The Lost Boys (1987)

Joel Schumacher

Jason Patric - Michael Emerson
Corey Haim - Sam Emerson
Keifer Sutherland - David
Corey Feldman - Edgar Frog
Jami Gertz - Star
Dianne Weist - Lucy Emerson
Jamison Newlander - Alan Frog
Edward Hermann - Max
Barnard Hughes - Grandfather
Alex Winter - Marko

Genre - Horror/Teen/Vampire

Running Time - 97 Minutes

Score - 3.5 Howls Outta 4

Ever since Bram Stroker wrote "Dracula" in 1897, much of the world has been enamored with the exploits of the famed vampire. From 1922's NOSFERATU and Bela Legosi's [as well as Christopher Lee's] iconic interpretations of Count Dracula to modern fare like TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel - as well as films such as the BLADE trilogy, UNDERWORLD, and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT - vampires have graced us with their presence, putting their bite into the horror genre.

In the 1980s, we did get some vampire films in midst of all the slashing that was going on between Michael, Freddy, and Jason. Films like VAMP, NEAR DARK, and FRIGHT NIGHT thrilled audiences with our fanged undead friends. But it's always been one 80s vamp film that really captured the hearts of people who love vampire movies - THE LOST BOYS. The catalyst of the Two Coreys phenomenon and the true introduction of Keifer Sutherland and Jason Patric to mainstream audiences, THE LOST BOYS has been a cult phenomenon for 21 years with die-hard fans who claim this Joel Schumacher [before he took part in ruining the first version of the BATMAN franchise] film is the greatest vampire film ever made.

Do I agree with that statement? No.

But is THE LOST BOYS still a great 80s nostalgic vampire trip? Absolutely.

The Emerson brothers, Sam (Corey Haim) and older brother Michael (Jason Patric), move to some California coastal town with their mother, Lucy (Dianne Weist). They plan on staying with Lucy's father (Barnard Hughes) after their mother's divorce. Trying to quickly adjust to their new surroundings, the Emerson brothers visit a carnival during the nighttime. Michael becomes mesmerized by the very beautiful and mysterious Star (Jami Gertz), which eventually leads Michael to meet a group of rebellious teenagers led by David (Keifer Sutherland) that just happen to be vampires. While this happens, Sam enters a comic book shop where he meets the eccentric Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander). Sam is amused when they claim to be vampire slayers by reading comics, not really taking them seriously. That is, until Sam notices Michael acting strangely after being with David's group all night. Not only does Michael have barely a reflection in the mirror, but he's too tired in the daytime and likes to float uncontrollably as well. Now believing that vampires exist in the form of his brother, Sam enlists to the help of the Frog Brothers to find the head vampire in order to save his brother from completely turning into a vampire.

is a great and enjoyable vampire film that surprisingly holds up today. I remember truly loving this film as a child and I still love it as an adult, even though I can see the flaws now. Still, it's a very well made film with some great music, great cinematography, and memorable dialogue and acting that make THE LOST BOYS stand near the top of the vampire film mountain.

While the script isn't the greatest in the world, there's still a lot to love about it. The dialogue is very hip, witty, and sometimes humorous. We get a bunch of pop culture references with mentions of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, Eddie Munster, Twisted Sister, and even that very homoerotic Rob Lowe poster hanging in Sam's room [hey, I won't question a teenager's sexuality - he has to deal with that by himself]. Even today it's still works and we totally understand these characters. I think the Grandfather character had the funniest lines, talking about sex and other things that made the teens uncomfortable. He also loved stuffing beavers. Looks like we have something in common.

The story does lose some focus as the film gets nearer to its conclusion. While I dig Sam's storyline with The Frog Brothers, I kind of think it took away from the whole Michael turning into a vampire situation a bit. I would have liked to know about how The Lost Boys came to be and how The Frog Brothers even knew there were vampires in their own city. Plus I think the struggle in becoming a vampire with Michael could have been explored a bit deeper because it kind of came and went. It felt like a vampire version of THE GOONIES, which isn't really a bad thing, but it kind of stops THE LOST BOYS from having its own identity in a way. It should have continued with the teen angst stuff instead of the kiddy feel to sell more tickets. It doesn't really bother me but I kind of wanted the film to be darker and grittier. After all, it is a vampire flick.

