The Lost Boys (1987)
Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire.
Year of Release: 1987
Running Time: 97 minutes (1:37)
Director: Joel Schumacher
Jason Patric ... Michael
Corey Haim ... Sam
Dianne Wiest ... Lucy
Barnard Hughes ... Grandpa
Edward Herrmann ... Max
Kiefer Sutherland ... David
Jami Gertz ... Star
Corey Feldman ... Edgar Frog
Jamison Newlander ... Alan Frog
Brooke McCarter ... Paul
Billy Wirth ... Dwayne
Alex Winter ... Marko
Chance Michael Corbitt ... Laddie
Sam and Michael are all-American teens with all-American interests. Sam likes comic books. Older brother Michael likes girls. But after they move with their mother to peaceful Santa Carla, California, their relationship mysteriously begins to change. Sam still likes comic books. Michael now likes ghouls. Just wait 'til Mom finds out!
The Lost Boys, remindin' us that the only people who appreciate a vessel of pure, untapped Aryan blood more than the "master race" are the ones aimin' to drink it. I don't imagine there's ever really a *good* time, but 1987 was a bad year for Surf Nazis.
An speakin' of feelins of inadequacy, don'tcha hate the way all birthdays past about 30're really just a cruel excuse to be force-fed cheap carrot cake from the Jiffy Mart before inevitably startin' to compare what you've *actually* accomplished against what you think you *should've* accomplished? I had my annual reminder last week an lemme tell ya - even in my wildest dreams I woulda never thought I'd be runnin' the projector at the Grime Time drive-in at 48. It ain't all rainbows an corn dogs though, cause despite the fact there's nothin' more rewardin' than bringin' cinematic joy to the masses, it's still only a twice a week gig, so after some serious thought I decided this is the year I get my act together. I was gonna wait til 2020 so I could make stupid hindsight jokes, but I figure the sooner I start savin' for my future the better, so I grabbed a copy of the classifieds an... I dunno when this happened, but apparently we've hit somethin' of an employment slump in rural America. An just to add insult to injury, I drove all over town lookin' for somebody in need of a movie critic an you know what they all asked? You're not gonna believe this - they actually asked me if I had "any marketable skills." "Marketable" skills; meanin' my skills have no value, an that I've wasted my life for never enrollin' in that VCR Repair course Sally Struthers used to hock on cable. So to make a long, police-involved story short - they had "no need of my services." Not gonna lie - I was pretty depressed, like three pitchers of Pole Cat beer at the Gutter Bowl depressed. I didn't wanna see or talk to *anybody* by that point, so of course, who comes an leans up against the wall beside me? Abel Pankins - Bambi's dad, an jackass supreme.
"Whatcher doin' on the floor?" he asked, like he'd never seen a man drinkin' alone beside a pinball machine before.
"Sally Turlinger took my chair away. Said if I couldn't keep from fallin' out of it she was givin' it to somebody who could," I explained, like it was any of his business.
"Listen son, I know you and me've had our problems in the past, but it's lookin' more'n more like Bambi means to marry that Edgar Mastrude an I don't want my only daughter tied down to a man who needs an oxygen tank to get off the toilet. So here's the deal - I know fer a fact she likes you better'n him, an..."
Drunk as I was I could still see where that trail led, an so I cut 'im off: "Abel, just stop right there. I'm already a full pitcher over the record for my weight class, an the nice folks workin' here'd be very upset if I was to return it to 'em an warp the hardwood floor."
"I'm willin' to pay you $1000 to marry 'er before the walrus does," he barked over the top of me after I started mumblin' somethin' about Lily Munster's slip, an I admit it - I thought pretty hard for upwards of nine seconds... which in retrospect was not a good idea considerin' how it caused the beerrage de hurl I was hopin' to avoid in the first place. Sally made me mop it up myself before she'd let me go home, but I slept on the idea/bathroom floor like any reasonable man would, an when I woke up at 6:30pm the followin' evenin' to the sounds of Shankles screamin' in my face about his empty dish I knew I just couldn't do it. Maybe for $2500 an a camp trailer, but not this - I had my pride. But right about then's when I was struck by a brilliant idea an Shankles' nasty little hairless tail - there was an even better way to score some cash, an for *not* marryin' 'er no less, so I flopped into the shower, rinsed mosta the shame off, an drove over to the Videodome to discuss a business proposal with one Edgar Mastrude.
