The Lost Boys opens with an aerial POV shot coming in over the ocean to a coastline amusement park. We immediately are put in the position of feeling a little like what it would be like to be a vampire. This is accompanied by the theme song for the film – Cry Little Sister. Rock music plays a big part in the movie – yet another sign that this wasn’t a stodgy Dracula film. I literally dug out my movie soundtrack CD and I am listening to it as I write this. (I can’t believe I bought it more than 25 years ago.) In addition to the main theme, there are also covers of The Doors' People Are Strange by Echo and the Bunnymen and Elton John's Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me by Roger Daltrey. New songs in the film include Good Times by INXS and Jimmy Barnes and Lost in the Shadows by Lou Gramm. How much does rock and roll factor into the film? Well, my favorite vampire kill in the entire movie is the Death by Stereo scene.
Lucy (Dianne Wiest), a divorced mother of two teenage boys, is moving her family back to
to live with her father (Barnard Hughes). The sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) are not that thrilled to be there, especially when they see someone has spray painted “the murder capitol of the world” on the back of the “Welcome to Santa Carla” sign. This unease only increases when they find out what a character Grandpa is. Sam is distraught over the fact that there is no TV in the house and he won’t be able to watch Mtv. As Grandpa explains, he gets a subscription to TV Guide, reads it, and he then doesn’t need to watch the TV shows. Santa Carla, California
Lucy, Michael, and Sam all hit the ocean boardwalk and amusement park in town that night. Lucy quickly finds a job in a video store owned by Max (Edward Herrmann). Michael and Sam are watching a concert when Star (Jami Gertz) walks by. She’s all wild untamed hair, gorgeous face, and fantastic body, which immediately makes her the most important thing in the world to Michael. Seriously, if you’ve only seen the middle aged mom Jami Gertz played on her TV sitcoms you owe it to yourself to see her at 21 in this film. She made a huge impression on me, too, when I saw this back in 1987.
On the flip side, Jason Patric became a massive heartthrob for teenage girls. A poster of Jim Morrison appears quite prominently in the film and after this movie came out it was mentioned just a few thousand times that Patric bore a vague resemblance to Morrison. In regards to heartthrobs, The Lost Boys features the very first team up of “the Coreys” – Messrs. Haim and Feldman. The two would go on to do several more films together and like Patric they also became idols for teenage girls.
When Michael takes off after Star, Sam wanders into a comic book shop. That’s where he meets the Frog brothers – Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) – two locals who are his age. They immediately try to interest him in a vampire comic, but he’s not into that. They tell him it might save his life. He ignores them.
Meanwhile Michael has caught up to Star, but just then four guys on motorcycles show up. We saw them earlier in the film and we know they are trouble. One is played by Alex Winter, who is better known to movie fans as Bill S. Preston, Esq. Another of the four, David (Kiefer Sutherland), is Star’s boyfriend, so he decides to have some fun with Michael. He challenges him to some stunts to see how brave he is. Michael ends up in an old hotel that has sunk into a fault during an earthquake and that these all these guys are squatting in.
They keep testing Michael, seeing if he will chicken out. They finally hand him a bottle and tell him there’s blood in it. They drink from it, so Michael does, too. He gets wasted and ends up hanging off a railroad trestle while a train passes overhead. He doesn’t wake up until the next afternoon. The sun bothers him so he puts on his sunglasses even inside the house. Without thinking he starts to attack Sam, but the family dog stops him and brings him back to his senses. Sam notices that Michael’s reflection in the mirror is see-through. He does what any kid brother would do – “You’re a vampire! Wait until Mom finds out.” Michael begs Sam not to tell on him. Sam’s not sure – “It’s not like you got a D in school.”
Sam consults with the Frog brothers, who immediately advise him to stake Michael. Sam won’t. He did finally read the vampire comic and he counters that if they can kill the head vampire then Michael will turn back to human, since he’s only partway transitioned. It’s not until he makes his first kill that he becomes fully a vampire. There’s a funny scene where the three kids decide that Lucy’s boss, who is now dating her, is the head vampire. They dose him with garlic and holy water to no effect.
They decide to go right to the main nest and kill all four since they don’t know which one is the head. They also decide to rescue Star and a young child, both of whom are like Michael – only partially transitioned from drinking vampire blood. Chaos and hilarity ensue. They manage to get back to their house, but they know that come sundown they are going to be in serious trouble.
This film was definitely a big influence on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. The phrase “vamp out” is used. It refers to the vampires’ faces changing from normal human to a much more bestial appearance. There is sex appeal among the vampires. It is teens that are hunting the vampires. The sunken hotel in this movie had to have been the inspiration for the BtVS first season sunken church that the Master was trapped in. There is humor mixed in with the horror. In fact, The Lost Boys has one of the greatest and funniest final lines in cinema history. (Please don’t spoil it for those who have not seen the movie by quoting it in the comments. Thanks.)
This film does have plenty of blood in it when the vampires are starting to get killed. If that bothers you, then you may want to skip this one. If you are old enough to have been a late 80s fashion victim, you may also get some negative flashbacks from all the big hair and clothes featured in the movie. For everyone else, I recommend you give this film a try.
Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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