Recently, eccentric director Joel Schumacher passed away at the age of eighty after a year-long battle with cancer, and I figured what better way to honor his memory then to review one of his films. Looking back at his filmography, though, I noticed that I actually haven’t seen the majority of his films. In fact, the only ones I’ve seen are The Lost Boys (1987), Phone Booth (2002), and Batman and Robin (1997). I thought about reviewing one of the others, but I feel like that should be for another day, so instead I will be reviewing The Lost Boys.
So I actually have an interesting history with The Lost Boys. The first time I saw this was not at my own leisure, but in a classroom setting. When I was still at Hillsborough Community College, I had to take a random elective that was worth one credit in order to graduate. This elective class happened to focus on the study of vampires and throughout the four week course we watched four films based on that creature: Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), The Lost Boys, and Interview with the Vampire (1994). So I ask you did I enjoy watching The Lost Boys for the first time in a classroom setting? As usual let’s find out.
In The Lost Boys we follow two brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), along with their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest), as they move to Santa Carla to live with the brothers’ grandfather (Barnard Hughs) after Lucy becomes a single parent due to divorce. Santa Carla seems like a normal beach town during the day, but at night it’s a whole different atmosphere. Michael learns of this when he meets a girl named Star (Jami Gertz) who is associated with a young biker gang led by David (Kiefer Sutherland). One night David invites Michael to their hideout where David offers him a drink which Star warns Michael to not consume. Ignoring her, Michael drinks the mysterious liquid and the rest of the night is a fever dream where he wakes up the next day not knowing what had happened. Soon Sam starts to notice how Michael has been acting differently and tries to figure how what has happened to his brother. After doing some detective work with the help of two brothers, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), Sam discovers that Michael has become a vampire and from there they have to try and find a way to turn Michael back into his mortal self.
So, I actually have a major confession to make that I forgot to mention earlier. Despite being a proud Catholic, vampires are actually one of my favorite folklore creatures and I always love studying them given the chance. That’s not to say I condone their actions towards the innocent given what they are, but that’s another story. Anyway, when I first saw The Lost Boys I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But after time it grew to become one of my favorite vampire films, specifically in my top five.
One of the reasons why I treasure The Lost Boys is how they interpret vampires in the late twentieth century particularly the 1980s. As someone who was born in the 1990s, I’m usually not the biggest fan of 1980s Pop Culture, but I think I enjoyed this film in particular because of how different it was. The vampire films that I was accustomed to prior to watching this were usually set in Europe or early America before our modern era. I know there have been several films of the sub genre that have taken place during our time, but to me this film is one of the few that speaks to me the most in terms of modern-day vampires.
While I may be a fan of the lore of vampires, I will always root for the hero facing vampire foes, and The Lost Boys delivered on great moments of victory over the vampires. Mild spoiler: there was even a great death scene involving garlic and Holy Water, which one vampire scoffs at the idea of getting killed by, but once he came into contact with it he knew his fate was sealed.
Maybe it’s a nostalgic film for me, but The Lost Boys is one film that I deeply enjoyed mainly because of the great experience I had taking a college course on vampires. Also, despite the R rating, it’s not as graphic as most films featuring vampires, though there are moments where it is pretty intense towards the end. If moments like that don’t bother you, then definitely check out this creature feature made by the late Joel Schumacher. It’s not the greatest film to come out of the 1980s, but it’s something worth noting when it comes to underrated cult classics.