"I'll double it!" Edgar wailed like a manatee that'd just been mutilated by an Evinrude.
"Now look Edgar, just takin' your money would be easy, but I'm lookin' for somethin' a little more long term, an besides, don'tcha think it'd be kinda SLEAZY to put a price on Bambi's honor like that?" Edgar's eyes darted around the room lookin' for snickers from the patrons but none came, so I continued.
"Course you do, it wouldn't be right, sides - I wanna earn my keep, so here's what we'll do: you give me a job here..."
"I know, I'm overqualified, but The Videodome's been like a second home to me since your Pa used to chase me outta the Porno Corner, an besides that, not only will you have more *quality* time with Bambi, but nobody knows this place better'n I do," I pushed.
"Yeah, I understand your apprehension, I mean, this'll prolly kill Abel since he hates me almost as much as he hates you, an..."
"Done. Here're the keys, be sure to lock up," he hollered over his shoulder on his way out the door.
I had no idea he could move that fast. Heck, I had no idea he could *move*, but just like that I'd landed my *second* dream job, which just goes to show ya - if you grift, swindle, an play on people's insecurities long enough, you really can turn your life around. Plus I think the patrons really learned somethin' that first night when I stuck Blood Feast on the TV next to the register.
Yessir, I think this arrangement's gonna open up a whole new lifestyle for me, an best of all - now I know who ALL the perverts in town are. I'll hafta tell ya about that another time though, cause right now we've got the greatest vampire flick ever made on tap for your entertainment pleasure, an I'm not just talkin' about what goes on in the apartments of freaky goth girls who keep the lights low an the shades drawn for that moment when Kiefer Sutherland an his heavy metal mullet make their big entrance. I suppose it was Fright Night that really broke the vampire flick out of its stuffy funk, but The Lost Boys was the moment in cinematic history when vampires became cool. It wasn't Bela Lugosi an it wasn't Christopher Lee - it took Kiefer Sutherland an his band of blood brothers dressin' up like the guys from Winger an tearin' the throats outta skinhead surfers before the next generation really took notice an said: "Mom, I'm goin' to Hot Topic, can I have twenty bucks?" Then Twilight happened an the subgenre went right back into the toilet; but we're not gonna dwell on that, an if you'll indulge me a moment, I'd like to offer up a coupla bits of wisdom about glam rock ghouls an a word of warnin' before we get started. First, when your mom asks if you'd jump off a bridge cause your friends did it - you just tell her there's at least one instance of cinematic precedent for doin' exactly that, an to get off your back. Second, when teenage boys talk about wantin' to stuff some beaver, that's not a situation that can be remedied through taxidermy. An third; lock your doors an bolt your windows, cause Alex Winter is coming.
The movie begins with Kiefer Sutherland an his hair band of brothers gettin' kicked outta the carnival for draggin' a cloud of Aquanet fumes onto the carousel an threatenin' to cause a volley of vomit from the already dizzy patronage, only Kiefer an the guys don't accept their banishment with grace, an come closin' time the security guard gets rocked like a hurricane by a horde of pasty white night fliers. The next day, Corey Haim, his brother (Michael), an his mama drive into Santa Carla, so named for the patron saint of angry television waitresses, to live with Corey's grampa who likes to play dead on the porch an decorate his house like the inside of a Cabela's. Grampa's a simple man who spends most of his time explainin' proper TV Guide/snack food etiquette, seducing elderly widows with the alluring scent of Windex, an retreating to his mortatorium to do taxidermy. But anyhow, Corey an Mike head to the beach to watch this oily Springsteen knockoff rock out dangerously close to a burn barrel until Mike goes chasin' after some babe in a halter top an ends up watchin' impotently as she rides off with Kiefer an the guys from Quiet Riot. Meanwhile, Corey wanders into a comic book store where he meets up with his better half (Corey Feldman) who tells 'im Santa Carla's got more blood sucking parasites per capita than the law school at Yale an offers 'im a complimentary copy of his Fright Night fan-fic comic, an next thing you know we pan over to Herpes Hill where these two punkers're gettin' ready for some premaritus aardvarkus until the squad of impalers show up, turn the freaks' car into a convertible, an carry 'em off to Never Never Land. The next evenin' Mike heads back to the boardwalk an finds his chick (Star) but can't seal the deal before Kiefer an his fangbangers show up. Fortunately, Kiefer says he can hang with 'em if his bike can keep up, an he ends up leadin' Mike all over the California desert to within about five feet of a Thelma & Louise reenactment. Mike's P.O.'d an offers Kiefer an open fist sandwich, but Kiefer just thinks that's funny an takes 'im to his hippy Fangri'la an jerks 'im around with this Criss Angel routine that makes Mike think his Chinese takeout got mixed up with somebody's bait shop order.
