||This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
|Directed by||Tobe Hooper|
|Produced by||Yoram Globus
|Screenplay by||Dan O'Bannon
|Based on||The Space Vampires
by Colin Wilson
|Music by||Henry Mancini|
|Editing by||John Grover|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Running time||116 minutes|
Lifeforce is a 1985 science fiction film directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby, based on Colin Wilson's 1976 novel, The Space Vampires. Featuring Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, and Patrick Stewart, the film portrays the events that unfold "after a trio of humanoids in a state of suspended animation are brought to earth after being discovered in the hold of an abandoned European space shuttle."
The crew of the space shuttle Churchill finds a 150-mile long spaceship hidden in the corona of Halley's comet. The crew finds hundreds of dead, shrivelled bat-like creatures and three naked humanoid bodies (two male and one female) in suspended animation within glass containers. The crew recovers the three aliens and begins the return trip to Earth.
During the return journey, mission control loses contact with the shuttle and a rescue mission is launched to investigate. The rescuers discover that the Churchill has been severely damaged by fire, with its internal components destroyed, and the three containers bearing the aliens are all that remain intact. The aliens are taken to the European Space Research Centre in London where they are watched over by Dr. Leonard Bukovski (Gothard) and Dr. Hans Fallada (Finlay). Prior to an autopsy, the female alien (May) awakens and sucks the "life force" out of a guard. The female then escapes the research facility and proceeds to drain various other humans of their life force, revealing an ability to shape-shift. It transpires that the aliens are from a race of space vampires that consume the life force of living beings, rather than their blood.
Meanwhile, in Texas, an escape pod from the Churchill is found, with Colonel Tom Carlsen (Railsback) inside. Carlsen is flown to London where he describes the course of events, culminating in the draining of the crew's life force. Carlsen explains that he set fire to the shuttle with the intention of saving Earth from the same fate and escaped in the pod. However, when he is hypnotized, it becomes clear that Carlsen possesses a psychic link to the female alien. Carlsen and SAS Col. Colin Caine (Firth) trace the alien to a psychiatric hospital in Yorkshire. While in Yorkshire, the two believe they have managed to trap the alien within the heavily sedated body of the hospital's manager, Dr Armstrong (Stewart); but Carlsen and Caine later learn that they were deceived, as the aliens had wanted to draw the pair out of London.
As Carlsen and Caine are transporting Dr Armstrong in a helicopter back to London, the alien girl breaks free from her sedated host and disappears. When they arrive back in London it is clear that a plague has overtaken the city and martial law has been declared. The two male vampires, previously thought destroyed, have also escaped from confinement by shape-shifting into the soldiers guarding them; the pair then proceed to transform most of London's population into zombies. Following contact with the male vampires, the victims turn into "living-dead" and seek out other humans in order to absorb their life force, thereby perpetuating the virus. The absorbed life force is collected by the male vampires and delivered to the female vampire, who transfers the accumulated energy to a waiting spaceship in Earth's orbit.
Fallada manages to impale one of the male vampires. Carlsen then admits to Caine that, while on the shuttle, he felt compelled to open the female vampire's container and to share his life force with her. She is later found lying upon a church's altar, transferring the energy to her spaceship. She reveals, much to Carlsen's shock, that he is of the same race as her; this explains the psychic bond he has with her.
Caine follows Carlsen into the church and is intercepted by the second male vampire, whom he dispatches. Carlsen manages to impale himself and the female alien simultaneously. However, the female vampire is only wounded and returns to her ship with Carlsen in tow, releasing a burst of energy. The two ascend the column of light that leads to the spaceship which then returns to the comet it came from.
- Steve Railsback as Col. Tom Carlsen
- Peter Firth as Col. Colin Caine
- Frank Finlay as Dr. Hans Fallada
- Mathilda May as Female Vampire
- Patrick Stewart as Dr. Armstrong
- Michael Gothard as Dr. Bukovsky
- Nicholas Ball as Roger Derebridge
- Aubrey Morris as Sir Percy Heseltine
- Nancy Paul as Ellen Donaldson
- John Hallam as Lamson
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2012)|
The movie was originally filmed and promoted under the same title as the Colin Wilson novel. Cannon Films, which reportedly spent nearly US$25 million in hopes of creating a blockbuster movie, disliked The Space Vampires for sounding too much like another of the studio's typical low budget exploitation films. As a result the title was changed to Lifeforce, referring to the spiritual energy the space vampires drain from their victims, and it was edited for its US theatrical release by Tri-Star Pictures into a 101 minute domestic cut that was partially re-scored by Michael Kamen, with a majority of Henry Mancini's original music remaining.
The screenplay was written by Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby. Script doctors Michael Armstrong and Olaf Pooley did some uncredited work on the script. Tobe Hooper came up with the idea of using Halley's Comet in the screenplay.
