The Boys Next Door (1986)
Director: Penelope Spheeris
Maxwell Caulfield /Roy
Christopher McDonald/Det. Woods
Social rejects Bo (Sheen) and Roy (Caulfield) just graduated from High School, which has them contemplate their mundane future ahead. But instead of getting depressed about the whole thing, they hop into their ride, drive to LA and engage in a happy go lucky killing spree! YEEHAW! Now that’s what I call thinking positive!
What made me seek out “The Boys Next Door”? The presence of whore-hound Chuck Sheen? I dig
the lad, but nope! The misleading and sissy inclined “coming of age” box art cover? Definitely not! It was when I read
“Screenplay By: Glen Morgan and James Wong” that I flipped my top and put down some coin to rent it. Who are these gents? Well they are the scribes behind some of the best X- Files and Millennium episodes that’s who! They’ve also put on paper: Final Destination, The One and the Willard remake. I’m a big fan!
Directed by Penelope Spheeris (who went on to do Wayne’s World and other fluff stuff), The Boys Next Door was a flawed yet oddly rewarding watch. It all started on the right
neck snap with a tight opening credit reel (clips of past serial killers) and it then went on to be refreshingly offensive (this flick was everybody-phobic). Ahhh…Political In-Correctness…how I love thee,
specially in these times of "ball-less" movies! Additionally, the chain of events were constantly engaging, some of the clever dialogue hit the spot (She got 2 seconds of pain, girls like that would’ve given us 18 years of pain) while the humor was deliciously painted pitch black. Talk about ‘out of line”…I loved it! It should be said that the flick wouldn’t have been this much fun without its stellar cast. Although the “on paper” characterization of the lead loonies was nothing to bark about, the two actors behind the roles made it all happen. Charlie Sheen was “Charlie Sheen” as per usual (great role) while Maxwell Caulfield stole the show via his rendition of a “dopey”, homo repressed and endearingly aggressive young man. I bought it, lost it, stole it, got ripped off and bought it again (that means, he rocked).
The actual violence in the film which screamed Natural Born Killer and A Clockwork Orange at me was yet another highlight! For some reason that only the man upstairs knows for sure, I was HIGHLY amused by it as opposed to being shocked. Why? Maybe seeing it go down was cathartic for me, maybe they made it look like loads of fun (that girl on the hood deal, had me in stitches) or maybe I was just in a twisted mood today. Who knows! One thing is for certain though; the more vicious the beatings, the more I laughed, especially when the uglyness was backed by 80’s Pop/Rock tunes! Bloodshed with tacky flavor…YUM-YUM! My friend was actually gawking at me with a bamboozled expression as I was gut-busting at the film’s nastier moments! NOTE TO SELF: Time to call shrink…to fire him...he's a lousy Doc!
Unfortunately all that candy couldn’t hide the films big “boo-boo’s” which tarnished for me what could’ve been a little classic. My main peeve had to do with the two leads
being shamefully under-written. If it wasn’t for the fine actors behind the roles, I wouldn’t have given half a shite about these immature losers. One is a nut in the closet; the other is a follower with a minuscule yet rarely applied hint of a conscience. That’s all we get about these guys. COME ON! A more in depth psychological exploration of the two youths, their relationship (Why do they hang out together again?) and maybe even their backgrounds would’ve been appreciated. And was up with the zippe-de-doo-da cops on the zippe-dee-hey case? These 5.0 couldn’t catch the clap in my Ex’s bed yet alone the white t-shirt & Jeans whoring psycho-duo. The film's last block also let me down where what should’ve been a taunt, nail biting wrap-up wound up being an almost silly “Keystone Cops” on the
hunt type of deal. I half expected “prat-falls” to kick in! Lastly, the final frames fell flat since the characters were barely explored throughout (there was nothing at stakes). Too bad...it should've kicked my ass!
When all was dead, partied and buried, The Boys Next Door did provide for an easy hour and half of non stop exploitation fun with sadistic violence, gripping situations and fine acting in its trunk, but sadly it failed big time as the character study it was aiming to be. You gonna go Caveman on this one?
Although the flick wasn’t overtly graphic, its sheer brutality compensated for that. We get some gun shot wounds, blood and some vile beatings. These boys are nuts!
Maxwell Caulfield (Roy) was very convincing as the not so bright yet quite menacing and INSANE young man. His performance was unorthodox, un-predictable and seeing him beat the shite out of people slapped a big grin on my face. Go GREASE 2 go! Charlie Sheen (Bo) was playing his father Martin Sheen when he imitated James Dean in Badlands. He then let his white t-shirt fill in the blanks. AWESOME WORK! Although his part was nothing to slit throats about, Christopher McDonald (Det. Woods) still managed to shine in a couple of short yet well acted emotional moments. Patti D'Arbanville (Angie) was mucho sexy and likeable in her tiny role. She made the part, a memorable one.
T & A
The ladies get the long end of the stick via a ludicrously pumped/cut Maxwell Caulfield going shirtless. The dude IS a Gym! Us duders get some light cleavage and a sexy a pair of legs (no I don’t mean Sheen's)
I picked up on two distinct styles throughout this wild ride. When the flick was playing it light, the directing had that TV Movie look but when it would communicate the darker moments of the story, it would double up on bleak mood. I obviously dug the latter scenes the most.
We get endless 80’s Pop/Rock songs that gave some of the more violent scenes an odd, yet compelling tang. We also get a slick somber score by George S. Clinton (he did the tight soundtracks for American Ninja 2 and Astronauts Wife) that should’ve been used more often.
The Boy’s Next Door had the makings of a “Cult Classic” (in some circles it is one) but missed my mark by an inch. It was almost all there; an effortless pace, uber violence, fun performances and a "take no prisoners" demeanor. All that was missing was some raw and thick meat to go with the mash potatoes. Although I wasn’t fully butchered by the film, I still recommend you check it out. It’s a sweet little curiosity item and witnessing Maxwell Caulfield beat the ever living crap out of people was worth the price of rental alone. Did you see that guy go at it? He “Greased 2” his victims with Zest! Because as we all know; you’re not fully dead, until you’re Zest-Fully dead!
Glen Morgan and James Wong were around 17 years old when they wrote the screenplay.
Moon Unit Zappa has a small role in the film
Maxwell Caulfield got the role of Roy after Nicolas Cage had a conflict and had to quit at the last minute.