Lost Boys

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"The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch!" The Lost Boys

Jul 26, 2008 (Updated Aug 16, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros:The right mix of action, drama, horror and comedy. A Classic.

Cons:The three back up vampire were under utilized.

The Bottom Line: This movie has withstood the test of time, and still makes many people's list of favorites. It launched a fistfull of careers.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals no details about the movie's plot.

The Lost Boys (1987) Directed by Joel Shumacher

”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 g*dd*mn, sh*t-sucking vampire. You wait 'till mom finds out, buddy!” Sam Emmerson.

Michael and Sam Emmerson are moving with their mom to Santa Carla, where her dad lives. Santa Carla is a beach town, the cutting edge of 80’s cool, but there are also some things out of whack. The town is papered with missing people’s posters, and the back of a billboard proclaims it to be the murder capital of the world. As Grandpa says, “If all the bodies buried around here decided to stand up, we’d have a real population problem.”

There are compensations however for two teen aged boys; Sam finds a comic bookstore run by two paramilitary geeks named Edgar and Allen Frog. (Their parents are too stoned to actually watch the thing) and Michael sees a girl at a beach concert.

Sam’s new friends are a bit out there.
Edgar Frog: You think you really know what's happening here, don't you? Well, I'll tell you something, you don't know sh*t, buddy.
Alan Frog: Yeah? You think we just work at a comic book store for our folks, huh?
Sam Emerson: Actually, I thought it was a bakery.
Edgar Frog: This is just a cover; we're dedicated to a higher purpose. We're fighters for truth, justice, and the American way.
Edgar Frog: We've been aware there's some very serious vampire activity in this town for some time.
Alan Frog: Santa Carla's become a haven for the undead.
Edgar Frog: As a matter of fact, we're almost certain ghouls and werewolves occupy high positions at city hall.

They give him some vampire comics to educate him on the undead and their ways, and their number.

Sadly, those two are the better crowd. Michael’s Juliet is named Star, and she is attached to a gang of boys led by the lethally cool David. While Michael is trying to seduce Star, David seems almost to be trying to seduce Michael. His actions are not those of a jealous boy friend, but those of the leader of the pack, facing a new male. He wants the male to join, but to know for sure he is a beta.

After some hazing activity, they take him to their hideout, an old hotel swallowed in the 1906 earthquake. There, they drink wine in a twisted sort of sacrament, that Star warns him is blood. Michael should have listened.

Now, Michael is undergoing a transformation. Sensitive to sunlight, driven by hungers he can’t understand, and becoming transparent in his reflection, Michael is a half vampire. According to the Frog Brothers, and the Comic Vampires Everywhere, if the head vampire is killed before Michael feeds, he will return to normal. Poor Sam is caught between so many forces; his brother is becoming a vampire, the only people who believe him want to kill Michael, and his mom is dating!

Worse, Sam has the idea that Max, his mom’s boss, may very well be the head vampire! Trust me on this, if you are a single mom, trying to have a date with a man, you do not want your teenage son trying to prove he is a vampire! It ruins the mood.

Worse, all the tests come back negative. They don’t know who the head vampire is.

Can they find out before Michael, Star, and Little Laddie all turn into bloodsuckers?

The Cast
Jason Patric ... Michael Emerson
David: It is too late; my blood is in your veins.
Michael Emerson: So is mine!

This was Jason Patric’s first big role, and it launched his career. He is evocative of Jim Morrison of the Doors, as evidenced by the giant poster in the vampire’s lair. An excellent performance.

Corey Haim ... Sam Emerson
”Are you freebasing, Michael? Inquiring minds want to know.”
An ironic line for an actor whose career has been destroyed by drugs. Sam is a sweet kid, shallow, materialistic (it was the 80’s after all) but basically a good kid and he loves his brother. Corey was a veteran at this point with two starring roles under his belt with “Lucas” and “Silver Bullet”. He is a great actor, and his story is a tragedy and a cautionary tale about too much freedom too soon. Here’s to hoping rehab will take and his career will get back on track.

Dianne Wiest ... Lucy Emerson.
The mom. Perhaps too sweet and permissive, there is no doubt she loves her boys. It is interesting that it was through her that her family was targeted to become the bloodsucking Brady Bunch. Dianne, as always, turns in a great performance.

Barnard Hughes ... Grandpa
”If you read the T.V. Guide, you don't need a T.V.”
A bit of an odd duck, Grandpa is smarter than he lets on. He definitely has his own views on matters. This is one of my favorite characters in a movie rife with great characters. Barnard is great.

Edward Herrmann ... Max
Great Performance.

Kiefer Sutherland ... David
”Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You'll never grow old, Michael, and you'll never die. But you must feed!”
Like Jason Patric, this is the vehicle that got Kiefer noticed. Son of actor Donald Sutherland, this young man proved that acting is in his blood as the leader of the pack. In an interesting side note, while he does not reprise his role (David did not blow up; he was scheduled to come back in Lost Girls, a project that never got off the planning board) in Lost Boys II, The Tribe, the Leader of the vampire pack is played by Angus Sutherland, his youngest half brother. Sutherland makes sure the Vampire is a metaphor for illicit sex with his smoldering good looks, and licentious sneer. A great performance from a great actor.