Then everybody peer pressures Mike into chuggin' a bottle of plasma pinot an recreate the dinner table scene from Freaks til everyone's bombed on blood shots an they all head down to the train trestle to hang like wet laundry while the train's goin' by, at which point they drop one by one into the fog. Initiation rituals've really gotten weird since my day. Used to be the worst you could expect to endure was to be strapped you to the hood of a pickup with your mouth held open by bungee cords an forced to hum the theme song to Happy Days on the way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Anyway, after Mike loses his grip on the trestle he wakes up at 2pm the next day in his own bed an gets stuck babysittin' Haim cause his mama's gone to work for Plaid Max at the local video store. Then Mike tries drinkin' milk straight outta the carton an ends up on the floor clutchin' his chest like his three Big Mac a day diet just caught up with 'im til his eyes bulge out like an Angus bull decomposin' in the sun an pretty quick he's eyeballin' Corey an thinkin' about how he could really go for a big bowl of Haimburger Helper. Unfortunately for Mike, the dog's onto 'im an sacks 'im like Dan Marino on a botched quarterback-keeper, only when Corey gets outta the tub the two of 'em can't help but notice Mike's reflection's experiencing a level of transparency seldom witnessed outside the Victoria's Secret fashion show, an Corey pretty much puts 'im on notice that he's had it when their mama comes home an finds out he's been drinkin' blood with the HIV epidemic goin' on. Then Mike starts floatin' around the room like he swiped a bottle of fizzy lifting drinks from Willy Wonka's factory an pretty quick their mom calls an hasta break 'er date with Max cause Corey's goin' apeshit watchin' Mike moonwalk on the ceiling. Eventually the kids get on the same page an Corey tells their mama he just got spooked by one of his Creepshow comic books while Mike sneaks off to the make the sign of the bearded crotch moccasin with Star at Chateau Metro. So now Mom an Corey hafta go apologize to Max so he won't bust 'er down to tape rewinder at the video store, only when they go to Max's house his dog turns Cujo an tries to nibble their kibble.
Then Haim goes to back to the comic store to consult with Feldman about Brospheratu an Feldman says that if they can't locate the head vampire an drag 'im kickin' an screamin' outta the place where the sun don't shine they'll hafta go on a stake out before Mike can put the bite on 'em. Haim thinks Max is at the top of the vampirearchy, so when Max comes over for dinner that night, Haim invites Feldman an they run Max through a battery of tests to prove Max's newfangled affections for mom stem from his desire to drain 'er veins, but Max stubbornly refuses to burst into flames or become entangled in anybody's hair an it's just awkward. Meanwhile, Mike goes lookin' for Kiefer an ends up down on the beach watchin' his fellow glampires make meals out of a buncha razor-head surfers; he's about to join 'em, only he gets a good look at the prison tattoos an realizes their blood prolly tastes like an unholy combination of Camels, Hungry Man dinners, an Jagermeister, before decidin' to go without despite Kiefer tellin' 'im that - much like a trailer-park day care provider, he's gonna hafta drink sooner or later. Mike's pretty much made his choice at this point, so Haim calls Feldman an everybody piles into Grampa's '57 Ford Fairlane an head out to the Batcave where Feldman proceeds to ram a stake through the heart of Bill S. Preston while Mike lugs Star back to the rig. Kiefer is not amused, an he just about yanks Haim's leg outta the socket before Feldman's able to drag Kiefer's paw into the light an give 'im a third degree sunburn, but any way you slice it - come sundown there's gonna be some serious neck chompin' if the twin Coreys don't get their act together, an so they swing by the farmer's market an clean 'em outta garlic, siphon all the holy water outta the bird bath inside the Catholic church, an send Grampa out on poon patrol to prepare for the moment when Kiefer and Company wake up an take flight. I ain't about to ruin the ending on this one for the four guys that haven't seen it, but I will say this much: be prepared for vampyrotechnics.
