees SPACE GIRL instead. Technically it’s so brief it’s barely onscreen for a half a second before Caine and Sir Percy rush over to break it up. But that’s when the glorious 80s lightning effects happen again.
Caine gets zapped back into a bookcase and knocked to the ground, it looks bad. Not sure where Sir Percy went but I think I saw him get zapped, too. Carlsen struggles to hold onto the lapels of Armstrong’s suit jacket as the lightning and LIFEFORCE™ zoom around. Furniture, books, papers, go flying. I think SPACE GIRL is trying to hit Carlsen with something?
Caine comes to and sees the tray of injections on the side table. The assistant finally hears the raucous and enters, staring in horror. Caine rushes over and grabs the last two injections, stabbing both needles into either side of Armstrong’s neck and pushing the plungers. IT TAKES A REALLY LONG TIME FOR THE DRUGS TO TAKE HOLD. Carlsen falls to the ground, still struggling and shaking, a man still possessed. Caine holds onto him.
Carlsen stammers “It’s already spreading! You didn’t stop it, it’s too late!” OH DEAR. Caine can’t believe it, they’ve always been just one step behind SPACE GIRL, how can it be possible!? The assistant points out Sir Percy has stopped breathing. Caine drops Carlsen and rushes over, because you know, can’t have the Home Secretary dead on his watch. Caine starts compressions as Carlsen slowly climbs up to stare at Armstrong’s body lying on the table. Somehow Armstrong is still alive.
Oh shit! Sir Percy’s neck is broken. RIP
Caine orders two stretchers and all the doses of pentothal the assistant can find, they’re on the move! Caine queries Carlsen about whatever is spreading. He posits that SPACE GIRL deliberately got them out of London (“It’s a di-ver-si-on!” Oh, that reminds me, really need to recap that film.) and somehow they missed a victim or two (OR SOMETHING ELSE HINT HINT GIANT HINT) and now there’s some sort of “geometrical” chain reaction… that’s when the horror truly hits Caine.
I guess all that meant was THE SPACE VAMPIRES HAVE BEGUN THEIR TAKE OVER OF EARTH.
But then if they take over everyone, who do they feed off of? Cows? Plants? Did anyone think that through? Are they like the aliens in Independence Day where they suck a plant’s resources dry then move on, leaving the husk? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT SPACE VAMPIRES.
I get no answers. Just a smash cut to a helicopter taking off outside the asylum and a really bad painted full moon in the background. [JC: Needs moar werewolves?] [Wing: YES OBVIOUSLY ALWAYS.] Where’s the comet? Huh? Wasn’t it taking up 1/6th of the sky? Has it already moved on?
Caine and Carlsen are on board with Armstrong tied to a stretcher and I’m assuming Sir Percy’s body is there, too. Caine has a bag full of syringes full of pentothal in his coat pocket. He asks the pilot if they can radio but the pilot says he’s receiving a message. It just happens to be the S.R.C. trying to reach him and Carlsen. What fortuitous timing.
Oh, it’s Fallada! He has to scream for Caine and Carlsen to hear him. He informs them the two male vampires didn’t die. WE HAVE A WINNER! SOMEONE FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT! Wow, this explanation goes so fast I had to watch it a couple of times to understand. Apparently the vampires can switch host bodies but the original hosts cannot. Anyone turned cannot leave their body, either. Have I got that right? [JC: *helpless shrug* I think so? I was just sort of letting the nonsense wash over me with no resistance at this point.] [Wing: Exactly. It’s more of an experience than an understanding.]
Fallada also adds he’s managed to take down one of the male vampires, the old fashioned way with a piece of leaded iron but not through the heart but the “energy center” two inches below the heart. [JC: Iron? Are vampires actually just fairies?] I guess he’s going to tell us that Capt. Leigh John Masters figured this out back in 1858? Hm, Halley’s Comet was visible in 1835, so that doesn’t help…
Anyway, Fallada continues on that he believes the legends of vampires as humans know them came from SPACE VAMPIRES, possibly these exact SPACE VAMPIRES. He stop to shout a second time at Carlsen, who confirms the truth of Fallada’s theory. Carlsen says they have visited Earth before. Caine asks about the other male vampire, whom Fallada says is still running amok. Caine confirms they have SPACE GIRL and will be back shortly. Fallada says they’ll try to hold on.
