Lifeforce


1h 41m 1985
Lifeforce

Brief Synopsis

When a space mission involving American and British astronauts encounters an alien craft, the humanoids within are brought aboard the shuttle. Back on Earth, one of the extraterrestrials, who appears to be a gorgeous woman, proceeds to suck the life force out of various Londoners, turning the town into a city of roaming half-dead people. When Tom Carlsen, a surviving astronaut, realizes what is happening, he sets out to stop the ruthless alien presence.

Film Details

Also Known As
Lifeforce - L'├ętoile du mal
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Action
Adventure
Horror
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1985
Production Company
General Screen Enterprises
Distribution Company
Tristar Pictures; Vestron Video

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m

Synopsis

A space exploration crew brings back a human-looking, vampire-like "space girl," who threatens to bring about an armageddon. Perhaps tongue-in-cheek, it is at turns a science fiction, vampire and disaster film

Cast

Steve Railsback

Commander Tom Carlsen

Peter Firth

Inspector Caine

Frank Finlay

Fallade

Mathilda May

Space Girl

Patrick Stewart

Dr Armstrong

Michael Gothard

Bukovsky

Nicholas Ball

Derebridge

Aubrey Morris

Sir Percy

Nancy Paul

Ellen

John Hallam

Lamson

John Keegan

Guard

Christopher Jagger

1st Vampire

Bill Malin

2nd Vampire

Jerome Willis

Pathologist

Derek Benfield

Physician

John Woodnutt

Metallurgist

James Forbes-robertson

Minister

Peter Porteous

Prime Minister

Katherine Schofield

Prime Minister'S Secretary

Owen Holder

1st Scientist

Jamie Roberts

Rawlings

Russell Sommers

Navigation Officer

Patrick Connor

Fatherly Guard

Sidney Kean

Brash Guard

Paul Cooper

2nd Guard

Chris Sullivan

Kelly

Milton Cadman

1st Soldier

Rupert Baker

2nd Soldier

Gary Hildreth

Police Surgeon

Edward Evans

Doctor

Nicholas Donnelly

Police Inspector

Peter Lovestrom

1st Boy In Park

Julian Firth

2nd Boy In Park

Carl Rig

1st Radar Technician

Elizabeth Morton

2nd Radar Technician

Geoffrey Frederick

Communcations Officer

David English

1st Crewperson

Emma Jacobs

2nd Crewperson

Michael John Paliotti

3rd Crewperson

Brian Carroll

4th Crewperson

Richard Oldfield

Mission Leader

Christopher Barr

Trajectory Officer

Burnell Tucker

Nasa Man

Thom Booker

1st Nasa Officer

Michael Fitzpatrick

2nd Nasa Officer

Richard Sharpe

Rescue Ship Crewman

John Golightly

Colonel

William Lindsay

Colonel'S Aide

David Beckett

Soldier

Sidney Livingstone

Ned Price

Ken Parry

Sykes

John Edmunds

Bbc Commentator

Haydn Wood

Helicopter Pilot

Adrian Hedley

Director Of Mime Artists

Corrine Bougaard

Mime Artist

Cal Mccrystal

Mime Artist

Bob Goody

Mime Artist

Paul Anthony-barber

Mime Artist

Kristine Landon-smith

Mime Artist

Chris Jagger

Crew

Julie Adams

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Tom Adams

Art Department

Tony Aherne

Assistant Director

Richard Alexander

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Bernard Alimo

Technical Advisor

Roy Alon

Stunts

David Anderson

Sound Rerecording

Percy Angress

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Marian Appleton

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Dorothy Arthur

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Geoff Austin

Location Manager

Del Baker

Stunts

Ron Baker

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Alan Barnard

Special Effects Crew

Janice Barnes

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

L W Batty

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

David Beasley

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Mat Beck

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Dickey Beer

Stunts

Alexander Beetham

Technical Advisor

Julie Beha

Special Effects Crew

Ian Biggs

Special Effects Crew

Cosmas Paul Bolger Jr.

