Movie Review: Lifeforce (1985)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1985 science fiction film starring Steve Railsback and Mathilda May.

Synopsis: A scientific mission to study Halley's Comet inadvertently results in a race of alien vampires being brought back to Earth. Despite efforts to keep the aliens in quarantined and in suspended animation, they quickly escape and, as they drain the lifeforce from their victims, create more of their kind.


I had never even heard of this film up until a few days ago, when I came across it on one of our movie channels. However, it sounded somewhat interesting and I decided to watch it with my wife last night. Unfortunately, while the movie sounded promising, it did turn out to be a pretty big disappointment.

To be fair, the movie started out strong. The astronauts discovered the vampires' spaceship and, not knowing any better, decided to bring them on board their shuttle. And, from there, things moved relatively quickly. This was something I did like about the film because, more often than not, movies like this start out too slow.

Overall, I also found I liked the premise of the movie. After all, it wasn't just the three vampires the scientists/military had to worry about. Every time the space vampires attacked someone, they turned that person into another vampire and the cycle repeated itself when their victims "fed." As a result, it only took a short while before there was a full-blown apocalypse happening.

The problem I had with this movie is it loses momentum about halfway through. This is because, rather than keeping things simple and focusing solely on the spread of vampirism throughout London, the movie decides to complicate things by giving the three main vampires shape shifting abilities and even throwing in some sort of weird, erotic twist involving one of the astronauts (Railsback) and the female vampire leader (May).

While this may have worked in the book the movie was based off of, it didn't work well in the film and only succeeded in making the movie a bit confusing at times and bogged down at others. It would have been much better had the filmmakers left it out completely.

Final Opinion

As I mentioned, half of the movie is actually pretty decent. However, the movie, as a whole, does get to be a bit monotonous, especially once it begins to include the shape shifting and vampire/astronaut love story. As a result, while the book that inspired it may still be worth reading, the movie really isn't worth your time.

My Grade: D

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Updated: 12/02/2015, StevenHelmer
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