Alrighty, well, this's another situation where there ain't a whole lot I can add that hasn't been said by countless other reviewers far more learned than myself, but it's worth noting that not only is The Lost Boys the best vampire flick ever made; it's also a really important one. I think it goes without saying that, by the 1980s, the classic Universal monsters had been played out and exploited to the point that the well was dryer'n a popcorn fart. By then, vampires were old hat to say the least, but in 1985 all that changed with the release of Fright Night, which was well-produced, stylish, and introduced audiences to a modern take on an old idea. Fright Night made vampires "scary" again, but simultaneously updated the concept and also made them far more entertaining than they'd been in a long, long time. That said, something was still missing; and that something proved to be the young, cool version of vampires that had been long lacking in the days of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. Kiefer Sutherland's portrayal of the heavy metal glam rock vampire in The Lost Boys almost single-handedly resuscitated the subgenre, and led to the kinds of vampires we see in movies today, which when you think about it is both a compliment and an insult, so I should probably clarify. The Lost Boys created the blueprint for the modern vampire story, however, that doesn't make it responsible for all the glittery Twilight crapola you're seeing in more recent years, because after all - claw hammers don't kill people, Toolbox Murderers do. You would never have had Buffy the Vampire Slayer without The Lost Boys, and depending upon how you look at it, that's either a blessing or a curse, but regardless, the subgenre needed to evolve as society had evolved, and it was Fright Night and The Lost Boys that made it happen. Same deal with werewolves; you had The Howling in April of 1981 that reinvigorated the Horror community's love of that particular monster, and then An American Werewolf in London which followed in August of that same year, the latter of which really cemented the return of the werewolf movie. I think this just further proves that the '80s were an unparalleled decade for the genre, because even though they may not have given birth to many new subgenres, they *perfected* just about all of the existing ones - slashers, creatures, bio-Horror, eco-Horror, and classic monsters alike, all produced in an era where special effects capabilities were nearing their peak. In short, The Lost Boys isn't just a great movie, it's a milestone in the subgenre which set the standard that still prevails to this day, and there's no greater compliment one can pay than to acknowledge that fact.
I suppose it's academic at this point, but it'd be pretty unprofessional to let the flick skate on its reputation, so let's toss this baby on the grill and find out whether we're dealin' with a package of discount hamburger, or a nice juicy stake. The overarching plotline really isn't all that original, cause really, let's think about this: flying boys who never grow old visit teenagers in the night and offer them eternal life, fun, and no curfew - we're talkin' Peter Pan, right? Even the title comes from the name of the missing kids who have been "rescued" by the Pan character, so what we're dealing with here is really just a modernized, dark version of a children's fairy tale. It's definitely an interesting twist on the story, and the writers really knocked it out of the park with their new vision of the tale, but it's not a new concept. What makes it special, in my opinion, is its ability to turn the old vampire mythos on its head without disrespecting the concept, while also bringing the idea into a modern, urban setting. Back when Hammer (and its coat-tail riders) was the driving force behind the vampire film, the idea of doing a serious flick set in a California beach community would have been laughed out of the room, because Dracula was still inescapably linked to castles in Europe, but The Lost Boys does away with many of the tenets of the older, stuffier vampire movie, and livens things up to a level never previously achieved, and for that it deserves a great deal of credit. The acting is equally top-notch, with many up-and-coming actors and actresses spring-boarding to stardom after the movie's success. Despite not having a lot of dialog, Kiefer Sutherland is the guy who really brings it all together and creates an interesting character dynamic with his portrayal of the head Lost Boy. He's unquestionably the "bad guy," but you can't help but like him for at least the first hour of the movie, and that's due to a combination of excellent acting and damn good writing. Of course we've also got the great but never-quite-as-good-on-their-own Twin Coreys, trying to save older brother Jason Patric who's slowly turnin' vampire on 'em and simultaneously puttin' the screws to his new friends, and they're both extremely entertaining and relatable in a way that makes the movie especially palatable to the teenager in all of us. There isn't a single weak performance in the flick, but the only other major stand-out performance comes from Barnard Hughes as the eccentric grandfather who drives around in a 1942 International Harvester (with a horn that plays La Cucaracha) and subscribes to TV Guide despite not having a TV. This character is one of the weirdest, funniest nuts you'll ever see if you watch 10,000 movies, and Hughes absolutely nails it.
