1987’s teen vampire flick “The Lost Boys” isn’t exactly the scariest horror movie ever made. In fact, the ridiculously over-sized 80s hairstyles are probably more frightening than the fangs. Come to think of it, it’s not exactly the funniest comedy you’re ever likely to come across, either. But there’s just something about its 50-50 mix of the two genres that just works fantastically well, creating a memorable nocturnal cult-classic that manages to amount to much more than the sum of its parts.
The main focus of the film is the Emerson family. Mom (Diane Wiest) has just split up with her husband, so along with her two sons Michael and Sam (Jason Patric and the late Corey Haim), she drives to the seaside town of Santa Carla to stay with Grandpa (Barnard Hughes, who you 90s kids might also remember as the Gramps out of ‘Blossom’). One night, the family is all out, enjoying a nice evening of live rock power ballads (what a soundtrack this one’s got, by the way), when Michael spots himself a long-haired lovely by the name of Star (Jami Gertz). He follows her for a while, gets introduced to her motorcycle-riding vampire friends (among them a mullet-crowned Kiefer Sutherland, in his breakthrough role) and long story short, he becomes a vampire. And that, kids, is why you’re not supposed to wander off with strangers!
Despite its fairly conservative running time of just over an hour-and-a-half, there are loads going on in this film. Alongside Michael’s delve into the world of transition-vamp (not to be confused with a full-vamp), there’s a blossoming romance between Mom and creepy video store owner Max (Edward Herrmann), a couple of brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) who claim to be the local experts on bloodsucker-busting, and even a bit of space at the side for that other guy who played in the ‘Bill & Ted’ movies (Alex Winter, who never really did as well as Keanu Reeves, did he?).
It’s pure popcorn stuff, of course. It’s not saying anything profound, and it’s certainly not trying to teach us anything… but let’s be honest, if you’re after that sort of thing you’re hardly likely to settle down with a Joel Schumacher movie anyway. What it is, though, is an extremely entertaining goth-romp featuring some very black comedy, tongue-in-cheek performances all around, and just enough climactic gore to go out with a bang.
Warner Home Video released “The Lost Boys” in the most current form of a 2-disc Special Edition DVD. It features a director’s commentary; deleted scenes, a retrospective documentary, a multi-angle featurette on “The Lost Coreys” (Haim and Feldman), four “Inside the Vampire’s Cave” features, and a behind-the-scenes feature on the work of make-up master Greg Cannom. For all you HD types, it’s also available on Blu-Ray with all the same special features.
Overall, “The Lost Boys” is one of the true gems of the 1980s. It never once takes itself too seriously, but it doesn’t make fun of itself either, making for an entertaining film that’s just good old-fashioned fun. It’s a true cult-classic that – even knocking on the door of its 30th anniversary – never seems to get old, and did I mention the fact that it has a killer soundtrack? If you have somehow never seen this film, do yourself a favor and go watch it right now. And please folks, if you have kids, make them watch this teenage vampire flick instead of the “Twilight” saga. We’d all really, really appreciate it.
Editor: Nerd Nation Magazine