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Jean Bolte

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Nigel Brackley

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Andy Bradford

Stunts

Michael Brady

Special Effects Crew

Dave Brandon

Stunts

Steven Brooks

Special Effects

Dennis Brown

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

John Brunner

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Vivian Brunner

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Marlene Butland

Production Coordinator

Glenn Campbell

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Mark Cane

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Robert Cartwright

Art Direction

Brian Chewins

Special Effects Crew

Bryan Cole

Modeler

Stephen Cooper

Art Department

Chris Corbould

Special Effects Crew

Andrew Coupe

Modeler

Brian Cox

Wardrobe Department

Pamela Cox

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Derek Cracknell

Assistant Director

Olga Craig

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Steve Crawley

Wire Effects

Keith Crossley

Art Department

Graeme Crowther

Stunts

Steve Cullane

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Rachel De La Cruz

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Carole Dejong

Art Department

Blake Dennis

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Peter Diamond

Stunt Arranger

Russell Diamond

Special Effects Crew

Frank Dickinson

Modeler

Peter Dorme

Special Effects Crew

Dennis Dorney

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Roger Dorney

Optical Effects Supervisor

Tony Dunsterville

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

John Dykstra

Special Visual Effects

Sadie Eddon

Stunts

Tracey Eddon

Stunts

Jon Erland

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Fred Evans

Art Department

Maryan Evans

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Sandra Exelby

Makeup

Denise Exshaw

Set Decorator

John V. Fante

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Jacques Fastineau

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Stuart Fell

Stunts

Mark Files

Art Department

Rick Filligan

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Nick Finlayson

Modeler

Michael Firth

Camera Operator

John Fisher

Video Department

Jack Fishman

Technical Advisor (Music)

Stephen C Fog

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Dorothy Ford

Stunts

Ray Ford

Stunts

Terry Forrestal

Stunts

Graham Freeborn

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Randy Fullmer

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Nigel Galt

Sound Editor (Dialogue)

John Gant

Special Effects

Richard Glass

Consultant (Contact Lens)

Yoram Globus

Producer

Menahem Golan

Producer

Chris Grant

Special Effects Crew

John Graysmark

Production Designer

Mark Gredell

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Michael Griffin

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

John Grover

Editor

James Guthrie

Additional Music

Fred Haggerty

Stunts

Ray Hanson

Special Effects Crew

Reg Harding

Stunts

Jeremy Harris

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Rick Harrison

Special Effects Crew

Norman Hart

Art Department

Michael Hartman

Production Company Liaison

Alix Harwood

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Bob Hathaway

Music Editor

John Hayward

Sound Rerecording

Arthur Healey

Modeller

Mike Heaviside

Video Department

Renee Heimer

Wardrobe Department

Frank Henson

Stunts

Ken Herd

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Kevin Herd

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Gregg Heschong

Visual Effects

Richard Hewitt

Video

Simon Hewitt

Special Effects Crew

Ron Hicksson

Titles

Sue Higgins

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Reg Hill

Art Department

Richard Hiscott

Special Effects Editor

Martin Hitchcock

Art Department

Nick Hobbs

Stunts

Kathleen Quaife Hodge

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

John Hoesli

Art Department

T Daniel Hofstedt

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Carin Hooper

Costume Designer

Jill Hopper

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Richard Hoult

Assistant Director

Alan Hume

Director Of Photography

Don Jakoby

Screenwriter

Patricia Johnson

Art Department

Paul Johnson

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Ann Johnston

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Mary Johnston

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Alf Joint

Stunts

Michael Joyce

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Michael J Kagan

Associate Producer

Michael Kamen

Additional Music

Bob Keen

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Denny Kelly

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Sandy Kennedy

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Terry Knight

Art Direction

Paul Knowles

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Nick Kubicki

Modeler

Rick Laconte

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Richard H Langford

Sound Rerecording

Michael Law

Stunts

John Lees

Stunts

Jean-pierre Lelong

Additional Sound Effects

Terry Lens

Unit Manager

Melvin Lind

Assistant Director

Stephen Lloyd

Special Effects Crew

Jack Lowin

Camera Operator 2nd Unit (2nd Unit)

Paul Lowin

Assistant Director

Jim Machin

Modeler

Nick Maley

Makeup Effects; Prosthetic And Makeup Effects

Nick Maley

Other

Paul Maliney

Art Department

Henry Mancini

Music

Caren A Marinoff

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Grant Mccune

Miniatures Supervisor

Mark Meddings

Special Effects Crew

Vernon Messenger

Sound Design

Peter Michel

Modeler

Michael Middleton

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Alvah J Miller

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Dickie Mills

Makeup

Gareth Milne

Stunts

Harry Moreau

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Michael Morris

Makeup

Mickey Morris

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Josh Morton

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Don Mothersill

Wardrobe Department

Simon Murray

Wardrobe Department

Tiny Nicholls

Costume Designer Supervisor

Hugh Nicholson

Video Department

Marian Nicholson

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Deborah A Nikkel

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Don Nikkel

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Rita Nugent

Special Effects Crew

Robert Nugent

Special Effects Crew

Dan O'bannon

Screenwriter

Tom Pahk

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Chris Parfitt

Art Department

Daniel Parker

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Roy Parkinson

Location Manager (Models)

