Tobe Hooper, the name says it all with accolades of horror directed, written and produced. The most infamous is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist though even Hooper himself stated that Spielberg had more to do with the direction of that film than he did. Among Hooper’s classics should be noted his space vampire masterpiece Lifeforce, released around the same time as Poltergeist it is about a exploratory crew investigating a closer look into the arrival of Haley’s Comet.
The HMS Churchill discover through radar tracking there is a large spacecraft hidden within the comet, when the astronauts go in for a further inspection they find a very strange internal structure with thousands of petrified man-bat creatures floating in the zero gravity chamber and three perfectly preserved humans in glass coffins.
Thirty days later the HMS Churchill is detected entering into earth’s atmosphere by the British space center with no sign or communication of the crew. Ground control sends a team to intercept the craft finding that the entire inside has been torched with the remaining crew as well but to their surprise they find two men and one woman suspended in clear caskets when entering the cargo hold.
Back on earth the team of scientists try to figure out to little avail what occurred on the Churchill and who the hibernating people are that they brought back with them. The woman arises and sucks the life and energy from one of the guards with a tempting and sexual predatory nature, in any other film this could be seen as a blatant attempt to include full frontal nudity into a scene but Hooper has direct cause for this- his purpose is to build a Bram Stoker style erotic horror into the antagonist with a strong exposed power behind it. As the movie unravels is it obvious that those who interact with the female Dracula have a strange and indescribable attraction with an emotional and physical draw that one character describes as “the most awful feeling.”
There is a very creative and interesting take on the late 19th century gothic horror, with many elements that lead back to the classic lore of energy pulled with a need to sustain and ability to hide in plain sight.
A dreary music score that screams 80’s infused with 70’s monster movies with building tension leaving an unsteady atmospheric feeling complements the film’s set design in touch with it’s gothic influence, practical and visual effects that make you wish the 80’s horror genre would resurrect. The movie stars Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, and would you believe it even Patrick Stewart makes an appearance.
If you are a fan of the horror legend Tobe Hooper then you will enjoy his take on the horror bible Dracula, this space-horror with it’s physical nature will be perfect for a throwback Saturday night. I give it 4 Claws.