Gort vs the Space Vampires: Where Quatermass meets Hammer, there is Lifeforce

"Space Girl then walks out, full frontal, zapping everyone with lightning from her fingertips."

There's something gloriously old-fashioned about Lifeforce, even for its day. The story whips along, focusing on the concept while almost completely ignoring characterisation, like classic hard scifi, yet it also absolutely drips with atmosphere, sex and glamour like an old Hammer Horror.

Colonel Creepy is captain of a British space shuttle sent out to get a closer look at Halley's Comet. In the tail, he finds a derelict alien spaceship. On board, the crew - giant alien bats - are all dead, aside from three human-looking creatures in suspended animation. The two men and one woman are completely naked and devastatingly attractive. Colonel Creepy decides to take the humans and one of the bat corpses back to Earth.

Thirty days later, his ship is found floating in Earth orbit, gutted by fire, but with the three bodies still intact. The bodies are brought back to Earth and revived, where the "Space Girl" promptly pounces on a defenceless guard and drains his life energy, leaving him as nothing more than a horribly-skeletal animatronic puppet. She then walks, full frontal, out of the facility, zapping anyone in her path with lightning she projects from her fingertips.

We can't quite get over how devastatingly vampish Space Girl looks and would happily have our lifeforce drained by her any day, but we'll try to focus on the plot. You see, these aliens have visited Earth before and are the source of all of our vampire myths. They have seemingly-magical powers and can shape shift, body hop and turn humans into vampires.

Despite the space-age setting, the film then plays out very much as a Hammer Horror, with random interested parties trying to puzzle out the vampires' mythology and put a stop to their invasion. It's one of the best interpretations of the vampire myth around and it's refreshingly unique, yet perfectly in keeping with the mythos. Put a filmy dress on Space Girl and she could have walked right out of Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

Dodgy curry?
Best of all, the film builds to a wonderfully over-the-top ending with London being torn apart by a zombie-vampire horde and all the souls of the dead flying up into space to power the alien spaceship. Patrick Stewart even turns up briefly to add a touch of class to the proceedings. No-one screams nonsensically quite the way Sir Pat does.

"Little help?"
Of course, the film isn't perfect. As we mentioned, the characterisation is almost non-existent and some parts of the story make very little sense, which means it's hard to keep up when the pace is so fast. Nevertheless, this is a memorable and impacting cult scifi horror that should find a space on everyone's DVD shelf somewhere.

Lifeforce is currently available on UK Netflix. Have you seen it? Did you like it? Do you want to watch it now? Let us know below.

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