231 user 169 critic

Lifeforce (1985)

1:26 | Trailer
A race of space vampires arrives in London and infects the populace, beginning an apocalyptic descent into chaos.


Tobe Hooper


Colin Wilson (novel), Dan O'Bannon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,554 ( 32)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Railsback ... Col. Tom Carlsen
Peter Firth ... Col. Colin Caine
Frank Finlay ... Dr. Hans Fallada
Mathilda May ... Space Girl
Patrick Stewart ... Dr. Armstrong
Michael Gothard ... Dr. Bukovsky
Nicholas Ball ... Roger Derebridge
Aubrey Morris ... Sir Percy Heseltine
Nancy Paul Nancy Paul ... Ellen Donaldson
John Hallam ... Lamson
John Keegan John Keegan ... Guard
Chris Jagger ... First Vampire (as Christopher Jagger)
Bill Malin Bill Malin ... Second Vampire
Jerome Willis ... Pathologist
Derek Benfield ... Physician


The space shuttle Churchill is assigned to observe Halley's Comet under the command of Colonel Tom Carlsen. They see a strange form attached to the comet and Carlsen goes with a team to investigate. They find three humanoid life forms in caskets and they bring them to the Churchill. However, Earth loses contact with the shuttle and the Space Research Center sends another spacecraft to search the Churchill. They find the crew dead and the shuttle burnt and one rescue pod missing. They bring the humanoids to Earth and soon Dr. Hans Fallada and his team discover that the Space Girl is a sort of vampire and drains the life force from people, transforming them into zombies. When the authorities find that Colonel Tom Carlsen has survived, they summon him to explain what happened in the Churchill. Carlsen tells an incredible story about the three aliens and he teams up with Colonel Colin Caine trying to save mankind from the evil vampires from space. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In the blink of an eye, the terror begins. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


According to the Blu-ray documentary, the alien spaceship was meant to be designed like a giant penis. See more »


A model aerial shot of London as Caine and Carlson travel back to the city by helicopter shows Tower Bridge beside St Paul's Cathedral, which in reality is around two miles west of the bridge, while the Tower of London, which is directly beside the bridge in reality, is absent. See more »


Colonel Colin Caine: Supposing you're right about all of this. What about that ship up there. What's it doing?
Dr. Hans Fallada: We can't know that. But we've got to assume the worst.
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Alternate Versions

Scenes cut from 101 min but in 116 min version.
  • Voiceover describing the Churchill's mission and the Nerva device.
  • Derebridge has a conversation with the Radar Technicians about the object in the comet and it being 150 miles long.
  • The opening line of Carlsen about what is 150 miles long Astronauts going into the comet has remarks from Derebridge about the state of the craft.
  • The Spacecraft opening up has bits and pieces removed.
  • Dr. Bukovsky being told by a RAF officer about the state of Churchill's orbit and it had not changed since leaving the comet.
  • Bukovsky and a NASA official agreeing that the Columbia should be sent into space to investigate.
  • Scenes with the Columbia rescue party trimmed in particular talk about fate of the crew and obtaining the video tapes.
  • A whole scene is removed which introduces Fallanda and The Pathologist which sets up Fallanda's character.
  • A Cabinet Minister discussing the crystal cases with Fallanda, Bukovsky the pathologist and a Metallurgist.
  • The Minister is inquiring whether X Rays have been done and their results -- blurred images. The metallurgist is very puzzled by the cases. Plus comments about are the bodies being alive.
  • After being shown the Guard's body, Colonel Caine is interrogating Bukovsky and Fallanda about the Space Girl (Matilda May). Being told about the Churchill's escape Pod being missing, the fire and the cases. After this Fallanda's conversation with Caine about is there life after death is trimmed.
  • The Hyde Park scene is trimmed; the Police Inspector (Nicholas Donnelly) has three lines in 116 version but in the 101 min version he has one line.
  • Bukovsky on the phone about Carlsen being in a Walter Reed Army Hospital, he demands Carlsen is brought to London.
  • Carlsen's debriefing in 116 version also includes Bukovsky introducing Colonel Caine of the SAS remarking about we all thought You were dead plus the comments about a pretty nurse, the Churchill flashback is trimmed.
  • Just before Carlsen's nightmare a scene where Bukovsky informs Caine that NASA have tracked a strange object leaving the comet which is heading for Earth in two days time also there is to be a meeting at Downing Street (The Prime Minister and his Cabinet meet at the PM's home for non UK readers).
  • After the hypnotizing of Carlsen's comments made by Bukosvsky about the vampires of legend taking their Earth with them ( The majority of comments about vampires in 116 version are missing from 101 version explains why the title was changed from Space Vampires to Lifeforce).
  • The scene with Ellen(Nancy Paul) is cut slightly.
  • The attack on Dr.Armstrong(Patrick Stewart) is shortened.
  • The Kiss between Armstrong and Carlsen is removed.
  • After the deaths of Sir Percy(Aubrey Morris) and Armstrong, the Churchill flashback the love scene between Carlsen and the Space Girl is cut to the bone. Likewise the scene with the Infected PM (Peter Porteous) and his Secretary, Miss Haversham(Katherine Schofield) has had huge chunks cut out e.g. the PM being told of The Home Secretary's demise. Plus there are lines reactions closeups omitted here where and everywhere. The 101 Min version had some more zombie mayhem.
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The Lifeforce Theme
Written by Michael Kamen and Henry Mancini
Performed by Henry Mancini
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User Reviews

