Monday, April 4, 2011

Lifeforce (1985)

Tobe Hooper made 3 films in the 1980's for Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan's Cannon Films.Invaders from Mars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 were part of that deal, the other was a Sci-Fi film based on the novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson.With a screenplay by Alien writer Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby, Lifeforce was the first film of the 3 he shot, budgeted at $25m the movie was shot on location here in the UK. The film deviated from the source novel which is set in 2100 AD, the crew of a spaceship find a giant derelict spaceship, on board they find 2 males and a female in suspended animation, on return to Earth they turn out to be energy vampires who suck the 'lifeforce' from their victims.
The movie set on Earth in present day has an alien spaceship discovered by the crew of the space shuttle Churchill in the coma of Halley's Comet. The Churchill find the bodies in glass cases and return them to the ship, later when Earth loses contact with the crew of the shuttle a 2nd rescue mission is sent up, they find the ship gutted and it's crew dead, only the glass coffins with their occupants survive, these are returned to Earth to the European Space Research Centre in London. Tom Carlsen one of the Churchill's crew is found in Texas having ejected from the ship in an escape pod, he is brought to London. The female from the alien ship escapes sucking the 'lifeforce' from a security guard.Dr Leonard Bukovski and Dr Hans Fallada with the help of Tom Carlsen must find the female who is now moving through various host bodies.

Of course most people may recall Lifeforce for one reason, that being the fact that the space girl played by Mathilda May walks around for a fair bit of the movie in the nude. The film starred Steve Railsback, Michael Gothard,Peter Firth, Patrick Stewart and Frank Finlay in a role that was originally going to be played by Klaus Kinski. As a film being shot in the UK it has a very Quatermass feel to it at times, and although not very well received at the time I think people have warmed to it over the years.John Dykstra (Star Wars) handled the Visual FX, and I know he speaks in Cinefex Magazine about problems they had with the composite work and how unhappy he was with the final shots in some cases, Make-up FX were created primarily by Nick Maley and his crew. There are some pretty cool Make-up FX for the time involving the 'lifeforce' being sucked out of the victims and a brief glimpse of the Vampire creatures in their true form (bottom row on the pictures 2nd in)
James Horner was originally asked to score the film before Henry Mancicni was brought in, in the US Domestic print Michael Kamen was asked to write some additional music cues.
The $25m budget Lifeforce didn't fare well at the Worldwide Box Office, grossing only $11.5m. The US DVD release featured additional scenes, mainly with British actor Michael Ball on board the space shuttle Churchill.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, good grief -- I'd forgotten that Patrick Stewart was in that one. I bet he'd like to forget too.