John Gielgud, Klaus Kinski and Olivia Hussey were originally announced to star in late 1983, according to the film news section of Teletext. At one time, George Peppard was attached to the role of Colonel Carlsen, and over 1000 actresses were considered and/or interviewed for the female vampire. Cannon initially offered the role of Caine to Anthony Hopkins, who turned it down. A deal was then negotiated with Terence Stamp for the same role, but this fell through as well. Michael Gothard also screen tested for Caine, but when Tobe Hooper met Peter Firth he offered him the role and Firth was approved by the studio.
When filming began, the important cameo of Dr. Armstrong had not been yet cast. John Gielgud was initially cast for the role, but was replaced by Patrick Stewart. According to some biographies of Gielgud, he departed the production because of a disagreement over his fee. Frank Finlay replaced Klaus Kinski in the role of Fallada, while Olivia Hussey was replaced by Nancy Paul in the role of Ellen Donaldson. Tim Dry and Sean Crawford were interviewed for the male vampires, and Billy Idol was considered for the role of one of them as well.
The role of Kelly, played by Chris Sullivan, was actually a composite character of six previous ones. This merger was initiated by Tobe Hooper after he met Sullivan, who was initially offered the role of a crew member before they decided that the role should be played by a female.
Chris Jagger, brother of Mick Jagger, played one of the male vampires.
The BBC newsreader early in the film, John Edmunds, was an actual BBC newsreader from the 1960s to early 1980s.
The film marked the fourth project to feature special effects produced by Academy Award winner John Dykstra. The umbrella-like alien spaceship was modelled after an artichoke, while the model London destroyed in the film was actually the remains of Tucktonia, a model village near Christchurch, UK that had closed not long before the shooting of the film. It took a week to film the death scene of the pathologist played by Jerome Willis, and bodycasts of Frank Finlay, Patrick Stewart and Aubrey Morris were made by make-up effects supervisor Nick Maley for their death scenes.
James Horner was first asked to write the film score before Henry Mancini was brought in and composed an occasionally atonal score. For the US domestic cut version, Michael Kamen was approved to write the occasional alternative music cues that were partially re-scored and placed in at the last minute for some of the US domestic prints of the film.
Editing and post-production
The initial cut of Lifeforce as edited by Tobe Hooper was 128 mins long. This is 12 minutes longer than the final version which had several scenes cut, most of them taking place on the space shuttle Churchill. According to Nicholas Ball, who played the main British astronaut, Derebridge, it was felt that there was too much material in outer space and so the majority of the Churchill scenes were deleted. Also, most of Nicholas Ball's performance ended up on the cutting room floor according to an interview he gave on the UK talk show Wogan in 1985.
According to interviews with Bill Malin, who plays one of the male vampires, the film went over schedule during production. Because of this some important scenes were never shot, and the film was shut down at one time because the studio had simply run out of money.
Despite being credited on the US domestic cut, the following actors were deleted from that cut of the film: John Woodnutt, John Forbes-Robertson and Russell Sommers. The Churchill commanding officer Rawlins, played by Geoffrey Frederick, was British, but in post-production it was decided to re-voice him by Patrick Jordan, a US performer. Also in the US version, some of Geoffrey Frederick's voiceover heard on the Churchill is also dubbed.
The US domestic cut version
The film was edited for its US theatrical release by Tri-Star Pictures to a 101 minute domestic cut version that was partially re-scored by Michael Kamen, with a majority of Henry Mancini's original music still remaining. The original 116 minute international theatrical cut version, which is now currently available on video and DVD, contains more violent and erotic footage that Tri-Star cut from the domestic version, along with the entirety of Mancini's full music score in place of Kamen's occasional music cues placed at the last minute for US domestic prints of the film.
Lifeforce was released on June 21, 1985 to disappointing box office returns. The film opened in fourth place, losing a head-to-head battle against Ron Howard's sci-fi film, Cocoon. The film earned $11,603,545 at the US box office.
Scream Factory announced they would be releasing Lifeforce on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on June 18, 2013. This release will include the theatrical US version of the film as well as the International cut of the film for the first time on home video.
Also, Arrow Video have announced that they will be releasing the movie in a Steelbook 2 disc Blu Ray only edition in September in the UK.
- "Disasters Outnumber Movie Hits". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 1985-09-04. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Lifeforce". Film Society of Lincoln Center. 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Deborah Caulfield (1985-08-10). "Hooper Targets Martians". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Janet Maslin (1985-06-21). "THE SCREEN: 'LIFEFORCE'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Michael Wilmington (1985-06-22). "MOVIE REVIEWN: FEAR IN FOREFRONT OF PECULIAR 'LIFEFORCE'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Jay Carr (1985-06-22). "'LIFEFORCE' MISSES A GREAT OPPORTUNITY". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- Lifeforce (1985) - Weekend Box Office Results
- Dee, Jake (2013-01-04). "Scream Factory to issue Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce & Hammer's Vampire Lovers on Blu-ray this April - Horror Movie News | Arrow in the Head". Joblo.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Lifeforce at the Internet Movie Database
- Lifeforce at Rotten Tomatoes
- Lifeforce at Box Office Mojo
- Lifeforce at AllRovi