THE LOST BOYS (1987) 

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Jason Patric
Corey Haim
Dianne Wiest
Barnard Hughes
Edward Herrmann
Kiefer Sutherland
Jami Gertz
Corey Feldman
Jamison Mewlander

Joel Schumacher




Time: 97 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Action/Horror

Being old enough to actually have seen this film in the theater, I have to say it's one of my favorites from the 80s. It's a little dated and over-the-top, but THE LOST BOYS is a classic 80s movie – self-indulgent, full of attitude, with style over substance. Granted most vampire flicks don't have much of a plot and this one at least tries to throw in some humor to lighten the mood. The jokes actually still stand, unlike some of the wardrobe and haircuts. I can't believe we thought that was cool. The first of the rock-n-roll style vampires, Sutherland and crew have more style than they know what to do with and even manage to be somewhat menacing under all that hair gel. This is the last big film of the Coreys (Haim and Feldman) before they fell off the face of the Earth, landing in straight-to-video hell. Though they are perfect in their roles, it's clear to see with hindsight that they weren't going to wind up super stars forever. Then again, Sutherland and Patric aren't exactly burning up the marquee either. Where, oh where have all the 80s stars gone?

The film opens with the arrival of the Emerson clan to the California seaside town of Santa Clara. A place where you're more likely to mysteriously disappear than find a job. Lucy (Wiest) and her two teen age sons Michael (Patric) and Sam (Haim) are starting over by moving in with her father (Hughes). Michael and Sam aren't exactly thrilled to be here, but they try to make the best of it for their mother's sake. The town seems to be filled with a seedy element, a group of young ruffians obviously up to no good. Their female companion Star (Gertz) catches the eye of Michael, who does everything he can to meet her. This will prove to be a big mistake. Sam meets some strange characters of his own, the Frog Brothers, comic book store owners who try to warn him about the town's hidden brotherhood. Sam initially thinks they're crazy to believe in vampires, but it soon becomes apparent that they may be right. Meanwhile, Lucy gets a job and strikes up a friendship with her boss Max (Herrmann), which quickly turns to romance. Little does she know his plans for her are far more serious than she thinks.

To be with Star, Michael must prove himself to David (Sutherland) and his gang. He tries to be tough, to keep up with them, but it's clear they are quite powerful and dangerous. They bring him to their lair and initiate him into their secret society. Of course, he has no idea what that means...yet. Of course, Sam and his dog know immediately what's happened to Michael from reading the latest vampire comic. Michael begs Sam to keep his knowledge from their mother as he tries to figure out what he's going to do about becoming a member of the undead. David and crew try to convince Michael how cool his life is going to be when he turns into a full vampire – never die, never grow old – but Michael is unconvinced. He didn't ask for this power and wants them to leave him and his family alone. Alas, that's not part of the plan.

With the help of the Frog brothers and the comics, they get prepared for the fight of their lives. All they have to do is kill the head vampire and everyone who's been exposed, but has yet to make their first kill – Michael and Star – will return to normal. The problem is, they don't know who the leader is. The battle is fierce, loyalties are tested and the ultimate plan revealed. Unfortunately for the vampires, the Emersons are much tougher to manage than they thought. In the end, the family that slays together, stays together. The film slowly builds to the terrific battle sequence at the end, which is filled with mayhem, humor and exploding vampires. Though played with all seriousness, the comic moments help to break up the violence, keeping this a fresher, more lively picture than it has a right to be. The action sequences and the vampire makeup are still exciting and well-produced. They hold up ten times better than the costumes and haircuts.

Grandpa: "Something I never could stomach about Santa Carla, all the damn vampires!"

There's nothing Schumacher knows how to do better than craft an enjoyable joyride from less than stellar material. He gets lucky here that he choose to be somewhat campy right from the start so in years to come you're still laughing with the picture instead of at it. The story is fairly simple, but it has enough meat on the bones to still grab your attention. The casting of veteran actors like Wiest, Herrmann and Hughes offsets the trendiness of the young leads of Sutherland, Patric and Haim, who I'm sure would kill for careers half as long or decent. Don't get me wrong, the young studs perform admirably, doing exactly what needs to be done. The fate of their careers since, just makes me sad. The rest of the cast is fairly forgettable with the exception of Corey Feldman and Jamison Mewlander as the Frog brothers. They bring much of the film's comic relief as the self-proclaimed, macho, yet scared-to-death vampire killers.

I'm sure there's a generation of youngsters out there who haven't seen this horror "classic." If you're one of them and would like to find a film to watch on a Friday night with your friends, check out THE LOST BOYS. It's funny, scary and has a killer soundtrack – no pun intended. I know for me it's a guilty pleasure I like to indulge in every once in awhile.

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