by Mel Valentin
With the upcoming release of "Lost Boys: The Tribe," the eagerly (un)anticipated “sequel” to the 1987 cult classic directed by Joel Schumacher ("The Number 23," "The Phantom of the Opera," "Phone Booth," "Bad Company," "8MM," "Batman & Robin," "A Time to Kill," "Batman Forever," "The Client," "Falling Down," "Dying Young," "Flatliners," "]St. Elmo's Fire") and starring the Two Coreys (Feldman and Haim), there’s no better time to revisit "Lost Boys," if for no other reason than nostalgia and a finer appreciation of the Coreys at the peak of the careers as child actors. With its synth-pop soundtrack, delirious music video style, its teenage-rebels-as-vampires storyline, and mix of R-rated horror and cheeseball comedy, though, "The Lost Boys" still has plenty of cheesy goodness to offer for connoisseurs of 80s horror-comedies.In case you’ve forgotten what The Lost Boys is about, it centers on two brothers Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Jason Patric) Emerson, and their mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest), transplants to Santa Carla, California (the so-called “murder capital of the world”) from Phoenix, Arizona. They’ve moved to Santa Carla to live with Lucy’s eccentric, taxidermy-obsessed father (Barnard Hughes) while Lucy tries to recover emotionally and economically from a difficult divorce. Sam and Michael couldn’t be more different, at least superficially. While Sam favors bright, multi-patterned shirts, blonde streaks in his hair, an earring in his left ear, and idolizes Rob Lowe, Michael prefers the intense, brooder look (unkempt, stringy hair, untucked shirt, faded jeans, later augmented by a black leather jacket).
"One of the high points of 80s horror-comedies."
Lucy lucks out and gets a job managing a video store (remember when those were around?). Almost immediately, the video store owner, Max (Edward Herrmann), asks Lucy out on a date. He’s eager to begin a romantic relationship. As night falls and Sam and Michael head out to the Santa Carla Amusement Park (actually the Santa Cruz Boardwalk), Michael catches the eye of a young woman, Star (Jami Gertz), but soon discovers that she’s romantically attached to David (Kiefer Sutherland, in Billy Idol mode), the leader of a Jim Morrison-worshipping, glam-goth motorbike gang. Sam meets the Brothers Frog, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), comic book store employees and self-described vampire hunters. They convince a reluctant Sam to check out a vampire-themed comic book (he favors superheroes), claiming the comic book will help Sam fight vampires.
Of course, the Frog Brothers know what they’re talking about, as Michael discovers when David decides to make him a provisional member of his gang. Michael inadvertently drinks David’s blood, but, by the standards laid out by the screenwriters, Janice Fischer, James Jeremias, and Jeffrey Boam (Lethal Weapon II and III, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Straight Time), Michael doesn’t become a full-on vampire right away. For that, he has to make his first kill. Until then, he has all the powers of a vampire (e.g., flight, super-strength, heightened resistance to harm) and some of their weaknesses (e.g., aversion to sunlight, hunger for blood). When Sam discovers Michael’s condition, he turns to the (fearful) Frog Brothers, who promise to help. They suggest Michael’s only chance of becoming human again lies in killing the “head vampire.”
The Lost Boys doesn’t contribute much to the vampire mythos, outside of the half-vampire and head vampire angles. The Lost Boys still works as pop entertainment due to the depiction of the vampires as perpetually, rebellious teenagers. It doesn’t hurt that the vampires take their fashion cues from goth and glam rockers (e.g., long, black trenchcoats, spikey hair, eye makeup, and way too much jewelry). They hang out in a hotel destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, keep a poster of Jim Morrison around to remind them of their rock pretensions and use their abilities to terrorize and feed on local residents. They’re also adrenaline junkies, seeking out risks out of boredom (you’d be bored too if you were eternally young and never died). The Lost Boys also tempers the horror through verbal comedy and slapstick, primarily in the interactions between Sam and Michael, post-transformation, and Sam and the Frog Brothers (e.g., “First come, first staked.”).Borrowing a page (and then some) from Tony "brother of Ridley" Scott ("Man on Fire," "Crimson Tide," "True Romance," "The Last Boy Scout," "Days of Thunder," "Beverly Hills Cop II," "Top Gun," "The Hunger"), Schumacher’s major contribution as a director is to film the nighttime scenes using red filters, smoke, and more smoke, helicopter or crane shots (to simulate the vampires in flight or on the attack), plus slow dissolves to create a vaguely hallucinogenic feel, capped off by a synth-pop, New Wave soundtrack featuring Echo & the Bunnymen covering the Doors’ “People of Strange,” an oiled-up, hypertrophied, saxophone-playing Tim Capello covering The Call’s “I Will Believe,” Run DMC/Aerosmith’s rendition of “Walk This Way,” and a "The Lost Boys’" original, “Cry Little Sister,” written and performed by Gerald McMahon. And if none of those songs or artists means anything to you, then "The Lost Boys" isn’t for you. For everyone else, "The Lost Boys" will be fondly remembered as one of the high points of 80s horror-comedies.
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originally posted: 07/29/08 00:00:00