John Patrick

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Eric Peterson

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

W Petil

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Lee Pogoler

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Jerry Pooler

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Geoff Portass

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Dinny Powell

Stunts

Denise Rayn

Stunts

Terri Rea

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Tony Reading

Art Direction

Jason Reed

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Tim Reed

Assistant Director

Helen Renshaw

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Doug Robinson

Stunts

Chris Ross

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

Joe Ross

Makeup

Steve Sass

Special Visual Effects (Crew)

John Schoonraad

Prosthetic And Makeup Effects (Crew)

Film Details

Also Known As
Lifeforce - L'├ętoile du mal
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Action
Adventure
Horror
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1985
Production Company
General Screen Enterprises
Distribution Company
Tristar Pictures; Vestron Video

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m

Articles

Lifeforce


Following the success of Poltergeist (1982), director Tobe Hooper had a chance to punch his own ticket. But instead of another Steven Spielberg theme park ride, Hooper delivered Lifeforce (1985), an obsessive head trip in 70mm, one that details the ways in which quivering men fail to satisfy a voracious (alien) woman's sexual desire. Ravaged by critics, Janet Maslin memorably described it as "hysterical vampire porn", and it made only $11.5 million on a $25 million budget.

Cannon Films, led by producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, signed Hooper to a three-picture deal following the success of Poltergeist. To sign the contract, Hooper dropped out of The Return of the Living Dead (1985), for which screenwriter Dan O'Bannon (Alien) took over as director. In their first meeting, Golan and Globus handed Hooper the novel The Space Vampires (1976) by Colin Wilson. The production began a few days later, with Hooper fondly remembering how they "bypassed all the usual development things you have to go through." One of those "development things" they went without was having a completed script. Hooper hired O'Bannon and Don Jakoby to write it, but it was far from finished by the time the compressed shooting schedule began. The tight schedule also frustrated the effects team led by John Dykstra (Star Wars), who later complained that a rushed film processing job introduced flaws into the delicate optical printing work.

If Golan and Globus expected the same Spielberg effect of Hooper from Poltergeist, they were to be disappointed. What they got instead was the uncompromising horror nerd who made the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Hooper recalled his own attitude as, "I'll go back to my roots, and I'll make a 70mm Hammer film." Recognizing Colin Wilson's novel as a variant on The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), he made Lifeforce with ripe colors and riper melodramatics, along with his actors adopting the postures and tones of his favorite Hammer icons. For example, Frank Finlay in his character of Dr. Hans Fallada, takes on the epicene inquisitiveness of Peter Cushing.

Cannon, realizing the strangeness of Hooper's film, started to impose changes. They replaced Henry Mancini's score, cut down the U.S. release version by 15 minutes and changed the title from The Space Vampires to Lifeforce. But it didn't help at the box office. Hooper believes that changing the title was a mistake and that everyone then, "expected it to be more serious, rather than satirical. It isn't quite camp, but we intended it to be funny in places."

The film starts as exploratory sci-fi, with Col. Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) leading a British-U.S. space mission to investigate Halley's Comet. As they float on wires through matte-painted backgrounds reminiscent of Forbidden Planet (1956), they discover the corpses of hollowed out devil bats. Then they enter a crystalline chamber modeled on the diamond-shaped alien pod from Quatermass and the Pit (1967), where they find three perfectly preserved human bodies, one a well-proportioned woman (only known as "Space Girl", Mathilda May) who exerts a hold on Carlsen, even in stasis. Here the horror begins, as this female is, yes, a space vampire, sucking the life force out of anyone in her path. Once she and her two male companions (including Mick Jagger's brother, Chris) reach Earth, they leave piles of shriveled up human husks in their wake, which realistically twitch in the animatronics by Nick Maley.

Space Girl embodies female desire without socialized restraint: she knows what she wants and she gets it. After she escapes a government facility, one of the doctors is asked how she overpowered him. He responds, "She was the most overwhelmingly feminine presence I've ever encountered." Tasked with acting for the majority of the movie in the nude, May uses her ballet training to move with grace in an often graceless role. She moves with such control that she seems to float, like Bela Lugosi in Tod Browning's Dracula, her blood-sucking ancestor.

The male characters are either insular pedants or macho creeps, playing with their spaceships or microscopes but utterly befuddled at the presence of a prepossessing nude woman. Railsback is in a perpetual cower, prematurely embarrassed at his inability to fully please the Space Girl. By the end, he's sweating and flinching so much that he becomes Renfield to her Dracula. The only time he can gain some measure of control is by injecting her with gallons of sleep serum, and that's only when she's taken over the body of Patrick Stewart (yes, Captain Picard). She speaks through Stewart's mouth, "I am the feminine in your mind, Carlsen". Railsback then kisses Stewart, in one of the more radical moments in 1980s Hollywood cinema.

