The Lost Boys (1987)
Director: Joel Schumacher
Michael (Patrick), his mom (Wiest) and his brother (Haim) move to a new town (Santa Carla: Murder Capital Of The World). Once there, Michael falls for the wrong girl (Gertz), gets involved with a bad bloodsucking crowd and becomes a teen vampire. It's up to his hipster wannabe brother and his two new loser friends (Feldman/Newlander) to help him battle the army of disposable teen vamps. Take out the squirt guns!
As we speak, the song “Cry Little Sister” from this flick is booming out of my stereo. Great f**king song! And the movie? Well, it's hard not to love "The Lost Boys". I mean you got the hyper slick MTV look Schumacher slaps in, you got great looking teens wearing their best 80’s digs (Sutherland and Gertz look way gnarly), you’ve got kool locations (amusement park, creepy cave with a poster of Jim Morrison in it, comic book store, video store), some kickarse tunes, some good laughs and some fun vampire action all wrapped up in a tongue and cheek package.
The script was obviously written by someone who loves the genre (Jeffrey Boams RIP) and movies in general. We get lots of pop culture references: "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", Eddy Munster, Brady Bunch, Twisted Sister and a gay looking poster of Rob Lowe (what wuz that doing in Sam’s room anyway? Schumacher you silly rabbit…). The dialogue itself is hip, sharp and at times very funny. In my humble opinion, Grandpa (Hughes) gets all of the best lines. That old fart cracked me up big time! My favorite line of his has to be: "Let's go to town!" Funny…
The flick also moves at a fast pace and is just gorgeous to look at. You want to see a motorcycle race bathed in smoke and bluish lights with a hip tune backing it up? Right here, baby! Or how about a love scene that’s so stylish, that you won’t even be looking for the nudity? Instead, you’ll be gawking at the image compositions and slobbering all over the song. Right here, too! There’s no denying that Lost Boys is a hottie. It’s candy coated all over the place! I’ll even go as far as to say that at certain times, the film's style snows in what could’ve been possibilities for substance. For example, the love story between Star and David is all about kool, hip montages but does it go any deeper than that? We’ll never know.
The one thing that "The Lost Boys" does lose as its running time clocks forward is its focus. The more important elements are tossed aside to make way for the kiddie subplot. I was waiting for more insight into the rest of the vampire gang (apart from David and Star, the rest of the vamps are just trendy decorations). I was waiting for a deeper exploration of Michael’s struggle with his newfound vampire status, more crazy initiations into the gang or more about his love affair with Star. Didn’t happen. Instead, we get the Coreys and that other dude acting silly. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re pretty funny but I think the story would have been stronger if the kids went to bed early and stayed in the background. For me, the Sam (Haim) character is the film’s biggest flaw. Without his presence, the holy water squirt guns (although still fun) wouldn’t have happened and neither would the lame one-liners (death in stereo…urgh) or the involvement of the Frog brothers. Without his presence, the flick would have dealt with its conflicts and themes from a more adult point of view instead of going The Goonies” vs vampires route. The flick starts from a teenage perspective but eventually takes the juvenile, pre-pubescent route. Fortunately, the well-needed inclusion of gore/effects in the finale kind of balanced things out and made me remember that yes, this is a horror flick that I’m watching and not some “Spielberg” children’s opus.
Another problem that I had with this flick was its unveiling and demise of the main vampire. First off, the identity of the lead vamp didn’t work for me AT ALL! He/she just looks silly; too silly for me to accept as a satisfying villain. Also his/her demise is a shameful throwaway death. A heavy vampire battle to the finish would have been way more exciting than the easy kill on which the film ends.
"The Lost Boys" is definitely a "style over substance" flick. It could’ve been so much more than a superficial, tongue-in-cheek vampire romp but alas, it didn't seem to want to go that way. It’s all about crazy shots, hopping tunes, kool effects, some groovy gore, funny dialogue and a good-looking cast. The flick fails to inject any real depth into any of its characters but it definitely excels at entertaining and giving the audience a hip visual/audio show. Thou shall not cry?
The gore kicks in about an hour into the movie (the prior deaths are implied). We get a nice neck crack, a juicy skull bite and a ripped throat (don’t blink for these three deaths, they happen fast). Later on, we get a kool melting face, a couple of impalings and a rocking exploding head.
Jason Patric (Michael) underplays his part and is definitely a master brooder. He worked for me! I never thought that Jami Gertz (Star) was a good actress. But in this movie, her awkwardness actually works for the part. It made her character more mysterious (Michael, I like Michael). Corey Haim (Sam) is also not a fav of mine but here he does what he has to do very well. Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean I can’t see talent. Dianne Wiest (Lucy) is very effective as the mousy mother and dare I say is kind of cute? Barnard Hughes (Grandpa) steals every scene that he’s in and made me laugh big-time. Kiefer Sutherland (David) looks the part (love his look: the bleached hair, the coat, the beard) and works most of the time. I did think he overplayed the “sinister laugh” card though. Corey Feldman (Edgar) deadpans his way though this one and lets his bandana do most of the acting. Jamison Newlander (Alan) also goes the deadpan route but I guess that’s the character. Where is he now? Alex Winter (Marko) doesn’t say much but his weasel-like presence is always fun. And no, he doesn’t say "dude".
T & A
The love scene doesn’t show squat and Jami Gertz keeps her nipples to herself. Cry little brothers…
Schumacher goes bonkers! I love how he implies the vampires flying throughout the movie and only shows them actually fly in the end. It’s more interesting visually (neato aerial shots). He also uses every MTV trick in the book: slow motion, smoke, bluish lights, image superimposition…whatnot. Schumacher is on top of this one.
Great tunes in this flick. My fav being: Cry Little Sister (Theme From "The Lost Boys") by Gerard McMann and Lost In The Shadows (The Lost Boys) by Lou Gramm. Everybody should own this kickarse soundtrack!
Lost Boys is all show but what a show it is! Apart from my disappointment in the lack of character development and the slight overdose of childish shenanigans, Lost Boys is quite a riot to sit through. A lot of lines have stayed imprinted in my mind since I first saw this movie. Lines that I still use today (for example: "What’s going on?"). Images too, I mean who could forget that muscle-bound singer, all oiled up with his saxophone? Hilarious! Lost Boys is like watching an hour and half music video with laughs and fangs. Is it the best vampire movie ever? No. Is it the most entertaining? Hands down…yes! Thou shall not cry; thou shall have a freaking blast!
Lost Boys screenwriter Jeffrey Boam died of heart failure on January 30, 2000.
Am I the only one who noticed that the dude who gets killed in the car with his comic book-reading girlfriend is also killed later on in the bonfire scene party massacre? I guess I wasn’t supposed to notice.
The title “The Lost Boys” is a reference to Peter Pan’s friends in Peter Pan who stayed young forever.
Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog) has only one other film credit alongside Lost Boys and that’s "The Blob". What happened, dude?
Did u guys know that Kiefer sports a tongue ring in this flick? Now u know.