Stars: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth
Budget: $25 Million
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Wow this i beginning to become a series of 'films that shit me up when i was younger'
True maybe i shouldn't have watching shit like this when i was 7 or 8 years old, but well that's the thing about a kid with TV and cable in your room with channels like sci-fi and bravo.
So anyway a Vampire flick at heart but with a massive twist, in fact looking back on it and having recently re-watched it, i had the intense feeling of a live action manga film, Vampire Hunter D-esque in nature.
So yes the twist their vampires from 'spaaaaaace' that feed on your, get it, LIFE FORCE. like a kind of electrical energy sucked out of you.
Directed by Critters guy Tobe Hooper this film feels like a British film directed by an american guy, i can't explain why but it really does come across that strongly, mainly because that's whats it is but i feel it's something you'd get even if you didn't know. This is not a bad thing by the way, its a really bold and refreshing take and broke the mold of things like hammer horror films which would have been the thing of the time, you know thoroughly British what, what cup of tea etc, no this had some good action seriousness without getting wrapped up in British tropes.
The film stars an all star cast of Brits from the time too, Firth, Patrick Stewart, Frank Finlay and the beautiful French actress Mathilda May. Based on an actual novel from the 70's inventively called Space Vampires the film did not do well especially for its at the time huge budget of $25 million. It only made $11.6 million in the box office.
So the film starts with a joint American and British team in space to observe a rare comet, the ship the Churchill is an experimental ship that can produce it's own gravity. Whilst checking on the comet the ship finds another ancient craft in the stream of the comet. Within that craft most of it's bat like inhabitants are desiccated husks, that is until they come across three preserved bodies in some kind of hibernation pods. After a bit more digging by the crew ground control loses contact with the Churchill.
When they eventually find out it's coming back to earth they find the ship in bad condition everywhere burned and almost everyone dead. The girl from the pods is found and secured in a room for observation as are the two males in a different room.
The girl wakes up and drains the life force of he guard this is seen by another member of the staff on the security monitors. He tries to save him but the guard is dead by the time he gets there a husk of a man. She seduces the other and is again seen on the monitors by the head doctor, he however gets to the other guy but she hasn't drained him.
An investigator is brought in to see whats going on, the one guy is sent home complaining he's a bit drained. The girl however has escaped overpowering the security guards with ease. The two vampire males awake but are, after lots of bullets and grenades taken out. They go to do an autopsy on the totally drained guy but he wakes up and proceeds to drain the force of the lead operator. They quarantine both the newly regenerated guard in a very bemused state. This is definitely where most of the budget went the practical effects on this film are amazing and the way the drained people cry out and attract normal people to them to feed is what freaked me out so much as a kid. The way they almost wail in pain at their victims making you feel sorry for them.
So they quickly find out that without new energy the weird drained zombie husk vampire things quickly die and is a spectacular explosion of dust too.
It's then found out that Colonel Tom Carlsen is found crash landed in an escape pod. The film diverges into two here following Tom as he hallucinates about the girl as they seem to have some kind of weird connection now. Then there's the detective Col Colin Caine trying to stop this outbreak happening, they do help each other from time to time though.
Carlsen through regression tells of their master plan to absorb as much energy as possible so the ship can as it's passing by absorb it all. Throughout the film now more and more people start getting drained who drain more people as they try to work out a way to stop the vampires.
Leaden Metal is able to, as in traditional vampires kill them if pierced through their heart, the male ones who miraculously piece themselves back together are killed in this fashion. I like the main vampires have a lot of the usual vampiric like powers too, like entrancing, regeneration etc.
Now as always on THN i won't spoil the ending especially as this film has aged quite well and well worth a watch, it's currently on Netflix too. A really good and interesting take on the vampire genre with a lot of twists and turns thrown in. A very good and strong acting effort by all the cast new and experienced alike.
THN awards this freaky film a very strong 3 out of 5 stars as with an almost 2 hour run time it might be a bit of slog for some people to watch through, otherwise a great film!