Back on the helicopter, the pilot hands Caine a scrambled cryptogram message. It was supposed to go to Sir Percy (RIP) from the Prime Minister but, you know. Orders say to proceed to the citadel at Whitehall. Apparently this is a real thing. Suddenly, Sir Patrick Stewart is a really bad fake dummy with fake blood spewing out of its mouth in a slow motion shot. [JC: I laughed so hard at PatStew Dummy. I want it. I don’t know what I’d do with it, or how I would explain it to literally anyone who saw it in my home, but I want it.] [Wing: But we would understand.] And then we see blood pouring from Sir Percy’s body, as it all combines mid-air inside the helicopter. This can’t be good.
It begins to form, looking like cells before turning into a beating heart, followed by what looks like a massive gelatinous blob before clearly taking the shape of SPACE GIRL. The pilot turns around and sees this, starts screaming, and loses control of the helicopter. I mean, I can’t blame him.
While the pilot hurries to regain control, SPACE GIRL forms enough of her face and body to let out a scream before dissolving into a huge bloody clot on the floor of the helicopter. I guess that means she’s escaped. Carlsen apparently knows her body is in London. Caine says he’s got to tell what really happened on the HMS Churchill. Yeah, that’s it, Caine is my favorite character in this movie.
Carlsen explains it wasn’t Rawlings who destroyed the radio equipment or the recording tapes, it was him. He didn’t want the ship to reach Earth, because he didn’t want anyone to know he (Carlsen) totally opened the force-field coffin. Then he says he’s not sure if he did it or SPACE GIRL did it. Dude. Make up your damn mind. “I was in love on a level you’ve never known, Caine!” Pretty sure also a fuckload of lust, too. [JC: SPACE GIRL born-sexy-yesterday’d herself into Carlsen’s ideal fuck toy; there’s no love deeper than that!]
Oh great, swirly camera movement to plunge us into a fucking flashback.
Basically, Carlsen is trying to justify his actions by claiming “memory loss”, “terrifying” love, “spiritual power”, so on so forth, it’s not his fault, damn it! Meanwhile, in said flash back, Carlsen gets out of his padded cell bunk – those kind of terrified me, NGL – and wanders into the tug bay which is weirdly illuminated red. For some reason SPACE GIRL pulses with pale white light. Carlsen insists she wanted him. YEAH SURE, BLAME THE SPACE GIRL.
We see Carlsen stick his hands through the force field coffin, cartoon-ish lightning effects are probably to show he’s entering the force field but it isn’t hurting him. He puts his hands almost around her throat (?) but SPACE GIRL grabs his arm and there’s an exchange of LIFEFORCE™ between the two. I guess that’s when Carlsen gained SPACE VAMPIRE-like mental powers?
He posits that the three SPACE VAMPIRES were “living off each other” since there’s just the three of them left. (He knows this how, exactly? PLOT SAYS SO.) Carlsen is bitter that SPACE GIRL killed all his men – pretty sure there was a woman or two on the HMS Churchill, bub – and he alone survived so that totally grants him the prize of making out with SPACE GIRL or something. Because she “chose” Carlsen.
This reads like a terrible abusive relationship. Thankfully, Caine is still living in reality and breaks into this stupid flashback to remind Carlsen that SPACE GIRL isn’t a human and she isn’t, technically, a woman either. Huh, that’s true, she took on the form of a human woman but she is neither. SEE THIS IS WHY CAINE IS MY FAVORITE. [JC: He’s the hero we deserve.]
He adds that SPACE GIRL will destroy Carlsen. Carlsen just counters that she’s destroyed worlds. [Wing: Hot.] Okay. Thankfully, we have a welcomed interruption in the form of a BBC broadcast, which the helpful pilot turns on over the rear speakers.
Apparently it is CHAOS in the streets of London, the city is on the brink of devastation, this is worse than the Blitz! Stuff is on fire and people are rampaging. Are we sure this isn’t set in the summer of 2020? [JC: I was certain Godzilla was about to show up.]
Oh now we get a model of London, just to remind us where we are. There’s London Bridge and I believe that’s supposed to be St Paul’s Cathedral, and there’s a bunch of small model buildings on fire. The broadcast reminds us that martial law was declared three hours ago to little effect.
