Warner Bros. // 1987 // 97 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 24th, 2004
Death by stereo.
Here's a movie that could probably be never made today. Imagine the pitch: "So we want to make this R-rated vampire flick, and show some blood and gore and demon fluid and melt and explode some vampires and make it funny and cast those two kids on the covers of Tiger Beat." In this age where Alien vs. Predator gets a PG-13 rating, I doubt many studios would jump at such a risky venture. Well, luckily, the proposal was tendered in 1987, when no one really gave a crap and hence we have that nostalgia-inducing classic: The Lost Boys.
The Emersons -- brothers Michael (Jason Patric, Narc), Sam (Corey Haim, Every Movie Corey Feldman Was In), and mom Lucy (Diane Wiest, Edward Scissorhands) -- have just moved to Santa Carla to start a new life.
At first glance, Santa Carla has all the attractions a couple of kids would love: a raucous pier, amusement park rides, gnarly comic book stores, and hair-metal bands performing free public concerts. Sam and Michael absorb their surroundings and meet some interesting folks in the process. For Sam, wandering into a comic book shop dressed in the amazing Technicolor dreamcoat yielded an introduction to the Frog brothers, Alan (Jamison Newlander, The Blob) and Edgar (Corey Feldman, Every Movie Corey Haim Was In), a pair of militant Rambo-savants who utter cryptic warnings about a mysterious vampire threat.
For Michael, the lovely Star (not of The View) draws him into a group of motorcycle-riding bad boys headed up by sneering blond bombshell David (Kiefer Sutherland, Phone Booth). As Michael is further absorbed in David's world, he learns that he and his cronies may be more than they seem, and not really living so much, or at all.
Meanwhile, Sam has struck up a friendship with the Frog brothers, and the trio has charged themselves with a vampire-smiting campaign that brings them into such tense situations as impaling Bill S. Preston, Esquire and harassing the guy who sells Dodge pick-ups with garlic.
Who will survive the literal bloodbath when adolescent hellspawn and teen-mag-coverboys-cum-vampire-slayers collide in an all-out war over the souls of siblings and girlfriends? Sorry, but you'll have to see the movie!
Okay, who here hasn't seen his movie? A time-capsule-worthy slice of '80s escapism, The Lost Boys was a veritable "who's who" of young up-and-comers and "almost-but-not-quite-ers" and "mega-popular-child-stars-who-later-took-too-much-drugs-ers." It is certainly a cult classic.
So Warner has unleashed this two-disc special set, and the short review is this: it is excellent. More later.
The movie itself I think is memorable because of its nostalgia, not in spite of it. Seriously, as a film The Lost Boys is really a series of comedy and action-gore sequences, plagued by bits of incoherence (I always though the ending was fairly nonsensical) and goofy acting. But director Joel Shumacher -- with this, his fourth feature movie -- has managed to sew together a cinematic experience that is funny (inadvertently and purposely), gory, and, most of all, fun.
Who doesn't enjoy Jason Patric being fed a box full of maggots? Or Kiefer Sutherland waxing sinister with a killer undead mullet? Or three kids filling canteens with holy water? Or that insane little vampire-kid exploding through the bed?
In one of the featurettes, Schumacher relates how the script initially called for the movie to be for little kids, starring little kids. Could you imagine? The Lost Boys G-rated edition? Thankfully, the director opted to pump up the blood and burning vampire flesh, and doing so made a delectable morsel of old school pulp.
Warner really delivered the goods with this set. The second disc actually validates its existence by hefting a real boatload of goodies, leading off with The Lost Boys: A Retrospective, which brings together a bunch of the cast members, notably the two Coreys and Kiefer Sutherland, along with Schumacher and producer Richard Donner to ruminate about the experience. It's good stuff, and everyone is affable and flush with trivia.
Inside the Vampire's Cave boasts four featurette -- The Director's Vision, Comedy and Horror, Fresh Blood: A New Look at Vampires, and The Lost Boys Sequel? -- which are essentially one long documentary split four ways. But it's all nifty -- just don't expect to be wowed by earth-shattering news about a potential follow-up, though Schumacher mentioned his interest in doing a movie about "The Lost Girls."
The last unique extra is a video commentary of selected scenes from the movie featuring Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Jamison Newlander. This is a really fun extra, with Newlander being the chattier of the three, Feldman the funnier (he is quick with the self-deprecation), and Haim the least recognizable -- I fear life has been rough for the lad.
Rounding out the bonuses batch: a light-hearted, interesting feature commentary from Schumacher, Corey x 2 reminiscing about their friendship, 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes don't offer much captivating fodder, a documentary on the film's creature effects, a photo gallery chronicling the vampire make-up processes, a bit of vampire education courtesy of an interactive world map, and the blast from the past "Lost in Shadows" music video. All in all, a noteworthy special edition.
Technically, the movie shines as well. The transfer is clean, and holds it own, even through the film's copious dark sequences. The colors are vibrant, too, especially when fluid flies. A powerful Dolby Digital 5.1 mix will do a handy job of pushing your surrounds and the LFE rumbles. This is a loud movie.
Go grab this excellent set. Tons of extras and a solid technical treatment of a movie about teenage vampires getting melted, exploded and impaled makes The Lost Boys: Special Edition a requirement for your collection. And how cool is it to see Jack Bauer sucking blood?
Not guilty. Go eat some maggots.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Director's Commentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Retrospective Documentary
* "Inside the Vampire'S Cave": Four Featurettes
* "The Return Of The Frog Brothers" Video Commentary
* Interactive Map
* Music Video
* "Haimster And Feldog"
* "Vamping Out: The Undead Creations Of Greg Cannom"
* Photo Gallery