“Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.” So goes the tagline for The Lost Boys. Accordingly, these vamps sure do have fun.
The Lost Boys is a story about a single mother and her two sons. After a divorce, they move out to California to live with her father and start over. Their grandfather happens to be the most entertaining taxidermist grandfather ever. He’s hilarious, has a lively dating life, and stuffs too many darn animals.
After settling in, the family heads out to the boardwalk one night. While a buff, oily, rock saxophonist leads a concert, the older brother meets eyes with a woman, Star. The brother, Michael, feels a bit of a connection with her. He follows Star and meets her motorcycle gang, who are secretly vampires. They ride off and Michael starts to hang out with them. In between their adventures, they manage to slip him some vampire blood to infect him. Later, they will try to get him to embrace and turn so that he can spend eternity living their party life.
Meanwhile, as Michael is pursuing Star, the younger brother, Sam, meanders into a comic book store. There, he meets the Frog brothers. The brothers inform Sam that the Santa Carla is full of vampires. Unconvinced, Sam shrugs them off at first. Everything changes when Michael starts changing into a vampire and exhibiting signs of the undead.
The changes start small. Michael starts having odd cravings for blood. He also starts to float uncontrollably while sleeping. Even their dog starts to get aggressive towards him. At this point Michael tells Sam he needs help.
Remembering the conversation at the comic book store, Sam and Michael contact the Frog brothers. Turning down their suggestion of simply killing Michael, the four of them plan to cure him. The solution to everything is to kill the head vampire. But who is the head vampire? This question leads the group down the path to pit the four of them against the vampire gang.
The Lost Boys is beautifully 80s. It absolutely revels in it at moments. The lights at night are fantastic, the wardrobe is completely ridiculous, and the music is great. I love the concert scene at the beginning. Those fire barrels on and surrounding the stage and fantastic. The shirtless, rock saxophonist is just crazy. It is all fantastically 80s and absurd.
In addition to this, the story is told pretty well. The direction works in almost every scene and the music matches up perfectly. The vampires were done in an interesting way as well. They aren’t bland, but fit the time of the movie. They are all night partiers and sleep all day. This is really just the exaggeration of the teenage and young adult lifestyle. And they will get to live this lifestyle forever as they never grow old. The ultimate party lost boys.
Last, but not least, the movie elevated by the actors. The brothers are played by one-half of the two Coreys, Corey Haim, and Jason Patric. They are both great in their roles and serve as the heart of the movie along with their mother. Their mother is also the great Dianne West who does well with limited opportunities in the movie. The grandfather is limited to mostly comedic elements, but delivers them all pitch perfectly.
On the side of the gang, they gathered a ton of great young talent. You have the up and coming Jamie Gertz playing Star. You also have the most excellent Alex Winter before he was the great Bill S. Preston, Esquire. Best of all, they managed to secure a performance from a post-Stand by Me Kiefer Sutherland with a terribly 80s haircut.
On the other side of the vampire battle, you have the Frog brothers with Corey Feldman. These two are a little cheesy in their delivery of two young boys who consider themselves essentially a military force against the vampires. Where are their parents keeping them from getting into trouble?
The movie on all fronts is a solid watch. I highly recommend watching this one.
31 Days of Halloween Trivia:
- This was the first time Corey Feldman and Corey Haim worked together in what would become a pairing known as the “The Two Coreys”
- Director Joel Schumacher was concerned that he might be fired and this would be the last film he would get to direct as the studio was confused by the concept of fusing horror and comedy together.
Picture Quality: 3.5/5
This release looks quite good for its first release in HD. While it looks much better than the DVD, it should be noted that this is several years old and looks like it. On one hand, it is pretty sharp and clear for a movie in the 80s. As the movie spends a lot of time in dark shots, I was pleased it never really looked very murky and the blacks looked true. Also, the 80s colors looked true. Throughout the movie, the picture is pretty consistently good. It could stand a new scan and transfer. However, until then, this is a pretty good looking movie.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Much like the transfer, the audio options are pretty solid for the when this disc was produced. While there are better audio options these days, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is a nice lossless option. I found the dialog to be clear throughout, but the music to be occasionally a little overly loud for the scenes. The actions sounds good. On the other hand, the surround is a little underutilized through much of the film. But overall, a pretty good audio track for a delight of the 80s.
Special Features and Packaging: 3.5/5
Commentary Track: Joel Schumacher sits down and talks through the movie. He is very clearly proud of this movie and likes it personally. There is actually a time or two where he stops talking because he really likes the scene that is playing.
Now this was a really good commentary track for one person. Joel gives a ton of insight into the making of the film from casting to makeup. He has a true affection for the actors he cast and quite the understanding of how to make a movie. After hearing this commentary, I actually have to rethink a lot of harsh thoughts I had about him due to Batman and Robin. I can give him a mulligan and forgive him. I look forward to more commentary tracks with him.
The Lost Boys: A Retrospective: Featurette featuring Schumacher, Richard Donner (producer), Michael Chapman (cinematographer) along with stars Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Kiefer Sutherland. Offering a behind the scenes discussion on casting and evolution of the movie. I still think the commentary is better.
Inside the Vampires’ Cave: The combination of four pieces:
- A Director’s Vision: Clips with Schumacher talking about how the movie evolved from the original idea to what we got.
- Comedy vs. Horror: A talk about how the studio couldn’t wrap their minds around the melding of horror and comedy.
- Fresh Blood: A New Look At Vampires: Thoughts on the history of vampires and how they’ve grown into what we see in The Lost Boys.
- ‘The Lost Boys” Sequel: Cast and crew discussing the ideas for the sequel. Most of it is focused around the idea for the never made The Lost Girls.
Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom: We get to hear Greg Cannom tell us about how he got into the makeup business and discuss how they went about the effects for this feature. Right off the bat, it is clear that he had a good time on this movie and remembers it fondly still.
Haimster and Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys: The Coreys discuss how their careers intertwined and how they became friends. Short talk on how the two decided to go separate ways but are still close friends.
Multi-Angle Commentary with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander: A couple of scenes with the three of them offering commentary.
The Lost Scenes: A couple of interesting deleted scenes. The movie is better off with these being cut.
The Vampires’ Photo Gallery: Collection of still photographs from the movie.
A World of Vampires: You can access an interactive map with information about vampire legends.
Theatrical Trailer: ‘Nuff said.
Lost in the Shadows Music Video
Now, you have three packaging options for The Lost Boys. Of course you can pick up the standard copy for a around eight bucks. There is even a Steelbook® for fifteen dollars. But I would suggest that you pick it up in the three-pack. This will give you the whole series for around ten bucks. And yes, it is worth it to get the whole series for an extra couple of dollars. I’ll explain more on that in later reviews.
The Lost Boys is a great vampire film. First, it treats the vampire lore fairly and introduces some new thoughts. Also, it blends horror and comedy very effectively. Additionally, performances in front of and behind the camera are strong. This release is packed with extras and has decent technical qualities. While the release is also quite reasonably priced on its own this trilogy set is the real value. I’d recommend going for the trilogy set because the second is worth a watch and the third is enjoyable (more on these later this month). Until The Lost Boys is remastered, there is no reason to not get the second and third at such a bargain. I highly recommend picking this one up.