Down on the “ground” we see people running to and fro, someone zap another person for some LIFEFORCE™, and then we get a very Ghostbusters moment with a white shooting star-like thing that blasts into a building, causing a great explosion. I’m guessing this is SPACE GIRL?
To be fair, most of the actors are being more zombie-like than vampires? I mean, there’s a nun kicking someone as four or five others rip someone to pieces. There’s a longer shot of someone biting a throat out. This is not reading VAMPIRE to me at all. If they’re trying to show that it’s CARNAGE IN THE STREETS, I’m not sure it works on me. Maybe someone in 1985, sure. I am jaded and live in the 21st century.
So the helicopter lands on what I guess is Whitehall? It takes an exceptionally long time for this scene, for no reason. Caine still shows his identification even though the guard is all “YEAH WE’VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU!” A bunch of armed soldiers see to the remains of Sir Percy and Armstrong, as Carlsen and Caine enter the bunker.
They enter a WAR ROOM where a female secretary awaits them. There is chatter of evacuating the cabinet. The secretary buzzes the PM, who will be in shortly. And this gets very British when she asks if either man would like a cup of tea. Caine points out their business is urgent, and of course the PM comes out of his office at that moment. We have to go through introductions yet again. Sheesh.
The PM says he’s looking forward to their report and inquires of Sir Percy. When Caine informs the PM of Sir Percy’s death, the PM does not look remotely upset or interested. He’s also sweating profusely and I AM SUSPICIOUS.
The PM interrupts and demands his secretary, Miss Haversham, join him in his private office. He insists he’ll be back shortly. RED FLAGS RED FLAGS RED FLAGS EVERYWHERE! Caine and Carlsen share a look and it’s noted Miss Haversham didn’t shut the office door. They peek in and watch the PM call Miss Haversham behind a projected map and immediately suck down her LIFEFORCE™!
Welp, you are too late, dudes.
Caine and Carlsen exit the War Room and see a high ranking military official go down, causing panic amongst everyone in the chambers. Up the stairs they go, back to the roof and the helicopter. Conveniently, it’s just sitting there, waiting for orders. Caine and Carlsen climb aboard, just as some zombie-like victims come out onto the landing pad, chasing after. Even though they scream for the pilot to take off, it’s not fast enough, as the zombie victims grab ahold of the skids.
One gets a pretty good grip, while the other claws its own hands to shreds trying to hold onto the skid, tearing its flesh from its bones before falling mid-air. Caine inquires the pilot for weapons. All he has is a flare pistol. THAT’S FINE! Just as Caine gets ahold of the pistol, the zombie victim reaches the door opening and yells, sending Carlsen backwards as Caine fires the flare into its chest. It lights up in a shower of sparks and falls away to its doom.
Like, why didn’t they just shut the door? That would have been easier. [JC: Pretty sure they could have just kicked it in the face.]
Pilot informs them that he had a call while they were out, that London is under martial law and under NATO command. Caine is incredulous about the NATO part. The pilot says his unit has been mobilized across the river to a staging area at Blackheath. Caine tries to have the helicopter flown to that weird office building housing the European Space whatever, so they can find Fallada. But the pilot says London’s under air quarantine now and his orders say Blackheath, because otherwise the helicopter will be shot down.
Uh, dude, does it matter? Can you not see THE HORROR all around you?
More explosions go off in the model London. The helicopter zooms out of the shot, presumably to land at Blackheath, where a whole bunch of armed soldiers are awaiting. Caine and Carlsen jump out, being informed over megaphone that they are now under quarantine. Caine yet again yells his name and credentials, as well as Carlsen’s, and demands to speak to the commanding officer.
Apparently this doesn’t work, since next we see them standing behind a barbed wire wall in a fenced off quarantine section. [JC: Now the movie is goddamn Dreamcatcher?!] Caine is asking if Fallada has been brought here. The commanding officer says no and they don’t even know who that is. Caine asks what’s happening. Commanding officer says all they know is a terrible plague “of some sort” is sweeping London. They’re sticking with the two hour incubation period and that’s how long Caine and Carlsen will have to cool their heels until they’re deemed fit for release.