26 August 2015 | by gavcrimsonSee all my reviews

I tend to revisit this one every half-dozen or so years, and in the words of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band its always "guaranteed to raise a smile". I think the first time I saw it was on TV when I was very young, and with my parents. Although we only caught the last half hour of it, so the nude walkabouts and the middle section where they are roughing up the woman at the asylum had already passed us by (I don't think my parents would have allowed me to keep watching it if they hadn't), and so my parents were spared any awkward child to parent questions like "whats an extreme masochist" and "what did that man mean when he called himself as a natural voyeur".

Watching it again, I did pick up on there being an overlap in terms of content between it and Return of the Living Dead, what with both films featuring fast moving zombies and sharing a scene where a skeletal female corpse returns to life on an operating table. Obviously the direct link there is Dan O'Bannon having been the screenwriter of both movies, and Hooper having been pencilled in to direct Return of the Living Dead at one point. So I guess a couple of ideas they came up with for Return of the Living Dead also found their way into the Lifeforce script as well, especially in light of the fact that there is no zombie apocalypse in the 'Space Vampires' source novel. Ironically Lifeforce puts you in mind of so many films that came before it (Alien, Night of the Living Dead, Hammer's Quatermass films and variants like X- The Unknown) and yet one of the few significant horror films it isn't reminiscent of is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not for a second does Lifeforce feel like a film from the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, whereas you do get a TCM vibe from Hooper's Death Trap and to a lesser extent Salem's Lot. I find it interesting that the film's trailer and original advertising hypes it as being "from the director of Poltergeist" rather than TCM, and do suspect that had Lifeforce equalled the success of Poltergeist it would have led to a second stage in Tobe Hooper's career as a bankable director of big budget, special effects driven blockbusters, as would later happen with Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson. Whereas the box-office failure of the film and Hooper's retreat back to low-budget horror soon after, means that Lifeforce and especially Poltergeist now feel like career abnormalities, as Hooper is still strongly defined by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a way that Raimi and Jackson no longer are by The Evil Dead or Bad Taste. I think time is being kind of Hooper's career though, there seems to be allot more people fighting the corner for Lifeforce and TCM2 these days than back when those films first came out. It was once quite fashionable to knock Hooper, I remember there was an especially damning career overview published in 'Deep Red' magazine in the late 1980s that portrayed him as being a talent that had gone astray and sold out to Hollywood. There is a tendency to look more generously on his films these days though, if only because so many of his contemporaries have similarly suffered from career declines and fallen from grace with their fan-bases. Latter day Hooper films like Spontaneous Combustion and Crocodile might never measure up to his earlier work, but then again they're no worse than what Romero and Argento come up with these days.

I was watching it recently mindful of there being growing rumours that a Lifeforce remake is in the works, and whether or not remaking the film is really justified. So I was a little surprised as to how much the special effects in the film hold up. Admittedly, the fake Patrick Stewart head and the burning model village doubling for London do cause you to wince, but the early scenes on-board the spaceship and Halley's Comet –which are the scenes I'd expected to date badly- wouldn't look out of place on the big screen these days. For a Cannon film there is also a real absence of period trappings, which you certainly can't say about the The Exterminator 2 or Ninja 3: The Domination with their aerobics and break dancing scenes. I do know that the original Space Vampires novel is set in the future, and while the film drops that angle, I suspect the fact that it is based on a futuristic source novel lends it a timeless feel. Of course the film does also manage to dodge the fashions of its day by virtue of the fact that the first twenty minutes or so features the majority of the cast in spacesuits and one cast member wearing nothing at all. I don't have a big downer on remakes though, and am curious as to what they'll come up with should this Lifeforce remake come to fruition, but to me there is nothing in the original that really cries out to be remade in order to bring it in line with the tastes of modern audiences. Whereas with say, An American Werewolf In London, you can imagine some Hollywood exec looking at that film nowadays and insisting it is in need of an update on account that there are aspects to it that aren't really relevant to the world of today, no one for instance goes to a cinema to watch porn anymore and the gag about there only being three television channels in Britain is meaningless today. I can't see a great deal in Lifeforce though that overly ties it to the 1980s, although it would have been hilarious if Golan-Globus has insisted that the zombies had to do a bit of break dancing at one point.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

21 June 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Space Intruders See more »


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,209,136, 23 June 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (international)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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