To fulfill his contract with Cannon, Hooper went on to make Invaders from Mars (1986), a remake of the 1953 science-fiction film, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), neither of which were the hits they were hoping for, but they received an indelible body of work.

By R. Emmet Sweeney
Lifeforce

Lifeforce

Following the success of Poltergeist (1982), director Tobe Hooper had a chance to punch his own ticket. But instead of another Steven Spielberg theme park ride, Hooper delivered Lifeforce (1985), an obsessive head trip in 70mm, one that details the ways in which quivering men fail to satisfy a voracious (alien) woman's sexual desire. Ravaged by critics, Janet Maslin memorably described it as "hysterical vampire porn", and it made only $11.5 million on a $25 million budget. Cannon Films, led by producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, signed Hooper to a three-picture deal following the success of Poltergeist. To sign the contract, Hooper dropped out of The Return of the Living Dead (1985), for which screenwriter Dan O'Bannon (Alien) took over as director. In their first meeting, Golan and Globus handed Hooper the novel The Space Vampires (1976) by Colin Wilson. The production began a few days later, with Hooper fondly remembering how they "bypassed all the usual development things you have to go through." One of those "development things" they went without was having a completed script. Hooper hired O'Bannon and Don Jakoby to write it, but it was far from finished by the time the compressed shooting schedule began. The tight schedule also frustrated the effects team led by John Dykstra (Star Wars), who later complained that a rushed film processing job introduced flaws into the delicate optical printing work. If Golan and Globus expected the same Spielberg effect of Hooper from Poltergeist, they were to be disappointed. What they got instead was the uncompromising horror nerd who made the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Hooper recalled his own attitude as, "I'll go back to my roots, and I'll make a 70mm Hammer film." Recognizing Colin Wilson's novel as a variant on The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), he made Lifeforce with ripe colors and riper melodramatics, along with his actors adopting the postures and tones of his favorite Hammer icons. For example, Frank Finlay in his character of Dr. Hans Fallada, takes on the epicene inquisitiveness of Peter Cushing. Cannon, realizing the strangeness of Hooper's film, started to impose changes. They replaced Henry Mancini's score, cut down the U.S. release version by 15 minutes and changed the title from The Space Vampires to Lifeforce. But it didn't help at the box office. Hooper believes that changing the title was a mistake and that everyone then, "expected it to be more serious, rather than satirical. It isn't quite camp, but we intended it to be funny in places." The film starts as exploratory sci-fi, with Col. Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) leading a British-U.S. space mission to investigate Halley's Comet. As they float on wires through matte-painted backgrounds reminiscent of Forbidden Planet (1956), they discover the corpses of hollowed out devil bats. Then they enter a crystalline chamber modeled on the diamond-shaped alien pod from Quatermass and the Pit (1967), where they find three perfectly preserved human bodies, one a well-proportioned woman (only known as "Space Girl", Mathilda May) who exerts a hold on Carlsen, even in stasis. Here the horror begins, as this female is, yes, a space vampire, sucking the life force out of anyone in her path. Once she and her two male companions (including Mick Jagger's brother, Chris) reach Earth, they leave piles of shriveled up human husks in their wake, which realistically twitch in the animatronics by Nick Maley. Space Girl embodies female desire without socialized restraint: she knows what she wants and she gets it. After she escapes a government facility, one of the doctors is asked how she overpowered him. He responds, "She was the most overwhelmingly feminine presence I've ever encountered." Tasked with acting for the majority of the movie in the nude, May uses her ballet training to move with grace in an often graceless role. She moves with such control that she seems to float, like Bela Lugosi in Tod Browning's Dracula, her blood-sucking ancestor. The male characters are either insular pedants or macho creeps, playing with their spaceships or microscopes but utterly befuddled at the presence of a prepossessing nude woman. Railsback is in a perpetual cower, prematurely embarrassed at his inability to fully please the Space Girl. By the end, he's sweating and flinching so much that he becomes Renfield to her Dracula. The only time he can gain some measure of control is by injecting her with gallons of sleep serum, and that's only when she's taken over the body of Patrick Stewart (yes, Captain Picard). She speaks through Stewart's mouth, "I am the feminine in your mind, Carlsen". Railsback then kisses Stewart, in one of the more radical moments in 1980s Hollywood cinema. To fulfill his contract with Cannon, Hooper went on to make Invaders from Mars (1986), a remake of the 1953 science-fiction film, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), neither of which were the hits they were hoping for, but they received an indelible body of work. By R. Emmet Sweeney

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 21, 1985

Released in USA on video.

Began shooting February 6, 1984.

Released in United States Summer June 21, 1985