Somehow, Caine insisting they know what the plague is and that they’re not infected works. BECAUSE PLOT SAYS SO. Now they’re in a military bunker, discussing how London has been totally isolated to stem the contagion. If quarantine fails, thermonuclear devices have been approved to “sterilize” the area. [Wing: This would be useful the past few years. Or something. Ignore me, I hate people.] They are awaiting a decision from some commander in Brussels, which will come in three hours time. Oh god no, the counter says 23 minutes left to watch! [JC: I watched this movie way too late at night, after way too long a day, so I was a bit in and out of consciousness for the last 30 minutes or so. I kept jerking my eyes open long enough to look at the time and wonder how only five minutes had gone by since the last time I’d looked. This movie drags in the back half.] [Raven: You were in good company. The last half of this film passed in a haze of sleepiness. I part blame my age, and part blame the film.]
Carlsen inquires about the SPACE VAMPIRES UFO. It has parked itself in orbit over London, natch. Cue cutting to said ship, which is all lit up in blue sparkly bits and looks like it’s sucking up energy. Carlsen and Caine are outside, looking at the blue beam from the ship. Carlsen informs Caine the “blue lights” are human souls.
So, wait, now SPACE VAMPIRES take souls as well as LIFEFORCE™?? I’m so damn confused. Oh, Caine figures out the umbrella part of the ship collects the souls so the energry doesn’t go free. Sheesh.
Back on the streets of London, more weird Ghostbuster-esque lights zooming around as people scream and run for their lives. We see the big beam zap people, as Carlsen explains in voiceover that the male vampire is collecting “life energy”. But he must send it through the SPACE GIRL to get it up to “the collector”.
Caine asks Carlsen where SPACE GIRL’S body is. He says “over there” but really he means in London. We’re shown SPACE GIRL laying on a marble tomb, dressed in white satin, as she is illuminated with bright light. [Wing: A weirdly virgin sacrifice look.] Carlsen says he can find her if he can get over there. I guess he means across the river. Caine inquires about the male vampire. Apparently he’ll show up if he senses Carlsen has found SPACE GIRL.
Carlsen says he’s being drawn to her. We get weird SPACE GIRL voice over, calling his name. Caine dares to ask why Carlsen has to go find her. He says she wants back the energy she gave him. OKAY PLOT SAYS SO WHY NOT.
For fuck’s sake, they keep adding shit after the fact. Apparently when the SPACE VAMPIRES take on whatever new form it is, they have to learn from said life form. “Mate with it, in a sense.” UH HUH. SPACE GIRL may have chosen Carlsen but when she “mixed” with him, she gave a part of herself to Carlsen and now she wants it back. [JC: What part? Space Chlamydia?] [Wing: SSTIs.]
Caine looks genuinely upset about Carlsen’s decision to go to SPACE GIRL.
Back in the tent, Caine tries to convince the colonel commander that Carlsen can locate the source. If he can, then it wouldn’t be necessary to nuke London, right? Somehow we’re down to an hour and a half before the decision about nuking London is made. Geez, movie. You took over an hour to get anywhere and now you’re cramming every ounce of action into the last 45 minutes?!
Suddenly there is machine gun fire. Caine and the commander run outside. Seems Caine overpowered two soldiers and stole and armored Land Rover. Caine actually yells “BLOODY HELL!” and is informed Carlsen asked where the Space center was located. They come upon a car and Caine demands the keys. It happens to be the commander’s vehicle. Caine informs them he’s commandeering it. I LOVE CAINE!
The commander reminds Caine once he leaves the quarantine zone, he cannot come back in. Armed with a pistol and a station wagon, Caine zooms out of the lot, blaring the horn, sending soldiers diving out of the way. He stops once to inform another commander of his name and credentials, saying he’s crossing the river. He’s warned he doesn’t want to do that. Caine says he knows and zooms off, the commander saluting him.
Caine’s gonna die, isn’t he. Damn it. If Carlsen survives this, I will pitch a fucking fit.
We drive along with Caine through dark streets, people fleeing everywhere, forcing him to honk the horn and drive slowly not to hit them. He hits a zombie victim which bursts into parts across the windscreen. [JC: I woke up long enough to laugh again. It reminded me of playing Dead Rising.] Weirdly, there’s no blood.
Over in the armored Land Rover, Carlsen listens to SPACE GIRL calling him in his mind. We see a track suit wearing zombie victim crawl out from behind some trash bins. I don’t know why.
