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The Lost Boys DVD Review

The Lost Boys

December 8, 2004

Director: Joel Schumacher, ,
Starring: Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Corey Haim, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest, Jamison Newlander, Alexander Winter, Billy Wirth, ,

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DVD Review

At the time of its release, The Lost Boys (1987) was seen as an MTV-style take on the vampire film with a young, attractive cast and its music video look. It has been almost 20 years and the film has aged surprisingly well. Sure, there is some cringe-worthy fashion (anything Corey Haim wears) and some truly awful music (Lou Gramm’s “Lost in the Shadows”) but otherwise the film’s legacy paved the way for TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.

A single mother (Wiest) and her two sons, Michael (Patric) and Sam (Haim), move to Santa Clara during the summer. It seems normal enough but something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the unusual number of missing children or the fact that the town is referred to as “the murder capital of the world.” Michael, the hunky older brother with brooding good looks, soon falls for a mysterious local girl named Star (Gertz). He also finds himself falling in with a gang of guys that she runs with and is initiated into their group by their charismatic leader, David (Sutherland).

Sam is the younger, geekier brother who befriends two local boys known as the Frog brothers—Edgar (Feldman) and Alan (Newlander). They run their own comic book shop (how cool is that?) and tell him that the town is plagued by a gang of vampires led by David. They give Sam a vampire comic book with the instructions, “Think of it more as a survival manual.” Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of horror comics, the Frog brothers team up with Sam to take down the bloodsuckers.

With his long, trenchcoat and all-black attire contrasted by blond, spiky hair and just the right amount of facial stubble, Kiefer Sutherland makes for a sexy and dangerous vampire. Even though he doesn’t have all that many lines, the ones he does are memorable. He is a deliciously evil vampire who uses his enticing voice and piercing stare to seduce Michael into joining his gang. In some respects, Sutherland’s look is a precursor to the similarly attired and coifed Spike on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show.

Barnard Hughes steals every scene he’s in as Michael and Sam’s eccentric grandfather. He appears to be a grizzled old fossil that doesn’t have a clue, but Hughes gives the occasional look or knowing glance suggesting that there may be more to him than meets the eye. Fortunately, the film’s screenplay wisely leaves it up to the audience to figure it out.

The Lost Boys typifies the horror genre in the 1980s. Sam and Michael’s family represent an affluent white suburbia that is threatened by an outside evil trying to infiltrate their home by either masquerading as a friendly face or the allure of forbidden fruit. And yet, the film subverts traditional family values with the single-parent family rejecting the concept of the typical nuclear family as embodied by an evil vampire.

Special Features:

The first disc features an audio commentary by the film’s director, Joel Schumacher. He touches upon the time and budget constraints forced upon him and so he decided to do almost all of the visual effects in camera or not show them at all, leaving it up to the audience’s imagination. He delivers a relaxed track and fondly remembers making the movie while imparting a lot of interesting factoids.

The second disc starts off with a well-made retrospective featurette with brand new interviews with Sutherland, Herrmann, the 2 Coreys and Jamison Newlander. Schumacher talks about his initial rejection to the early draft of the screenplay because it was intended to be G Rated movie. At the time, most of the cast were relative unknowns (except Wiest who had just won an Academy Award). While there is a bit of overlap with the audio commentary, this is a good look at how the film came together.

“Inside the Vampire’s Cave” is broken down into four segments that examine how Schumacher was responsible for changing the film from one targeted for small kids to teenagers. The second featurette looks at the humour of the movie (most of it supplied by the Frog brothers) and how the studio was nervous with Schumacher’s desire to blend horror with comedy. The third segment explores the sex appeal of the vampires while the last one touches upon the possibility of a sequel—highly unlikely, although Schumacher suggests one with an all-girl gang of vampire bikers. The Lost Girls anyone?

“The Vampire’s Photo Gallery” is a ten-minute slide show of behind-the-scenes stills, including make-up tests.

Fans of the 2 Coreys are in for a real treat with “Haimster and Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys.” They talk about almost meeting on the set of The Goonies (1985) but Feldman beat out Haim for the role. The 2 Coreys also talk about how they finally met for the first time, became fast friends and have remained so over the years.

Need more 2 Coreys fix? Fear not, there is a “Multi-Angle Video Commentary with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander.” This is an 18-minute collection of scenes with all three actors and the viewer can use their Angle button to see video commentaries from each one of them. They surprisingly offer some decent observations that are quite funny.

There is also 15 minutes of deleted scenes that mostly flesh out the relationship between Michael, Sam and their mother. The footage is interesting but one can see why it was ultimately cut.

“A World of Vampires” briefly examines the vampire mythos all over the world and their relation to actual historical fact.

It’s time to sail the seas of cheese with the music video for Lou Gramm’s “Lost in the Shadows.” It is horribly dated ‘80s music complete with puffy, poodle perm ‘dos as Gramm sings in a cage full of women (?!) intercut with clips from the movie.

Rounding out the disc is a theatrical trailer.

Looking back it’s interesting to see who from the cast of The Lost Boys has endured. The two Coreys became tabloid fodder and their careers never recovered. Jason Patric dabbled with mainstream success but after the debacle that was Speed 2 (1997) he has wisely gone the independent film route with Your Friends and Neighbors (1998) and Narc (2002). Kiefer Sutherland also had his ups and downs but now enjoys critical and commercial success with the political thriller TV show, 24. Fans of The Lost Boys will enjoy this excellent two-DVD set that features an excellent transfer of the movie and a solid collection of extras.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 88%

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