Monday, 21 November 2011

Are You a Member of the CULT?: Lifeforce (Cannon, 1985)

"Carlsen, she's not a real woman. She'll destroy you!" - Colonel Colin Caine

Lifeforce is one of those horror movies thats...well...not really horror. The way I see it, anyway. I know i've covered this before, but it was only a few lines, and a film like this needs more of a description, so set your PC's for WTF! mode!

"You don't understand. I didn't want to leave. She killed all of my friends, and I still didn't want to leave!" - Colonel Tom Carlsen

The space shuttle Churchill is studying Haley's Comet when it passes into our solar system. The ship is commanded by Colonel Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) with a mixed American/British crew. Doing a radar scan of the comet, they find a long ship, that is two miles high, and 150 miles long, hiding in the corona of the comet. Some decide to investigate, and find 3 humanoids in a deep sleep. After returning to the ship with their cargo, all communication is lost, and another crew is sent to find out what went wrong. Once the other crew arrive, they find that the entire ship has been gutted by fire, and the glass cases the bodies are in are undamaged. Once brought back to Earth, they eventually escape in London, and, with Colonel Caine (Peter Firth) in pursuit, all hell literally breaks loose....

Yes....your breath does smell like arse!!!

"That girl is no girl. She's totally alien to this planet, and our life form" - Dr. Hans Falada

Another offering from Cannon Films, Lifeforce was directed by stalwart Tobe Hooper (who directed the rather excellent Poltergeist) and first started out as a book called The Space Vampires, written by Colin Wilson and adapted by ALIEN veteran Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby. With those two on board doing the writing, you can tell that, after the first 30 minutes, it goes all bonkers. Firstly, the idea of space vampires is a silly one, but it does make sense, in a mad way. Of course, it is also an excuse just to have Mathilda May strolling around in her birthday suit for roughly 75% of her screen time. Another thing is that both Railsback and Firth feel the bloody need to SHOUT ALL THEIR IMPORTANT LINES!! Even Patrick Stewart wants in on the shouting action (yes, yes, I know he's screaming, but that's neither here nor there!). Sticking with the script, some of the dialogue is just plain stupid, with this classic "It'll be much less terrifying if you just come to me"......WHAT?? Sod the sharp pointy stick to stab it with, use a massive concrete block on it's head instead. The action does get a lot more weirder in the second part of the film, when people who need more infusions of energy just shuffle about like zombies, lose limbs just by moving, and has a bad case of loose skin. Haven't they heard of plug sockets or batteries?

You'll need more than Olay to sort that lot out!

"Start from the beginning. Asume we know nothing, which is understating the matter" - Colonel Caine

Another thing, is after the two hour limit, if they are denied energy, they simply crumble. Apart from one, who feels the need to just make every electronic monitoring device go crackers, then just explode, sending dust everywhere. Then, good old wobbly knocker woman can transfer her consciousness to another person, or other persons, willy nilly, and you'll soon lose track of who's been co-inhabited and who's not. One other thing thats not explained is Carlsen's telepathic link he somehow has with any of the people who the space girl has taken over. But, I'm not knocking it, oh no. It actually happens to be one of my favorite films. Yes, it's plot skewers all over the place like a bad cab ride, going from A to B, bypassing C, and heading straight to H, and Steve Railsback's overacting can become infuriating with his poor delivery of some of his lines, but at least old Peter Firth actually delivers his lines with ease....even though he's overacting as well. It does actually all add to the film, as it's pure unadulterated fun which happens to make no sense, has bodies blowing up into dust, a female vampire who can't keep any clothes on and two guys who like to shout a lot. Even Henry Mancini's score is awesome. It's a movie that you really can't help but like, even with all the daftness going on.

Well, I do.