“Death by stereo!”
The Scoop: 1987 R, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, and Kiefer Sutherland
Tagline: Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.
Summary Capsule: A stud (Jason Patric) and his yuppie younger brother (Corey Haim) move into a town overrun by vampires.
Justin’s rating: Eh… Eh. Eh! Eh.
Justin’s review: Joel Schumacher, the director of this quirky little vampire tale, is the man solely responsible (in my eyes) for taking the Batman legend and turning it into something far campier than the old ’60s series. Bat Nipples, I scoff. In my opinion, for committing this horrible crime against the Dark Knight, he should be forced to direct in those rubber Bat suits (with no air holes) for at least his next two films.
But past indiscretions aside, Schumacher did direct the darkly fascinating Flatliners, so I gave this film a shot the other weekend. The Lost Boys starts out in perfect horror/suspense movie fashion: set to eerie music, the camera pans over a bustling boardwalk in the middle of the night, letting you know right away that things aren’t all that groovy in this town. Yes, there are vampires, those blood-sucking losers that teenagers and other people with no lives desire to emulate.
May I just pause and say, boldly, that everyone I’ve known who aspires to vampiredom is a certified looney? “But you’ll live forever, Justin.” “But you get all these powers, Justin.” “But you’ll be able to fly for free, Justin.” Listen, if I had a nickel for every time the dark powers tried to seduce me with these lines, I would be able to afford my own private army of vampire killers who would stake first, and ask questions later. I don’t see the attraction to the whole undead thing, but I suppose it’s pretty popular, since we’ve had two major vampire movies this past year (Blade and Vampires).
Back on track. The Lost Boys starts out great and holds terrific promise. This little seaside community appears perfect on the surface, but (as a billboard reveals) it’s the vampire hunting grounds of California. Unfortunately, here the film suffers from a sort of bipolar disorder, and becomes two separate genres of vampire films. There’s the serious, scary side (with Keifer Sutherland as a spooky vampire leader), and then there’s the campy, Leslie Neilson-antics of the Frog brothers and their vampire hate-crimes. It’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula meets Goonies.
Because of this problem, the film never becomes really scary or really funny. There’s not enough vampire effects, and surprisingly very little blood (only one gruesome scene that even comes close), and we hardly ever see the vampires flying at all. This cheesed me off. We’re subject to numerous first-person flying shots, with the vampire victims yelling in fright or polishing their nails or whatever vampire victims do, but we never actually see the vampires flying around. My guess is that the victims are just pretty scared of the camera coming toward them.
The comedy is, at times, pretty humorous. I like to think of it as a commentary on our childhood fears. We all have terrors that lurk in the closet, and a part of us would just like to go on the offensive instead of just hiding under the covers. Enter the Frog brothers, who exterminate with extreme prejudice. They’re amusing, but severely undercut the hero (Patric), who’s slowly becoming a vampire.
But, if you want to see an ’80s vampire movie, this is OK. It’s got enough cool parts to make up for the “Kill Somebody Already!” parts, and vampire lovers should amuse themselves with it.
By the way, did anyone else watching this think that the vampire makeup looked remarkably similar to the Deadite makeup of the first two Evil Dead films? I kept expecting (and hoping) that Ash would leap out of the woodwork and decimate the vampire population faster than it takes him to say, “Groovy.”
Kyle’s rating: Where’s Buffy?
Kyle’s review: I really liked this movie, and I still do. I can’t hear a soda can pop open without thinking of that guy’s head, either (you’ll know it when you see it!). This isn’t a movie that will change your life or get you thinking philosophically, but it’s fine weekend fare.
Nope, this is just a film about vampires that basically control a small California town being fought by a newly moved in family and two brothers “in the know.” Nothing more, nothing less. The entire film has a good slick, glossy look and you know that was a major studio release solely meant to entertain. It’s pretty high-octane, and uses rock music and zany camera work and effects to get you pumped up and caring about what happens.
You’ll wonder who the damn head vampire is; why those doofus Frog Brothers aren’t dead by now, and you’ll wonder about the logistics of carrying on a relationship with a hot vampire babe (couldn’t be that bad, right?). And if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the rest of your life always making sure that the white rice that comes with your Chinese food isn’t just a big pile of maggots. That’s good stuff.
Clare’s rating: let’s see, Jason Patric, Billy Wirth, Alex Winter and Keifer Sutherland (ok, maybe not him) as sexy, stylish, blood sucking gouls. Where do I sign up?
Clare’s review: This movie was one of the first rated R flicks I can remember seeing and boy has it stuck with me. (Keifer Sutherland chomping down on a biker dudes skull warped my fragile little mind). It’s got BOTH Corey’s in all their pre-cocaine addiction, Michael Jackson-obsession-glory playing young weirdoes hell bent on destroying the rampaging vampires in their not-so-quiet tourist beach town.
