31 Screams in October, #5: The Lost Boys (1987)

Posted: October 6, 2014 in Movie Review
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The Lost Boys (1987)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Corey Haim, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest

Moving to an entirely new town must be very difficult, especially when you’re young. I say this because that’s not something I’ve ever personally had to do. The same cannot be said for brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam Emerson (Corey Haim) who have moved to the town of Santa Carla, California, which also just so happens to be the “Murder Capital of the World.” The two have moved there along with their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) to live with her father (Barnard Hughes) on the outskirts of town.

As Michael and Sam head into town with their mother one night, the two split off in different directions. Each, once he gets where he’s going, recieves hints that there may be something “batty” going on in Santa Carla. Sam heads off to a comic book store, the place he feels most at home. There, he meets the Frog brothers, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) who suggest that the vampire comics are what Sam should buy. Sam insists he doesn’t like horror comics, but the Frog brothers swear that they are more like a survival guide than entertainment.

Michael’s journey through the dark of the night seems innocent enough at first. He meets a beautiful young girl named Star (Jami Gertz) who, Michael observes, must have had hippie parents just like his. The innocence is short-lived once Star’s boyfriend, David (Kiefer Sutherland) and his motorcycle-riding gang show up. You would think this would be the part where the jealous boyfriend beats up our protagonist for so much as looking at “his woman,” but here it’s much worse than that. After nearly riding off a cliff in a drag race with David, Michael goes with the group to their underground lair, a long-forgotten part of the city swallowed up by the big earthquake of 1906. There, Michael is encouraged to drink wine with them. Star pleads with him not to, but Michael does anyway. It’s the cool thing to do.

What Michael doesn’t know, and what Star was trying to tell him, is that the red stuff in the bottle isn’t composed of grape juice and alcohol. Star later explains that the two of them, along with a much younger boy named Laddie, are all half-vampires (meaning that they haven’t killed anyone yet). Michael was supposed to be her first kill, but she’s too into him now. His resistance to the thirst for blood weakening, Michael looks to Sam and the Frog brothers for help. They explain that killing the head vampire should restore any half-vampires to normal. The question remains: Who is the head vampire? The answer may, or it may not surprise you.

Though clearly not a good choice to direct any “Batman” movies, Joel Schumacher was the perfect choice to bring this modern update on the classic vampire tale to life. More fun than scary, the only truly frightening thing about “The Lost Boys” is Kiefer Sutherland’s mullet. Gotta love the Peter Pan references, from the film’s title to the “never grow up, never die” mantra. There’s not too much to be said about the acting, other than to say that Corey Feldman overacts to an hilarious extreme. That shouldn’t take you by surprise, but in his own way, it does make Feldman stand out. When the franchise went to direct-to-video in 2008 and 2010, Feldman’s character would take over as the series’ lead.

One of the better things about “The Lost Boys,” and no doubt one of the keys to its popularity, is the music. While I absolutely love the appropriate inclusion of “People are Strange,” I would prefer that they had used the version by The Doors. To their credit, the cover band goes out of their way to sound like the genuine article. Of course, the song everyone focuses on is Gerard McMann (a.k.a. G Tom Mac)’s “Cry Little Sister,” the movie’s theme song. “Cry Little Sister” has been covered so many times over the years that it’s not even funny. The version by Aiden is the one heard in the direct-to-video-sequels, but it’s the heavier. louder version by Seasons After that I like.

The status of “The Lost Boys” as a cult favorite is more than secure. It is so popular still that some may not be aware that it wasn’t even the only horror movie about a vampire gang released in the year 1987…

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