The Lost Boys (1987) review

The Lost BoysDirector: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest, Jami Gertz

“Look at your reflection in the mirror. You’re a creature of the night, Michael, just like out of a comic book! You’re a vampire, Michael! My own brother: a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’til mom finds out, buddy!” (Sam, The Lost Boys)

If you want to see how to do a teenage vampire movie properly, here’s a handy guide. Step one – take the Twilight films (either DVD or Blu-ray format). Step two – shove them right up your arse. Step three – watch The Lost Boys instead.

It may be 25 years old now but The Lost Boys is still a fantastic film, with a superb script and a brilliant ’80s rock soundtrack. It’s telling that of the many “teens as vampires” movies released since, only a tiny handful of films (such as Near Dark) have come close to matching it for quality.

The Lost Boys
“Hmm? Oh, um, we’re just taking our girlfriends to bed. No, they’re just sleeping. They definitely haven’t been drugged or anything, HAHAHAHAHA.”

It tells the story of Sam Emerson (Corey Haim), whose parents’ divorce sees him moving to the small beach town of Santa Carla along with his mum and brother Michael (Jason Patric). Eager to get involved with the local nightlife, Sam and Michael go to a party where Michael becomes enamored with a girl called Star.

Unfortunately, Star hangs around with a dodgy crowd, a crowd who don’t like the daylight, if you catch my drift. They’re not fans of garlic, if you get me. They can’t see themselves in mirrors, if you follow what I’m saying. They’re fucking vampires. So, in an attempt to get in with the in crowd (led by a young Kiefer Sutherland) and win Star’s heart, Michael decides to join the gang and become a vampire too.

The Lost Boys
The German parallel bars athletes at the Olympics weren’t quite dressed suitably for their training session

Desperate to stop his brother becoming a creature of the night forever, Sam enlists the help of the Frog brothers (Jamison Newlander and a hilariously deep-voiced Corey Feldman), a couple of odd teens who run a comic book shop but are vampire hunters in their spare time. The Frogs agree to help Sam find out who the head vampire is, as killing him is the only way to kill the other vampires and turn the other “half-vampires” who haven’t bitten anyone yet (like Michael and Star) into humans again.

Where The Lost Boys succeeds is that despite the unrealistic premise of teenage vampires hanging out in a beach town it’s still a believable film, thanks in no small part to the cast. You genuinely believe Michael has fallen for Star hook line and sinker, to the extent that, yes, he’ll become a vampire in order to be with her (young love eh, bunch of muppets). Even the sillier characters – in particular Corey Feldman’s Edgar Frog – get the job done because you believe them in the context of the story. In any other film Feldman’s clearly fake deep voice would sound absurd but when he applies it to Frog, a kid keen to sound tough and authoritative, it makes sense.

The Lost Boys
Even die-hard fans of 24 had to admit the latest series was a bit of a departure

Another surprising and refreshing element is the lack of blood throughout most of the film. While there’s the odd scene where the crimson starts to flow (especially during the final battle), considering the state of horror movies in the 1980s and the popularity of gory, special effects-laden films The Lost Boys is somewhat toned down in comparison. That certainly doesn’t go against it, mind you, because the lack of flashy set-pieces only makes more room for character development and more of the film’s brilliant script.

The Lost Boys
Hey! It’s Bill from Bill & Ted! SIXTY NINE, DUDES! I said SIXTY-oh fuck it, he’s not listening. Ignorant bastard.

Rounding things off is a soundtrack that not only would have been achingly hip at the time but still manages to hold out today. The likes of Run DMC, INXS and The Doors feature as background music at times, while the main theme – despite very much being an unashamed 80s rock ballad – can still be appreciated in the 2010s by open-minded people. The sort of people open-minded enough to watch a teenage horror film where the kid from The Goonies plays a gruff-voiced vampire hunter.

It’s difficult to say much more about The Lost Boys because if you’ve managed to go all this time without seeing it and without finding out much about it then you really should check it out without having any more of it ruined for you. Above all else, if you’re a Twilight fan and haven’t seen this or Near Dark yet, stop reading this and hunt them both down immediately, then realise Stephenie Meyer is really a bit of a twat.

WHERE CAN I SEE IT?
As it’s an 80s classic it’s pretty easy to get hold of The Lost Boys. It’s currently available in both Blu-ray and DVD flavours. You can get the two-disc DVD here or go for the Blu-ray here. Both feature similar extras and, oddly, both are roughly the same price at the moment on Amazon.

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