The 1987 cult classic “The Lost Boys” forever broadened the way moviegoers would look at vampires. Throughout the decades there had been slight variations in the depictions of the fanged bloodsuckers, but most were still in the older, stodgier Dracula vein (bad pun attended). “The Lost Boys” presented them differently – young, cool, and with more real-world complexities than you would expect. The film would inspire the likes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel” and “True Blood” to name a few.
I’ve seen “The Lost Boys” countless times yet I’m always surprised by how funny a movie it is. Yes, it’s a horror film with vampires and a little (very little actually) blood and gore tossed in, but it fully embraces its comedy elements which helps give it a unique flavor. Add to it a terrific rock-infused soundtrack (I remember owning the cassette) and a fun, memorable cast which actually gave birth to The Two Coreys (80’s kids know what I’m talking about).
￼The story begins with Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and her two sons Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) pulling into the fictional beach town of Santa Carla. Recently divorced and flat broke, Lucy and her boys left Phoenix to move in with her eccentric father (Barnard Hughes). She gets a job at a video store (remember those) ran by local bachelor (Edward Herrmann) while the boys try to fit in with their new surroundings.
As cliché as it may sound, Santa Carla itself is very much a character. ￼￼ The self-anointed￼ “Murder Capital of the World” is full of personality, sporting a boardwalk replete with eclectic shops, street performers, and of course the Santa Clara amusement park. It’s where Michael first eyes a beautiful young woman named Star (Jami Gertz). There’s one problem, she’s in a relationship of sorts with David (Kiefer Sutherland) who quickly lures Michael into his biker group’s big secret (hint: they’re vampires).
Soon Michael finds himself growing sensitive to sunlight, sleeping all day, and developing, shall we say, new appetites. Sam, fearing that his brother is a bloodsucker, seeks the council of local comic shop owners/Santa Carla vampire killers extraordinaire ￼Edgar and Alan Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander). Resembling something akin to The Goonies meets Rambo, the Frog Brothers offer up the biggest bursts of humor. Feldman and Newlander never crack a grin, straight-facing every line of super-serious yet hysterical dialogue.
If you’ve watched enough of these movies you know that there are so many rules when it comes to vampires. “The Lost Boys” has a blast playing around with them. All of the big ones are present: garlic, holy water, a good ol’ wooden stake through the heart. But there are plenty of obscure ones as well which I’ll let you discover for yourself. They, along with the vampire vernacular aplenty, add an extra layer of fun. Meanwhile the steady theme of what it means to be a family reverberates throughout the entire film.
But I don’t want to downplay the movie’s horror component. “The Lost Boys” isn’t a particularly scary movie, but director Joel Schumacher does a wonderful job with tone management. While his movie is often funny, Schumacher nicely balances the humor with several memorable scenes of genuine tension along with great atmosphere. And the inevitable showdown at the end is the perfect consummation of all of these elements.
There are several other cool little nuggets. The title is a reference to J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”. There is a hilarious hard-to-see nod to Schumacher’s previous film “St. Elmo’s Fire”. And all Edgar and Alan need is a brother named Poe. Those are just a few of then little nuggets scattered throughout this 80’s romp that completely earns its cult classic status. It still has its detractors, but I’m firmly in the camp that proudly adores “The Lost Boys”.￼
VERDICT – 5 STARS