Monday, 16 February 2009

DVD or Ditch: The Lost Boys

My quest to purge the house of unnecessary VHS tapes continues – will ‘The Lost Boys’ make an upgrade to DVD?

This 1987 film showcased Keifer Sutherland as a bleached blond vampire, introduced the two Corey’s, revealed Jason Patric to the world only to seemingly whip him away again forever afterwards, and references J. M Barrie’s Peter Pan in the title. What’s not to love?

When this came out I had posters of Corey Haim on my wall. I remember distinctly he was wearing some sort of white chunky knit cardigan, but that was allowed, that was cool. For a time I followed his movie career until it became clear I desperately needed to watch a film with a plot, but lets rewind to when anything was possible…

I still enjoy the soundtrack to The Lost Boys. ‘Cry Little Sister’ by Gerard McMann leads into a spooky ethereal chant that is perfect for this film. And ‘People Are Strange’, a cover version of The Doors classic by Echo and The Bunnymen (thanks Forest Pines!) illustrated the vast number of crazies frolicking around the fictional town of Santa Carla. I particularly remember the Beverley Hillbillies careering past in a supermarket trolley. Santa Carla is like 80s Camden on acid.

And now the movie begins again… and my eye refuses to budge from David (Keifer) and Michael (Jason). Um… they’re not bad looking, are they? Now this must be the perfect movie – something for every age. When a small teen I could fancy Sam (Corey Haim), grown up me appreciates David and Michael, and give it another thirty years and I’ll probably be quite keen on the grandpa.

The story goes as follows – two brothers, Michael and Sam, move with their mother to Santa Carla, murder capital of the world. They live at their grandpa’s, a strange old man with a fondness for taxidermy, and their mother starts dating Max, a video shop owner. While out at the boardwalk (the place to hang if you like watching sweaty rock saxophonists, or enjoy stealing comic books), Michael falls for a girl called Star (Jami Gertz). She is somehow with the mysterious David, who lurks around the boardwalk with his gang of long haired leather jacket wearing dudes. David challenges Michael to a few dares, Michael realises they are all vampires and he is soon to join them, unless Sam helps him. Sam enlists the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) – basically the Goonies but with wooden stakes – to kill the vampires, and save his brother.

This film is just as good as I remember. It is an R rated comedy/horror film, and it stands up well in both respects – the horror is of the gore-splatter variety (death by stereo!) and there are some cracking good comedy lines - the funniest being when Michael is hovering outside his brother’s window saying he is not a vampire, and Sam yells “what are you then, the flying nun?”

It is a relatively short movie, and yet it gives us a love triangle, an older romance, a twist, a plot, rivalry, friendship and plays on the idea of loyalty. Not bad in 93 minutes – now if you go to the cinema to watch a film you might as well pack a lunch (The Dark Knight – 152 mins, The Fellowship of the Ring – 178 mins, Casino Royale – 144 mins).

While none of the character development goes particularly deep, they are all developed enough to make us believe in them. It turns out the characters we know least are the lost boys themselves, but we’re not really supposed to know them, only their leader, David. He’s not quite J.M Barrie’s idea of Peter Pan, but he is definitely the star of the show. Keifer Sutherland plays David with a delightful understated menace, a knowing cruelty almost, yet at the same time there’s an air of vulnerability behind his actions. This lifts him from the two-dimensional presence of his gang, and gives the film a depth of quality that perhaps wouldn’t have happened without his casting.

The 80s does not seem a kind decade to clothes. Sam wears some truly hideous outfits, the worst being some sort of long white lounging coat as he strolls around the boardwalk. And as for Max – his shoulder pads are so wide that most of the time he looks like he is trying out for American footballer of the year. I am amazed he can fit through the door of his video store. But the vampires look good, Star is rocking her gypsy boho babe style and Michael can certainly do a steamy smoulder. This film definitely gets upgraded to DVD!


Aspiring Writer said...

I never watched this movie. Thanks for the review. The 80's fashion was very hideous. Big hair, big earings, everything so clunky. I remember those awful glittery cardigans I thought were just beautiful. Have a great day!

Rose said...


Forest Pines said...

As far as I remember, the version of "People Are Strange" in the film wasn't the original, it was a cover by Echo And The Bunnymen. And it's very good.

Jayne said...

Hello AW! 80s fashion had some incredibly low points, and all of them seem evident in this film. Aside from the fashion though, I did enjoy it - worth seeing, if you are ok with comedy / horror!

Jayne said...

Hi Rose! Yes, definitely DVD! :)

Jayne said...

Hi Forest Pines, and yes you are totally right *hangs head rather sheepishly*. I think I actually might prefer Echo and The Bunnymen's cover than the original, which is very unusual for me!