James Lileks is feeling let down by his evening's video viewing:
Years ago I caught the end of a sci-fi horror movie on TV, and I was riveted – it seemed as if the producers had hired every single actor in Hollywood and paid them fifty bucks to play dead. I'd never seen so many dead people. They were heaped in the subway, piled on the street, strewn in the churches. Big thick heaps of pockmarked, sallow-faced, zombified dead people. A cast of thousands! I never quite figured out what the movie was about, only that the final apocalyptic scene was like nothing I'd seen. And it had spaceships, too. I'd never caught the entire movie, so when I saw it at the video store this weekend I thought hey, this should be good!
Then the credits start to roll, and you see the words "Based on the books 'The Space Vampires'" and you think perhaps I have overmisunderestimated this one. The movie was 'Lifeforce,' and I have a crick in my neck from ducking the chunks it blew. Everybody in the movie was miscast, except for the woman who spent the entire film walking around naked, and for Patrick Stewart. You can't miscast him, because he always plays Patrick Stewart. The credits should just be honest, and say:
Prof. Patrick Stewart . . . Patrick Stewart
I remember Lifeforce very well indeed. On the plus side … well, the lead actress spends pretty much the entire film walking round stark naked, so for slightly more than half of the potential audience the evening's viewing can't be counted a total loss right there. At any rate, until you take into account the number of brain cells you'll kill off trying to make sense of the plot. Even good actors like Frank Finlay and Peter Firth were unable to do more than try not to look embarrassed on camera – and, no doubt, ponder how best to take revenge on their agents for getting them into this mess.
Lileks goes on to have a little fun imagining the meeting where the space vampires devised their cunning plan for taking over the world.
Space Vampire #1: "So when the astronauts come, we will spring from our suspended animation, feast on their delicious life force, assume their forms, strap protective armor around our most vulnerable spot, and return to earth to spread the contagion."
Space Vampire #2: "I have a better idea. Let's send Bob down here in human female form. Naked. He'll probably end up in some heavily guarded military facility, but if he escapes they'll all be like, whoa, a naked human female, and he can walk right out."