Driving at a generally sensible rate, Carlsen finally comes to a stop. We get a shot of SPACE GIRL looking like Mina Harker on top of a tomb, waiting for him. She opens her eyes and the camera makes weird leaping zooms close and closer to her face until we see she’s got swirls in her eyes. Whoa, I wondered earlier if she had contacts in, those look really cool.
Carlsen stuck around in one place too long, as suddenly a victim reaches in and grabs his face. Before he can get the Land Rover started, the vehicle is piled on by zombie victims. Suddenly the one’s arm gives way and Carlsen slowly drives off, victims falling away. He removes the still-moving arm from his neck and tosses it in the back. WHY NOT OUT THE WINDOW YOU DUMB ASS. [JC: We missed the opportunity for a real Evil Dead/ReAnimator scene here. Tobe Hooper makes weird, wrong choices.]
We intercut Caine taking his own Sunday drive, slowly cruising between fires and fleeing citizens. Suddenly Carlsen comes to another abrupt stop. He’s found the source of the blue beam. Is that St Paul’s Cathedral again? He manages to get the Land Rover going again, as victims ping off the sides of the vehicle. He finally stops outside the cathedral steps, seeing them covered in bodies of people who the SPACE VAMPIRES have stripped of their souls. Some are still weaking writhing. And of course there’s a VERY CLEAR AND DIRECT PATH for Carlsen up the steps.
He pushes open the tall wooden door, which instantly slams shut behind him. He sees the pews are littered with bodies and in the middle, on the altar, lies SPACE GIRL, transmitting the blue energy beam to the SPACE VAMPIRE UFO.
Caine, meanwhile, has returned to the European Space Reasearch Center. I guess he cares about Fallada, that’s my own explanation. Or he took the bait that Carlsen threw out. At least the Center is quiet. Caine enters and arms his pistol.
He eventually enters what I believe are Fallada’s office / lab space, the flickering lights of the fires outside illuminating the darkened space. It is deathly silent in the building. Suddenly, Caine calls out to Fallada and he responds in kind.
Fallada stands in front of the windows, staring out at the burning city. They agree they are both glad the other is still living. Aw. Caine sees the male vampire, still stabbed by the leaded iron. He inquires of Bukovsky? “Dead,” Fallada confirms. NO BIG SHOCK THERE. Caine asks how Fallada has survived. Fallada changes the subject, I get instantly suspicious. He knows Caine is seeking Carlsen and certainly he misled Caine or a better way to put it is “misdirected” him.
Oh dear. Fallada’s face is in shadow, meaning viewers can’t see it. He says he’s been doing more work. I AM WORRIED. He tells Caine he has confirmed life after death. He rambles about mental transference, telepathy, between the SPACE VAMPIRES and their victims. Uh huh. He says he knows Carlsen is going after SPACE GIRL. Fallada wipes the sweat from his face and asks how Caine doesn’t know. Because Fallada knows she’s been in “the Cathedral” since her original escape. “The crypt of kings and queens.”
WARNING WARNING DANGER CAINE RED FLAGS EVERYWHERE!
Caine tells Fallada to stay where he is, and aims his pistol, firing a bullet into Fallada’s gut when he doesn’t obey. Fallada stays standing, smiling and laughing, before dropping to his knees. The change begins to overcome him. “Here I go,” he says creepily. The skin of his face bubbles before he falls forward, his soul exploding through the back of his body and literally breaking through the window glass to join the beam. His body catches fire. Uh. [Wing: Fire.]
Walking over to the corpse of the male vampire, Caine pulls the leaded iron free. The corpse flashes in a bright light and disentigrates to a dessicated pile of charred ash. [JC: I was certain taking the (not)stake out of the (not)heart would bring the vampire back to life. Yet another dusting caught me by surprise!] Guess leaded iron really does work! He takes off, to return to the car, to try and find Carlsen and SPACE GIRL.
Before he can even make it to the exit, there’s an explosion. Oops, there goes his comandeered car. Behind him, in the darkness, zombie victims rise up from behind the desk. Uh oh. There’s about half a dozen of them, gutteraly growling and moaning. Caine realizes he has real bad odds and makes it out the front door, running away towards the Cathedral.
Over at said Cathedral, the blue beam is still beaming away to the SPACE VAMPIRE UFO. I want to call it their “one giant coffin” so I think I shall for the remainder of this recap. Carlsen has made it into the crypts below the cathedral, so I guess I was wrong about SPACE GIRL lying on the altar. She’s underneath it, the beam beaming up through the floor.