Only problem is that Sam’s (that’s Corey HAIM) brother Michael (Jason Patric) has been seduced into the vampire lifestyle — sort of. This movie has a soundtrack that kicks much ass, really great gore and blood sequences and some of the hottest unknowns ever to be thrown together in a schlocky teen vampire film. Plus, it taught us all a valuable lesson about how to know if you’ve actually killed the head vampire or just one of his sexy, stylish, blood sucking goul followers.
I could go into a much longer cultural investigation about Corey Haim’s character’s sexual orientation (how many straight boys do you know who have posters of Rob Lowe without his shirt on in their bedrooms?), but I prefer to let viewers draw their own conclusions. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you either didn’t come of age in the 80’s or you’re Amish. If your religion permits, please check this one out pronto.
Drew’s rating: I’m federal agent Jack Bauer, and this is the longest night of my eternity. Also, I want to eat your soul.
Drew’s review: Did you ever have one of those movies that you always meant to watch, and all your friends said you really should, but for whatever reason you just never got around to it? I think we all have a few films like that floating around inside our heads, and for years The Lost Boys was at the top of my list. There are any number of reasons I kept thinking I should see it — it’s an ’80s flick, it’s horror/comedy, it’s one of the fabled good Joel Schumacher movies — but the fact that I finally got around to watching it can be attributed to one thing and one thing only: Kiefer Sutherland plays the lead vampire.
For those living on Pluto for the last five years, allow me to explain — after years of playing jerks (Stand By Me) and whiny guys (Young Guns), Sutherland hibernated for about a decade, then burst back onto the scene as the most hardcore secret agent ever in the best non-Scrubs series on television, 24. Being a, y’know, casual fan of the show, my mind was made up: if Kief (he lets me call him that) was involved, I was watching.
Which brings us to The Lost Boys, except… having seen it, there’s not much I can add that the other Mutants haven’t already covered. It’s funny, though the humor comes more from the film’s concept and overall attitude than from laugh-out-loud moments. But a few things raise Boys from the level of “forgettable vampire flick” to “cult classic,” among them the intriguing (though not as original nowadays) concept of vampire children, the cool make-up effects and cinematography, and, yes, I’ll say it: Kiefer Sutherland. As Schumacher points out in a retrospective, Kiefer has fewer lines than most other characters, but he just radiates a presence that’s both intriguing and unnerving; it elevates him into the pantheon of memorable vampires even if the film itself might not otherwise merit it. Not bad for a guy with a mullet.
In the end, it’s a fun little flick that dares to show the obvious truth: aside from the whole thrice-damned spawn of Satan thing, being a vampire would be… well, pretty darn cool. If nothing else, flying saves you loads on gas, and these days that’s no joke. So yeah, I’m glad I finally saw The Lost Boys and I’d recommend it to others; it’s not the greatest vampire movie I’ve ever seen, it’s not the best ’80s movie I’ve ever seen, but it definitely has its charms.
Also, I’m totally not gay for Kiefer Sutherland. Just wanted to clear that up. Stop looking at me like that!
- Bill and Ted Alert! We bring you these alerts whenever we see aspiring actors Alex Winter or Keanu Reeves in a movie other than Bill and Ted playing Bill or Ted. One of the vampires in this movie, Marko, is Alex Winter with a wonderfully done perm. Bill the Vampire. Excellent! Er… bogus!
- Among numerous other vampire films, The Lost Boys was parodied in the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror IV- after Bart becomes a vampire, Lisa stakes Mr. Burns, only to discover he isn’t actually the head vampire.
- And people wonder why I hate Chinese food…
- Me: “Do you think Kiefer Sutherland ever pulls this movie out and looks back at himself with a bleached blond mullet and fangs?” Lady Luck: “Absolutely not. Ever.”
- Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Bill S. Preston, Esq. in the same 80s movie? My thesis is complete!
- “Laddie”? It’s California in the 80s, not Scotland in the 1600s.
- Do you think they have prophylactics in that underground hotel? What if they make a whole mess of vampire babies like in Van Helsing?
- If my grandfather EVER said to me “Looks like I wasn’t the only one got lucky last night,” I would definitely vomit on the spot.
- Wait, why does the head vampire reflect in the mirror when they make a big deal about Michael’s reflection fading?
- Nothing like a children’s choir chanting “Thou shalt not kill” to get you pumped up, I always say.
- The main theme “Cry Little Sister” is an awesome piece of 80’s magic!
David: Michael wants to know what’s going on. Marco, what’s going on?
Marco: I don’t know. What’s going on, Paul?
Paul: Wait a minute. Who wants to know?
Dwayne: Michael wants to know.
Alan Frog: Kill your brother, you’ll feel better!
Edgar Frog: I just want you to know that if you attempt to vamp out on me in any way, I will not hesitate to put a stake through your heart.
Sam: Chill out, Edgar.
Sam [about Star]: It’s that girl from the boardwalk. Is she one of them? [Star floats up.] She’s one of them! And don’t tell me it doesn’t make her a bad person, Mike.
David: What, you don’t like rice? Tell me, Michael, how could a billion Chinese people be wrong?
Sam: Death by stereo!
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Fright Night
- Blade II
- An Interview With The Vampire
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