I do have issues with the lack of vampirism and the reveal of the "head" vampire. We barely see any fangs biting into people or any deaths on screen. It's kind of lame. I understand you need to market this to as many demographics as possible, but it could have been a little violent besides the ending. I'm not expecting body parts to fly in many directions on screen, but don't shed away from this stuff either. I mean, we barely even see the vampires fly. We mostly see first person shots of these events until the end. It could have been a budget thing but still, more would have been nice. And the "head" vampire is still pretty lame in my opinion. I don't think it was built up enough to really work and make an effective reveal at the end. It's kind of like, "It was that person? Really!?" I dunno...it just seems cheap to me.

Joel Shumacher is pretty much known for his style over substance way of filmmaking. THE LOST BOYS is no exception. It's beautifully directed with a lot of style and energy, to the point where you sometimes feel you're part of the action. Incredible cinematography and great editing, as well as crazy angular shots and cool effects [like the cliched smoke effect and slow motion], make THE LOST BOYS some awesomely great 80s eye candy. Obviously Schumacher had to cover up the fact that the characters in the film barely have depth to them by compensating with memorable visuals. It totally works in the film's favor because it's an entertaining ride all the way. I believe this is Schumacher's best film as a director because he does everything right.

Can I say the soundtrack is fuckin' awesome? "Cry Little Sister"? "Lost In The Shadows"? "Walk This Way"? Yeah, pick up the soundtrack.

The acting is effective. Jason Patric plays a great brooder and it works for the Michael character. You can see that he's also vulnerable when he starts to transform and relies on his younger brother to help him. He has good chemistry with Corey Haim, who is kind of annoying here but you still like him anyway because you'd probably act the same way in a similar situation. Jami Gertz is hot and sexy and she totally works for me here. I'd probably turn into a vamp for her too. Keifer Sutherland looks the part of a bad boy vampire and plays the part pretty well. He definitely has a presence about him that's evident even today. Corey Feldman is pretty funny here trying to act tough. Not his finest performance but it works. Dianne Wiest is very good as Michael and Sam's mom. Barnard Hughes is fuckin' fantastic as the grandfather. I love this dude. He always popped up at the right time to inject some humor into the film. Just a really big cast where some became major stars and others kind of faded into obscurity for different reasons. Well, there's always LOST BOYS 3 [yes, I've seen LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE and that'll be my next review].


- Don't ever demand a vampire to stop having fun at an amusement park. The consequences will bite. Literally.

- Sam is upset that there is no television at Grandpa's. No THE HILLS? No THE BACHELOR? No ACCORDING TO JIM? Sounds like Heaven!

- There was a Chippendales-like singer performing on stage with his horn. While some people may be into some oiled up meathead gyrating while singing on stage, I don't think it's "saxy" at all. Blech.

- Sam made an entire monologue about how certain comics shouldn't be grouped with other comics because of storylines, writers, artists, and such. The fact that I understood Sam completely makes me a geek, huh? Yeah...

- Don't ever fall for a woman named Star. She'll either give you a hickey that will change your life or have people believing that you're gay. Don't worry Al Reynolds...I believe you're straight. ::snickers::

- One of the reasons Sam's mom divorced his dad was because he didn't believe in the "closet monster". Oh, so he was a Scientologist? Or Al Reynolds?

- Sam's grandpa gave Sam a stuffed beaver. I'm sure it's not the type of beaver he wanted to stuff, but it's the thought that counts.

- Putting a mixture of holy water and garlic into a water gun is a great weapon against vampires. Just like with sex - pump it up, shoot, and make the shot count.

- Don't ever put a bampire inside a tub of holy water and garlic. Yeah, it'll kill them but then your sick and toilets will explode and gush out blood. Just because I'm Latino doesn't mean I have great janitorial skills, you bigot!

is a cult vampire classic and deservingly so. It's nostalgia factor makes the film as good today as it was years ago, reminding us who lived through it that horror used to be entertaining and fun. Nothing more, nothing less. While I do notice the lack of character development and actual "horror" THE LOST BOYS possesses as an adult, it doesn't take away from the fact that this vampire flick is still one of the best out there. If you've never seen this for any reason or just want to feel like a kid again, THE LOST BOYS is worthy of a watch or three. They sure don't make them like this anymore.

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