JUNE 24, 2008
NOTE – As you read this review, please have the following Youtube clip running (on a loop if necessary). It’s part of the Lost Boys experience.
Even as a kid I don’t think I ever actually watched all of The Lost Boys in a single viewing. My horror movie memory is pretty good but I honestly do not recall ever sitting down and watching it, instead just sort of catching parts of it on cable and eventually realizing I had seen it all. My last experience with it was about 7 years ago when I went over a friend’s to watch it and promptly slept thru the entire movie (I never even saw the Frog Brothers, and I think I might have caught a glimpse of Kiefer in between snoozes). And true to form, I even dozed off again tonight, but I borrowed a friend’s DVD for the extras and thanks to Joel Schumacher’s commentary, I was quickly able to re-view what I had missed.
Also, let the record show that this is the only time I would like to say “Thanks to Joel Schumacher” without being sarcastic.
I’m not sure why I didn’t spend more time watching the film as a kid. It’s got everything I liked then – “cool” monsters, a rock soundtrack, kid characters who were badasses (between this, Goonies, Stand By Me, and Gremlins, I realize now that Corey Feldman had pretty much the best fictional life a bored dude like me would ever want to have), etc. And I certainly liked it, but not enough to warrant a start to finish viewing for some reason. Christ, I even gave that much respect to Look Who’s Talking Too (twice!) when I was 11.
And now I like it just as much, albeit mainly for different reasons. Since I had no real nostalgia to draw my enjoyment from, instead I had a blast with the movie due to the things I love now, 20 years later. These things include unabashed homoeroticism (Corey Haim’s bizarre bathtub scene and poster of Rob Lowe are mighty suspect), comic book nerd dialogue, and ridiculous 80s fashion:
Also, still, the soundtrack. Shit is awesome. I never realized that Thomas Newman was the composer of the film. Newman is best known today for his sweeping, schmaltzy scores for movies like The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, and my personal favorite, Meet Joe Black (the 10 minute opus “That Next Place” from the soundtrack will accompany my funeral, in fact!). Plus the rock songs aren’t too dated, then again half of them are covers anyway. Still, it’s not like we have to deal with Wham or A-Ha like several other films of the era. Echo and the Bunnymen are timeless, dammit!
If there’s anything about the movie that doesn’t hold up, it’s the relative simplicity to the whole thing. It’s essentially a two act film stretched out to cover the lack of a third. They go to the town, meet the vampires, almost immediately turn on them, there’s a fight, and the movie’s over. A little more plot complication would have been nice (not to mention at least ONE other possibility as to who the lead vampire was). Also, the final line of the film, while hilarious, suggests something I actually would be interested in seeing explored – the idea that folks know that the town is overrun with vampires and look at it as a sort of nuisance.
Still, minor quibbles for what is otherwise a solid horror movie, and one of the very few purely FUN vampire films of the past 20 years or so. From Dusk Til Dawn is about the only other one I can think of, since all others tend to be moody and serious (Near Dark), or just plain shitty (Forsaken). There isn’t much in the way of gore (or even violence – it’s almost PG-13 in fact), but the cast and pace is hard to argue with, and the only thing that dates it is the style (both of the characters and the filmmaking itself), which is always preferable to a film that is no longer relevant due to its themes and plot. A solid effort all around.
The DVD is pretty packed. Schumacher’s commentary is OK, there isn’t much to it other than him praising the cast and offering the occasional anecdote (“the Coreys were mad that they didn’t get to drive the car here”). The deleted scenes collection is pretty extensive (20+ minutes!) but you cannot select individual scenes or even skip from one to the other, which is a bit odd.
There is also select “visual commentary” by the two Coreys. Haim just narrates everything and says how great it was to shoot the particular scene, and Feldman just sort of rambles like a drunk about Haim’s wardrobe and his acting choices. He also points out that Alex Winter was once in the movie a lot more but it was all cut, but Winter doesn’t appear at all in the deleted scenes, so who knows if this is just delirium or a half-assed deleted scenes selection. The pair also reminisces about how they met and why they ‘broke up’ after Dream A Little Dream 2, which I had forgotten existed. Another interactive piece is about all of the real vampires in the world who are apparently walking around waiting to kill us all. Cool. It’s worth noting that North America apparently has no vampires (though there are some in the British Isles – look out, Canada!).
Then there’s the usual recollections by the creative team and whatever cast they could assemble (why is Kiefer – the only one with a career – the only vampire to show up for this stuff?). Like most movies that were produced pre-DVD, the behind the scenes stuff is rather slim, and with everyone having perfect memories of the shoot, there isn’t really much to excite here. Come on, surely Jason Patric and Keifer came to blows over who was more of a badass, right?
I should note that Feldman introduced the film, and afterwards he brought out PJ Pesce, who is directing the upcoming DTV sequel Lost Boys: The Tribe. They showed us a clip, and quite frankly it seemed kind of weak – the vampire run like The Flash and it seems like they have replaced fun with gore, but without context I shouldn’t judge. Hopefully it will at least be a moderately entertaining vampire movie on its own terms, because there’s no way it can live up to the spirit of the original (or expectations of fans who have waited 21 years for it).
What say you?