Oh, The Lost Boys, how do I love you? Let me count the ways. You have Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Patrick, and Kiefer Sutherland. You have awesome music and a crazy grandpa. The Lost Boys is a movie where this happened.
I love you, The Lost Boys! Seriously, The Lost Boys was a legit modernization of old vampire mythos. There were still the old vampire rules, like staying out of the sun and death by a stake in the heart, but these vampires were young and mostly wanted to have fun. They lived in an abandoned hotel and spent most of their time on the boardwalk.
Sam (Corey Haim), Mike (Jason Patrick, and their mom, (Dianne Weist) are moving to Santa Carla from Phoenix.
They’re moving in with their awesome, curmudgeonly and eccentric grandfather (Barnard Hughes.) Grandpa understands the importance of root beer, double-stuffed Oreos, and taxidermy.
Santa Carla is a weird little boardwalk town. According to grandpa, if the corpses buried in Santa Carla all stood up at once there’d be one hell of a population problem. There are missing person posters plastered everywhere.
Mom gets a job at a video store, Sam befriends the Frog brothers Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), while Mike falls in with a group of punks lead by David (Kiefer Sutherland.)
Mike starts acting weird pretty quickly. He starts staying out all night, is sensitive to the sun, and Nanook, the family dog, catches him trying to attack Sam. According to the Frog brothers, who work at their family’s comic book shop, Mike has been vamped. The only way to save him is to kill the head vampire.
They think that David is the head vampire after Max, mom’s new boyfriend, fails the vampire tests (Aversion to garlic, burning with holy water, and appearing in a mirror.) After all, he’s the one leading a gang and he’s the one with a fruit-bat face.
Wrong! Turns out it was Max all along. The problem is that they invited Max into their house, making him immune to those tests. Or something. Anyway, there’s a big battle between Mike, Sam, Star and Laddie (Two other half vampires), and the Frog brothers fighting the vampire gang. Grandpa finally drives his truck through the wall of the house, allowing Mike to stake Max. He gets out and says what’s probably the most famous line in The Lost Boys, “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.”
So the movie is about half teenage comedy and half horror, but it somehow works. I think a lot of it works based on the acting ability of Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Patrick, and Kiefer Sutherland. A lesser cast would have reduced the movie to silliness. Plus, there are some realistic moments. When you find out your older brother’s a vampire what do you do? Threaten to tell mom, duh.
The movie isn’t really scary, it’s more tense, even though I’ve watched it a gazillion times. It’s still interesting watching Mike change. The effects are mostly understated and you don’t see any real blood until the ending battle. What I like about these vampires is that they’re not as gross as the Near Dark vampires but not as decadent as the Interview with the Vampire vampires.
What I particularly like about the movie is the care taken with shot composition. The movie could probably have gotten away with being sloppy since it’s “just” a horror movie but it’s actually beautifully filmed. The boardwalk is filled with awesome freaks and is practically a character in the movie. I especially love the flying shots they used to signify the vampire gang flying.
I also love the music. The soundtrack is a mixture of orchestral music with eighties rock done by bands that I actually like. These are bands and artists that a geezer like me grew up with, such as INXS, Roger Daltrey, and Echo and the Bunnymen.
So, this movie is basically a fun eighties horror comedy. It’s not necessarily scary but it definitely pays honor to its source material.