The Lost Boys
Back in the day ("the day" being slightly pre-puberty), The Lost Boys was one of my favorite movies. I owned a cassette copy of the soundtrack. It was the reason that I now own an autographed photo of Kiefer Sutherland and was smitten with him for years. That being said, I figured watching this movie again with my twenty-eight years now under my belt, I'd be horrified and sobbing at my childhood nerdiness. But thankfully, I was pleasantly pleasantly surprised...
Plotline: Two brothers move with their mother to a California town (the murder capital of the world) to find themselves not only having to deal with a new home but also a town full of young vampires.
Scariness factor: The past two weeks, I'd been looking for a movie that would serve up a fast-paced frightfest, only to be slightly bummed out by slow-moving flicks delivering only minor scares. Thank god for The Lost Boys. Dammit if this movie still doesn't creep my pants off, and with good reason. The scenes where folks get attacked by vampires are so creepily and skillfully done that it's hard NOT to be spooked--we never get a real good glimpse of what is happening, we are just placed in the visual position of the vampires as they swoop down and drag the people off into the sky, screaming. These scenes are fantastically well-done, leaving pretty much everything up to the imagination. And that's what scares, folks. What little we do see in subsequent vampire-attack scenes is given to us in brief fits and bursts, so that by the time you have discerned what's happening (scalps being ripped off, jugulars being torn apart), it's already long gone. The vampires themselves, when in full-blown glory, are another reason to find yourself checking your back for the next few hours--the makeup and special effects are pretty much seamless. The mood and atmosphere of the movie is also mighty spooky--you'll get lots of over-head vampire-view shots of the town. You'll get crazed-sounding carnivals on beaches. You'll get lots of mist and dark, menacing shots. All that being said, Joel Schumacher has done a damn good job of making one creepy-ass movie.
Originality: Of course there are an exhaustive amount of vampire movies in existence, but this one stands above the heads of many of them. Not only is it chock-full of scares and high-quality special effects, it also has a fantastic sense of humor. The Lost Boys never takes itself TOO seriously, and this is a great thing for a horror flick. In it, we have a doddering and smart-assed grandfather who delivers one-liners with a one-two-punch. We have a couple of pre-teens dressed in army gear who are the towns "vampire killers." We have the melodrama of teenagers trying to interact with their parents. We have scenes where you can't help but laugh because the main character, in his slow coming-to-terms with vampirism, finds himself floating outside of the house, hanging on by only a telephone cord, while his younger brother screams and screams and refuses to let him in. So what The Lost Boys lacks in originality, it makes up for in pacing and comic relief--in between scares and vampire scenes, the movie's pace never wanes because the humor and characters make up for it. And the movie is also at least a bit original in its interpretation of vampires--the gang of vamps here is a bunch of rowdy misfits with a sexy edge, teenagers trying to rebel. This is also new and fun.
Complaints: The horrible horrible 80's-ness of this flick is almost nauseating. The soundtrack (which I once held close to my heart--"Cry little sister (thou shall not fall)") is some of the worst 80's music you'll set your ears upon. The clothing in the film is like a horrifying acid-flashback. The teenagers are lame-ass in that terrible 80's way. And you'll even be forced to sit through a couple minutes of an outdoor concert that the older brother watches, complete with a topless and greased up, muscle-ripped lead singer who looks frighteningly like exercise guru, Tony Little, and plays a bad-ass saxophone. But get beyond this if you can because, as horrible and vomit-inducing as it may be, there is a damn good movie hiding underneath.
High Points: Definitely the special effects and the scary scenes. Also, the climax of the movie is pretty much fantastic in a bad-ass Home Alone meets vampires kind of way. You get to see vampires meet their deaths in mind-numbingly genius sorts of ways (bathtubs full of holy water, for example). And it all looks good and looks creepy! CGI be damned, old-school special effects will always be the way to go, dammit.
Overall: Rent this movie. Brace yourself for the 80's-ness of it, but trust me, you'll start to forget about it as soon as the humor and creepy-assed vampire horrors start to wash over you. A definite must-see this Halloween season.
Labels: A movies