As soon as Carlsen approaches, SPACE GIRL sits up but doesn’t break from her important job of beaming harvested human souls. Carlsen opens the wrought iron gates and enters the fenced off area around the tomb.
“Now can this madness end?” Carlsen asks. (I sure fucking hope so, there’s still about ten minutes left to go.) SPACE GIRL orders him to be with her. I mean, I guess since the SPACE VAMPIRES probably want to destroy Earth, it might be time to GTFO. Although, technically Carlsen is entirely responsible for this happening.
SPACE GIRL adds that it was always intended for Carlsen to find them and bring the SPACE VAMPIRES to Earth. Well, wow, just twist the knife and make the guilt skyrocket. “The web of destiny carries you blood and soul back to the genesis of my life form.” UM, THIS FEELS LIKE A LIE. And an incredibly terrible PLOT SAYS SO.
[Wing: She’s so dramatic, and I love her.]
SPACE GIRL continues to implore Carlsen, standing in the white light beam and raising her arms. But whatever Carlsen chooses, we don’t know, because we smash cut back over to Caine running through the streets, gun in hand, as a car speeds past him and slams into a double-decker bus, exploding everything after the fact. Kind of a weird pause there. Caine just keeps running. I am so Team Caine in this.
Carlsen begins to take a few steps towards SPACE GIRL but we’re back to Caine, who’s managed to enter a street full of chaos, fire, and zombie victims attacking anything and everything. Behind him a mob of the zombie victims comes up, literally, screaming and [shrieking] which forces Caine to run into the lesser chaos in front of him. Thankfully he still has that leaded iron thing in his other hand.
He makes it into an alley passway and a ton of burning debris drops, blocking the zombie victims. Caine, for some stupid reason, stands there looking elated, instead of you know RUNNING. A zombie victim pops up behind him and screams. Caine shoots him in the face and continues on towards the Cathedral.
I really hope he gets to shoot Carlsen and put an end to this.
Rounding a corner, it’s once more into the breach, where Caine encounters more zombie victims attacking fleeing citizens. For a time he is pinned against a florist shop, as the male vampire’s bright white light form comes zooming it. He manages to herd a bunch of people into an underground tube station, probably to suck them dry and send souls on to SPACE GIRL. I have to ask, how do you stab a white light comet-like thing with leaded iron?
[Wing: You need color guard members to swing leaded iron poles.]
The male vampires causes an explosion and a bunch of people catch fire and that was kind of a random scene.
Caine picks his way along the street and OH! FINALLY! He’s found the Cathedral! Oh yeah, REMEMEBER how the stupid male vampire was supposed to sense when Carlsen reached SPACE GIRL? Well that’s finally happened. The ball of bright white light reaches the Cathedral doors first, knocking Caine back into the pile of victims, but Caine isn’t down for the count.
But it’s not entering the Cathedral the male vampire wants. Nope. He pours his… essence? into an available dead body of a man, rising from the corpse pile, ready to battle Caine. Smartly, Caine has concealed the leaded iron poker thing behind his back. Well, that didn’t matter. The force of the blast (?) from the male vampire taking on human form knocked Caine back, dislodging the gun from his hand. But he’s still got the leaded iron poker!
The male vampire is taking forever to fuse with the human body. He looks at Caine and in a deep voice says it would be much less terrifying if Caine just came to him. Um. Once again, Caine has tucked the leaded iron poker behind his back, just waiting for a chance. Male vampire apparently doesn’t know about the poker.
Suddenly Caine says he’ll do just that, angles the leaded iron poker, and rushes up the stairs/bodies, and slams it into the – what did Fallada call it? the “energy center”? [JC: aka the Solar Plexus Chakra. Which is associated with confidence and control. Read into that what you will.] – and the blast throws him back down ontop of the bodies pile.
Apparently Caine struck right and true, as the male vampire starts to spew ectoplasmic blood? He’s sure screaming in pain. Does that mean when they’re in human form they feel pain? Or just because he got stabbed with leaded iron? I HAVE QUESTIONS.