Jami Gertz ... Star
They needed someone to be smokin’ hot and absolutely irresistible to a teenage boy. Dang! Did she nail that part! This is not Gertz best performance, but it is one of the most memorable.

Corey Feldman ... Edgar Frog.
Allen Frog: We blew it, man, we lost it!
Edgar Frog: Shut up!
Allen Frog: We unraveled in the face of the enemy!
Edgar Frog: It's not our fault, they pulled a mind scramble on us. They opened their eyes and talked.

The Frog Brothers provide a great deal of the comedic content of this movie. They think they are big butch bad*$$es, but they are just competent.

Corey Feldman’s career has somewhat become linked with Corey Haim’s; as best friends since this movie, it was inevitable. The difference here is Feldman has stared down the demons of addiction, and come out the other side. You have to respect that. We can only hope his friend Haim will follow his example.

Corey Feldman is the only Name that carried over to the next movie, Lost Boys II, The Tribe, reprising his role of Edgar Frog. You need to check it out. He has not lost the touch.

Jamison Newlander ... Allen Frog
Allen Frog: We blew it, man, we lost it!
Edgar Frog: Shut up!
Allen Frog: We unraveled in the face of the enemy!
Edgar Frog: It's not our fault, they pulled a mind scramble on us. They opened their eyes and talked.

The other half of the Frog Brothers, Allen is the follower. Quiet and grim, he does not make the impact his brother does. However, it should be noted he too appears in Lost Boys II, The Tribe. He did not have a big career.

Brooke McCarter ... Paul
The forgettable vampire. His main claim to fame is he became Corey Haim’s manager through the 90’s. I don’t think that’s anything to write home to mother about either.

Billy Wirth ... Dwayne
The dark broody sexy vampire. Not a lot of meat in the role, but Billy did inject more sex appeal in a movie already dripping testosterone.

Alex Winter ... Marko
The third back up singer in the vampire trio, Alex Winter is much more famous as Bill S. Preston, Esq. He now has a solid career directing commercials and Videos.

Chance Michael Corbitt ... Laddie Thompson
His first movie role, and Laddie was little more than a prop for Star, something to anchor her humanity. He also appears on the milk carton as a Lost Boy.

Timmy Cappello ... Beach Concert Star
I mention this role for two reasons. First, he was smoking hot as the sax player/ singer where Michael met Star, and second, he appears in the sequel, Lost Boys II, The Tribe. Look for him. Here is a clue. He is in the same outfit.

The Analysis
This movie has surprising depth for a teen horror flick; the title of course refers to Peter Pan, and the kids who never grow up. A vampire is pretty much stuck where he was when he died. Also, the vampire legend, which started as a metaphor for plague, and grew into a metaphor for sex, has come full circle and the vampire is a metaphor for both sex and the plague: AIDS. If you do not take proper precautions and exercise a little self control, this could happen to you.

One of the successful elements of this movie is the use of comedy in what is basically a classic horror story. It is an interesting trick, but with today’s jaded audience, it is hard to actually scare them. But if you get them to laugh, then their emotions are high, and when you shock them, it is more likely to take.

Another element that works is the recurrent theme of family. The Emmerson’s are a family, and in fact are wanted as family. Their bonds are what make them attractive to the vampire.

The Frog Brothers are another family; a very dysfunctional one. Their parents, seen for three seconds, are left over hippies, stoned into unconsciousness. The Frogs are raising themselves, and it shows.

The vampire pack is another family, one of choice. It is said in life, you choose your friends, but not your family. But those who have lost their family, through tragedy, divorce, or just geographic separation, can, with luck, build a family. That is what the vampires are trying to do. It’s just doomed to failure because a vampire is the ultimate expression of selfishness. “I don’t care what harm I am doing to you, or the sorrow I bring, my continued existence requires your suffering and death.”

The music is also an integral part of the mix; it sets mood and pace. It is not pervasive, and it bridges sections, bringing a commonality. The fact that it is really good music, well chosen, really helps the movie.

The Plot, the pacing and cinematography all are superlative. From the technical stand point, this is a well put together film. It won several awards, including the coveted Saturn award for Best Horror movie of 1987. Corey Haim and Barnard Hughes were nominated for their roles, and the make up and costumes also received nods. Both Corey’s were nominated for Young Artists Awards, and the movie itself was nominated for favorite teen horror movie. So there is definitely some good work in this movie.

Here is the real test of time. It is still watchable. It still sells, twenty one years later. And if you want to mention an actor who appeared here, this is probably the movie that you mention.

Action, thrills, horror, cute girls, hot boys….all in a quality production. No wonder it is a classic.

Bloodletting on Film: Vampires.

From Dusk 'Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter
From Dusk 'Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money
From Dusk 'Till Dawn
Lost Boys: The Tribe
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Near Dark
Dracula (1979)
The Lost Boys
30 Days of Night

Recommend this product? Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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