A co-worker foisted The Lost Boys upon me after finding out I’d never seen it. It’s not part of my Summer of Horror must-watch list, but it’s infamous enough to have come into my radar a couple times over the years. But I never sat down and watched the thing.
It took about 95 seconds to realize that this was fully an 80’s cult classic, on par with The Goonies as it pertains to nostalgic appeal for people (and featuring one of its key players). It felt appropriate to document my real-time reactions to the film, so that’s what I did. The following is my stream-of-consciousness review of The Lost Boys.
- This is one of those early DVDs, where the disc has no label – it’s “full screen” on one side and “widescreen” on the other, indicating that it was produced during the time where televisions with a 4:3 aspect ratio were at least as common as 16:9 screens. The disc also boots directly to the movie instead of a menu, like a VHS tape.
- First thing you hear: Utterly 80’s soundtrack. 100% synthesizer. Just in case you weren’t clear on which era this was made.
- Speaking of which, what was the 80’s fascination with youth? I mean, culturally I get it, but the 80’s is the only decade I can think of where the very concept of youth was interesting enough to base an entire movie around. They treat teenagers like another species that crash landed among the normal folk. This isn’t the only 80’s movie that feels that way.
- Holy crap, young Kiefer Sutherland looks a lot like Peter Sarsgaard. I always thought he was the main star of the movie, but he’s not. That would be Jason Patric, of …. um, The Lost Boys fame? Speed 2?
- Is that Bill from Bill & Ted?
- Look at all these punks! I’ve seen at least 6 mohawks in the first 5 minutes of the movie. Clearly, these people are dangerous and should be feared. One of them has bleached streaks in his hair. Reagan would not approve.
- It is Bill! He’s sporting a curly mega-mullet and is credited as “Alexander Winter” for some reason. I guess he wanted to be taken seriously. This movie came out before Bill & Ted though….
- OK, opening credits are over. We’re watching a montage of more scary looking punks set to a cover of People Are Strange. Mohawks and mullets as far as the eye can see.
- We’re getting some exposition now. Two teenagers are moving to a new town with their single mom, who remarks “I know the last couple months have been tough on you…”. Also, they are moving from Phoenix. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed in movies since the 80’s – people are always moving to or from Phoenix but never actually seen there. Like it’s some far-off land beyond human comprehension.
- Also, that’s the mom from Edward Scissorhands!
- Get a load of Corey Haim in this movie! That is some shirt! (In this scene he remarks, “No TV, Michael! Do you know what that means? That means no MTV!”)
- So all the teenagers in this Southern California town gather for a concert, where they see this guy:
Your eyes are not deceiving you. That’s a comically buff, oiled up shirtless dude playing the saxophone. He’s wearing tight pants, gold chains, and has tight slicked back hair. He sings like Michael Bolton. This is what every teenager in Southern California was into in 1987.
- Single mom Dianne West meets a distinguished, successful older businessman – and he works in a video store with “the biggest collection of video tapes in town”. OK, maybe he owns the place. I do miss video stores.
- There’s Corey Feldman! He’s sporting an olive green T-shirt and red Rambo bandanna throughout the film. Also, even though this came out two years before he lent his voice to Donatello in the Ninja Turtles movie, he’s putting on an extra deep “My voice is NOT changing” voice.
- Another great 80’s hallmark – kids being obsessed with comic books – and those comic books somehow being a threat. If only the people of 1987 knew that in 15 years’ time, every kid in America would have instant, unlimited access to every bit of pornography mankind could conceive, right from home.
- Alright, so now the main character has been lured back to the vampires’ lair (by a girl, because what else?), and they trick him into drinking blood. They could never get the look of blood right in old movies. It was always too transparent and pink. It’s not that hard to make – you just use the right amount of red food coloring and don’t water it down.
- I’m about halfway through the movie now, and I’m struck by the realization that’s suddenly become a slapstick comedy. Any scene featuring either of the Coreys is like that. The tone bounces back and forth from goofy comedy to melodrama without a care in the world.
- I think I need to have a small table with a tattered velvet tablecloth, candles with wine bottles as the holders, and a skull. It really ties the room together.
- Another slapstick scene. Here, the Coreys and Mom are having dinner with the video store guy, whom the kids suspect to be a vampire. Shit’s getting wacky!
- Man, the characters really love chanting the main character’s name. I guess this is how one hypnotizes a person. “Michael…. Michael…. Michaaaaeeeelllll…”
- I couldn’t help but notice all the flying scenes are shown in first person. You never see a vampire actually flying in this entire movie, but they do it all the time. Clearly it was not in the budget, but people the 80’s had better imaginations than they do now.
- “Getting ready to fight the vampires” montage. It’s too bad the montage has gone extinct in movies. It had such a short golden age. Also, sex scenes. Those have been missing since the mid-90’s.
- Holy shit! Out of nowhere, a head exploding electrocution scene! “Death by stereo”!
- Ah, so the stuffy old video store owner was the head vampire all along. I should have seen it coming – he asks to be invited into the home earlier in the movie. Honestly, I expected the mom to be the head vampire. What a twist!
- The kooky grandpa gets the final joke of the movie.
Well there you have it. Sorry it’s so scattered. If you’ve seen the movie (and it seems like most people have) it should all make sense. If you haven’t – I gotta say – it’s worth a watch. Tone-wise, it reminded me a lot of The Goonies, and not just because of Corey Feldman. It’s one of those 80’s cult classics that everybody between the age of 28 and 45 seems to have grown up with except for me. The tone shifts wildly between slapstick comedy and teenage melodrama – but that wasn’t terribly strange for a movie of this era. Plus, Joss Whedon struck gold with this exact formula about a decade later with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye.
I’ll be back with more Summer of Horror reviews soon. Next category: Demons and possession.