Col. Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) and his crew take the ESA space shuttle Churchill out to visit Halley’s comet. In the coma of the comet they find an alien spacecraft that contains bat-creatures corpses and three naked human-like creatures under glass (Mathilda May & Christopher Jagger & Bill Malin). Naturally, the astronauts remove these humans and take them back to their ship, but this, as it develops, is an error….
In case the title of Colin Wilson‘s book, The Space Vampires, didn’t clue you in, these creatures are space vampires. Yes. Rather than being so gauche as to suck blood, they drain humans of their spirits through some sort of electrical process that seems kinda cool in an Emperor Palpatine sort of way, but seems somewhat inefficient overall. Still, this gives us the chance to have a nekkid Mathilda May creeping around taking the spirits from not-totally-unwilling victims turning them into mummy-jerky. Those victims, like first victim Guard McGaurderson (John Keegan) eventually stand up so that they can suck off others, as that guard does to his pathologist (Jerome Willis). Normally, once someone is dead they no longer suck off anyone, unless their pathologist has an unusual fetish, unusual for average people anyway. When the corpse manages to rise up and draw the life-force from someone else they become normal again for two hours while turning their victim into another mummy-thing. This is bad as Londoners are very faddish so it will spread with no problem whatsoever. Plus, it makes the victims painfully thin, so it will be popular with some of the ladies as well.
ESA director Dr. Bukovsky (Michael Gothard) decides that someone should really investigate the naked space girl, which is why she has the chance to drain him a bit as well as feast upon the guard before wandering off. He claims that she’s the most feminine being he has ever encountered and is hypnotized by her naked chick-powers. Men understand this perfectly well, breasts are hypnotic. Seeing them or thinking about them puts men into a particular alpha-state in which we are especially distracted and suggestible; kind of like watching a shiny medallion swing back and forth. Yes. Yes. Anyway, after the space girl with the hypnotic … eyes … walks out of the space center into the night, weirdo thanotologist Dr. Hans Fallada (Frank Finlay) thinks it would be a good idea to call SAS Col. Colin Caine (Peter Firth). Caine looks concerned and tries to get a handle on things, but he eventually has to appraise home secretary Sir Percy Heseltine (Aubrey Morris) about what’s going on. Now that the British government has sprang into action, everything will be fine.
Okay, maybe not.
The thing is, the space vampires can jump from body to body as it suits them. The two male vampires inhabit the bodies of soldiers after these same soldiers blow them up with grenades. This is inconvenient as it allows them to simply avoid any sort of doom short of a stake through the heart … wait, no, that’s too common … let’s use a leaded iron blade through the solar plexus, yeah, that sounds fun. She can do this little trick too, which is why she ends up in shrink Dr. Armstrong (Patrick Stewart) while Carlsen, Caine and Heseltine seek her out. This leads to the delightful scene in which Caine and Heseltine stand and watch while Carlsen beats up a drugged Dr. Armstrong, but take exception to Carlsen’s attempt to kiss him. Doesn’t matter though, trying to kiss Jean Luc Picard is wrong in general and results in outtakes from Poltergeist showing up. Of course, all the vampirism in London leads to wild outbreaks of looting, fires, and football hooliganism. Seeing a model of London on fire is really affecting.
In case it’s not obvious, this film is patently ridiculous, but still a lot of fun. The idea of the end of the world showing up in the form of nekkid space vampires from Halley’s comet is so ludicrous that there’s no way that a person can’t enjoy this film unless they suffer from terminal feminism or otherwise lack a sense of humor. The problem, from a reality standpoint, is we never find out where the space vampires come from, why they do what they do, or anything about them aside from they’ve been doing this for awhile. Why the creatures are mysteriously slain by a leaded iron blade through the solar plexus is ignored. Why our vampire mythology is based on the weirdness of these creatures when any previous visit would have been to a preliterate society, otherwise there would be some sort of legend about monsters from the sky turning people into angry vacuum cleaner bags. Actually, since the space vampires were attracted to Earth because we went out there and messed with them, it begs the question of what brought them to Earth last time?
Oh well, as far as alien doom coming down to massacre humanity for their own purposes, these space vampires do a piss-poor job. Rather than scattering to three of the four winds, they decide that fooling around in Britain is a good idea. Surely taking a trip across the channel to Europe would have provided more souls for them, or maybe a trip to North America? Or perhaps Africa? Nope, even after one of the males is slain by the somewhat mad – or, at least, upset – Dr. Fallada, they hang around in the same neighborhood where someone figured out how to do them in. When I get the chance to unleash hordes of undead on the world, I hope I do a better job.