Here's who matters and why (besides Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Kiefer Sutherland of course): Jason Patric (Frankenstein Unbound, Solarbabies), Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands), Barnard Hughes (TRON, The UFO Incident), Edward Hermann (The Town that Dreaded Sundown 2014, Here Come the Monsters, My Boyfriend's Back, Death Valley 1982), Jami Gertz (Solarbabies), Jamison Newlander (The Blob 1988, The Lost Boys 2 & 3, Young Blood: Evil Intentions), Brooke McCarter (The Uh-Oh Show), Billy Wirth (Body Snatchers, Starlight, Space Marines, Venus Rising), Alex Winter (Ben 10 1 & 2, Freaked), Chance Michael Corbitt (Hallow's Eve, Pumpkinhead), Christopher Peters (Zombie High), J. Dinan Myrtetus (The Power 1984), Kelly Jo Minter (Nightmare on Elm Street 5, The People Under the Stairs, Popcorn), Harrod Blank (Killer Klowns from Outer Space), D. Alan Cooksey (Starship: Rising), Shawn Flanagan (Wrong Turn), Douglas Mellor (The Beast of Yucca Flats).
Bein' a big budget, fancy pants studio affair as it is, you'd be right to expect a longer list of mainstream credits than genre credits, so say a quick prayer for these poor unfortunate souls who stepped off the path to righteousness: Jason Patric (Nick Tellis in Narc, Shakes in Sleepers), Dianne Wiest (Holly in Hannah and Her Sisters, Louise Keeley in The Birdcage, Joan on Life in Pieces, Nat in Rabbit Hole, Nora Lewin on Law & Order, Annie in I Am Sam, Helen in Parenthood, Vi Moore in Footloose), Barnard Hughes (Buzz Richman on Blossom, Towny in Midnight Cowboy), Edward Hermann (Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls), Jami Gertz (Debbie Weaver on The Neighbors, Judy Miller on Still Standing), Alex Winter (Bill in the two Bill & Ted movies), Kelly Jo Minter (Denise Green in Summer School), Jim Turner (Kirby Carlisle on Arli$$).
The special effects are another triumph, with excellent makeup provided by Greg Cannom and his talented staff. Cannom's a guy you don't hear much about, but he's been doing this kinda work since 1977 with The Incredible Melting Man, and continues to this day with more recent flicks like Watchmen. The vampire makeup is superb, and while there's not too much gore in the movie, we do get a pretty good scene on the beach where Kiefer and Company rip the jugulars out of a buncha surf Nazis, in which we're treated to some excellent neck innards. Beyond that we've got death by holy water (with melting flesh), spectacular projectile blood gushing for the sequence where Feldman stakes Alex Winter, the immortal "death by stereo" scene, and a pretty spiffy mid-air battle between Kiefer and Jason, as well as a couple other shots I don't wanna give away for the folks who have somehow never seen the movie. Really good special effects though, practically bulletproof in this area. The shooting locations are both very authentic and, in some cases, unique. The vampire's hideout with its countless props and primitive lighting system kinda hearkens back to the abandoned theme park from Chainsaw 2, and makes for a very cool base of operations for the Lost Boys. Of course, you've also got the carnival on the boardwalk of Santa Cruz, California, which really brings the movie to life and ties in well with the idea that our vampires aren't stuffy old Counts content to pace around a castle all day; rather, they are a lot like normal teenagers in many respects. We've also got a great '80s comic book store run by Corey Feldman and his brother, the extremely quirky, yet highly amusing home of the loony grandfather that's filled to the brim with taxidermied game animals, and a great shot of the California coastline leading to the vampires' Batcave. It should also be noted that none of this would look as good as it does without the cinematography of Michael Chapman, who brings out the very best of his already photogenic locations. The soundtrack is probably the weakest aspect of the film, which is to say that it's only "good," rather than great. To me, most of the musical selections are a bit too light and/or goofy for the subject matter, particularly the cover of The Doors' "People Are Strange." The movie isn't deathly serious of course, so the songs don't cause *much* damage to the film's atmosphere, rather, it just feels like a missed opportunity. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, I just don't think it's up to par with the rest of the film. Overall, The Lost Boys is a must-see, and the greatest vampire movie of all time, so if you haven't seen it, do so immediately; and if you have, do so again.