There’s a lot of screaming before an explosion. Suddenly the male vampire has… well, now he’s man-bat? I mean, it looks cool and all, and a tad hilarious with the fangs, but what the hell? Oh my god, Caine screams like a little girl and lurches backwards in horror. COME ON, DUDE, YOU WERE S.A.S. BAD ASS AND NOW YOU’RE TERRIFIED OF A TACKY PUPPET?
[Wing: BITE YOUR TONGUE. Giant Man-Bat is amazing. Reminds me a bit of Christopher Pike’s Monster, and now I suddenly have some concerns around the inspiration for that.]
We get a bit of stop motion animation and then the man bat SPACE VAMPIRE explodes into litrally nothing. A FUCKING ROAD FLARE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER THAN EMPTY SPACE. [JC: I LOVE STOP-MOTION MAN-BAT!]
Caine cautiously climbs over bodies and finds the leaded iron poker intact, still jammed into the smoking, ashy remains of the second male space vampire. He removes it, looks a bit crazy for a second, then enters the Cathedral. Well, shouldn’t that have stopped the chaos in the streets? Like the male space vampire isn’t herding people and sucking souls now, so yeah?
Entering the Cathedral we get a stupidly long overdramatic reaction scene to the blue energy soul beam before Caine runs up on the hole in the floor the beam has made so it can send these souls to the stupid UFO Coffin ship.
Oh dear. Peering down into the hole, Caine peeps Carlsen and SPACE GIRL sexing away, or at least in an approximation of it. Or maybe just heavily making out naked. Caine calls out to Carlsen, but you know, he’s busy.
Taking a long enough break to ask, Carlsen inquires about why he feels all this stuff and why does he need SPACE GIRL? She says he’s one of them. Okay. She continues that he has always been one of them and demands he be with her. They go back to heavy kissing, SPACE GIRL begging for “just a little more”. Caine calls again but the hole is too deep (that’s what she said) and Carlsen is just a bit distracted. No way Caine can aim and throw the leaded iron, even if SPACE GIRL’S back is towards him.
In all the damn time Caine is wasting yelling for Carlsen, HE COULD HAVE GONE DOWN INTO THE CRYPT AND KILLED SPACE GIRL.
It looks like Carlsen is finally hearing, distantly, Caine’s calls. He slowly reaches up and in slow motion calls Caine’s name, who tosses the leaded iron poker down into the pit. OF CORUSE CARLSEN CATCHES IT ON THE FIRST TRY. BECAUSE PLOT SAYS SO.
He jams it through SPACE GIRL’S back, out through her front, and into himself. SPACE GIRL LOOKS HORRIFIED AS REALIZATION DAWNS. Soon the weird red ectoplasm whatnot is streaming from their naked, impaled bodies. Caine watches until the two explode into balls of light, falling back from the force of the explosion. The leaded iron poker falls atop the tomb and we move outside to see the red lights still flowing through the broken top of the Cathedral dome.
I think the captioning is stuck because it’s said [yelling] for like two minutes now. [JC: Maybe it was captioning the recappers’ reactions from the future? [clunk]]
Oh look, the dome is now exploding from the sheer force of SPACE VAMPIRE power. Uhhhh somehow, even though it appeared they were dead, we see SPACE GIRL and Carlsen, in human form, still wrapped around each other, zooming up into the weird vampire space umbralla coffin ship transmitter collector thing. There they reform atop the crystal force field coffins inside the ship, as it begins to float away into deeper space.
BACK ON EARTH, Caine stands in the street outside the piles of bodies on the Cathedral steps, APPARENTLY ABLE TO SEE THE SPACE VAMPIRE COFFIN SHIP FLY AWAY. Sure. SURE SURE SURE. (Apparently the subtitle track got stuck; I fixed it and the [yelling] went away.) I guess Caine is the sole survivor? Woo hoo! The character I rooted didn’t die for once!
Up in space, the giant umbrella part has folded down, as the SPACE VAMPIRE UFO COFFIN EXTRAVAGANZA sails away past the moon, to parts unknown. It sparkles so I’m guessing it’s still full of extracted and stolen human souls. Great. Does this mean SPACE GIRL and Carlsen will rebuild their “people”? OH LOOK, HALLEY’S COMET IS STILL THERE, GUESS THEY’RE OFF TO HIDE THE SHIP IN ITS TAIL AGAIN. [JC: When do they get to the Maximum Overdrive movieverse? (Yes, I’ve just suddenly decided these movies crossover.)]
