Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
United Kingdom/USA, 1985. Golan-Globus Productions, Easedram Limited, London-Cannon Films. Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby, based on the novel by Colin Wilson. Cinematography by Alan Hume. Produced by Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan. Music by Henry Mancini. Production Design by John Graysmark. Costume Design by Carin Hooper. Film Editing by John Grover.
Astronauts traveling through space encounter an alien craft that contains comatose human bodies in glass coffins. Taking them back to Earth, they unwittingly unleash chaos upon the city of London when the sleeping strangers wake up and turn out to be space vampires, sucking the life out of everyone they meet and turning them into zombies equally desperate to drain others of their vitality. Scientist Frank Finlay finds the phenomenon fascinating, while army man Peter Firth and returned astronaut Steve Railsback are determined to get to the bottom of the phenomenon and maybe stop it. When someone as beautiful as Mathilda May is walking around naked, however, is it possible to avoid bending to her will? This one has a really fun premise, the combination of B-movie science-fiction and grindhouse mayhem should make for a gleeful classic, and the presence of Tobe Hooper behind the camera, the man who made horror palatable for children in Poltergeist, should result in a smooth combination of all the above elements, but sadly none of it works. Bad visual effects (both optical and practical, though the latter efforts are at least creative) are combined with wooden direction for a film that never gets off the ground, no one is having fun being in it and no one watching it can keep up with the changes in tone, from Fantastic Voyage exploration at the beginning, Dracula mayhem in the middle and Return of the Living Dead camp at the end.