It wouldn’t be so bad, watching this film, but recaps add on actual days of viewing, it takes me so long to get through a recap. Which adds to my frustration and eventual hatred of a film.
On paper, maybe in the book, this is an interesting concept. Vampire-like beings from space who harvest souls and not blood. Cool. Different.
On film? Nah. I know from reading trivia and the wiki page, problems plagued production from before day 1 and it was a giant clusterfuck. I don’t know if it was meant for the era it was created in; would having made this in the 2000s been better? Probably unlikely. And absolutely no way they could have had a totally naked… wait, I just remembered Species. Okay, the level of full frontal nudity in Lifeforce would not be allowed today. It just wouldn’t.
I mean there’s trivia bits of people talking about having to make merkins for Mathilda May because she’d been shaved down too much.
Do I think this would be a fun project for some armchair YT film lovers to cut down and edit into a much more sensible film that had the correct tension and pacing and plotline? Yes. I think someone could totally do that. I am not that person but I do have notes if someone should want to try it. [JC: . . . do not tempt me to take this project on. I already have too many ideas for projects, too many existing projects, and too little time.]
Lifeforce really is a product of its time. Do I think it’s bad? Not really; I have watched and recapped much, much worse films. Do I think it’s great? Nope. But it has a lot of potential and some really amazing practical SFX work that should be applauded and recognized.
[JC: Tobe Hooper. Man. Look, Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a masterpiece. Everything Hooper did after that has ranged from dismal to mediocre. (I really like Poltergeist, but it’s widely debated how much Spielberg bullied his way into directing on that, so I don’t really count it as Hooper in the purest sense.) This movie is at least twenty minutes too long, although we were watching the director’s cut; I didn’t bother to check how long the theatrical release was. The pacing is weird; it tells when it should be showing, and takes way too long to catch up to the plot points the audience has already figured out. But, it’s frequently unintentionally hilarious, has an interesting premise, and I found the bad effects kind of sweet. I wanted to pat the bad effects on the head and give them cookies. I probably won’t watch this one often, but I can imagine throwing it on again some night when I just want to laugh at mummy zombie vampires exploding into clouds of dust like when I pull the vacuum bag out of the cannister and immediately drop it on the floor.]
[Wing: This was terrible and cheesy and I both loved and hated it, so I’m mostly left with genuine amusement with just a tiny bit of rage. The premise is interesting and silly, the special effects awful in that so-bad-they’re-fun way, and SPACE GIRL was so fucking dramatic I loved her.
Could I have done without that weird turn into BDSM softcore porn? Sure. Did things make sense? Not really. Were they hypocritical as fuck with the full-frontal nudity? Of course. Would I have hated to write the recap for this? You’re damn straight.
Did I enjoy this? Hell yeah.]
[Raven: This film was a clusterfuck. It needed editing down. It was too long, and contrived, and just continued to pile odd choice atop odd choice without any thought to the big picture, or to anything like a coherent narrative. It felt like an elongated game of Yes And, with no one having the balls to actually say “hang on, can we reel this back a little?”.
Perhaps the biggest diss I can lay at this film’s feet was that it was packed with boobs, yet it still bored me to sleep.
I can’t fathom how this looks so dated, while films from 1984 and earlier look so much fresher. The money was NOT well spent on this turkey.]
Ye *gods* was this one a trip. The geometrically expanding mojo-drain victim ‘contagion’ is viscerally & conceptually horrifying as shit (nervously side-eyes our current Plague Years), though I can’t say the zombie/ghoul adjacency seems particularly *non-vampiric* (really, there’s a lot of overlap between those categories of predatory revenants). I do wish the gnarly bat forms had seen some action besides starved cadavers & death throes (srsly: that last dude vamp just fuses his energy-being bullshit with a corpse so he’s stabbable. How convenient!), and the musical possession chairs game *really* hit my pointless-padding alarm. I mean, I get the bit with Stewart was a Seward/Renfield pastiche, but just skip to the saturation rampage and soul harvesting-I’m sure *those* would’ve facilitated some properly horrid FX demise. Plus…guhhh, you really have a point about the uneven & exploitative nudity demands made of May.
All that noted, these suckers would’ve made for killer TNG antagonists. I’d readily trade a fistful of Borg episodes to see Starfleet duke it out with the soul-umbrella ship.