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1987, dir. Joel Schumacher
97 min. Rated R.
Starring: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland.

Review by Noel Wood

Using all conceivable laws of the known universe, I should despise THE LOST BOYS.

Somehow, though, despite all of the efforts I have made to pump my hatred into it, I can't help it. I enjoy this movie. No, it's not one of my favorites, but I guarantee you that if I'm flipping channels on a Saturday afternoon and I see this playing on The Superstation, I'm pretty likely to linger on it for a while. There was a long time where I put on a facade of negativity when in discussion of this film, but I'm publicly stepping away from that mentality at this point in time.

There are three primary factors that, by all logical ways and means, would lead me to hate this film, and these are the three reasons I would cite when trying to justify my intended dislike of the movie:

1. It was directed by Joel Schumacher. Yep, the man responsible for the premeditated murder of the BATMAN franchise was also at the helm of THE LOST BOYS. While Joel has been the target of a good portion of our vitriol here at MCFTR, that hatred has diminished over the course of the last few years. Maybe I'm just getting weak as I grow older, but I can name several of his films that I actually like. I loved THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN when I was a kid, I can say more good than bad about FALLING DOWN, A TIME TO KILL was a pedestrian coutroom drama but was saved by good performances, and I gave an overwhelmingly positive review to PHONE BOOTH just a few months ago. Top that off with a movie I haven't seen yet but has been almost universally praised, TIGERLAND, and I guess there are a few pearls in his repertoire. Granted, the suck outweighs the good, but he could be worse.

2. It's about Vampires. My hatred toward all things vampire stems from a situation that arose a little over a decade ago, when I was a senior in high school. I had this friend who had been kicked out of his parents' house and my mother was kind enough to take him in for a bit. Now, I hung around with a lot of the creepy goth kids in high school, but this guy actuallybelieved he was a vampire. Said that he could fly but his girlfriend wouldn't let him, said his fangs were retractible, stayed up all night and slept all day long. Well, it turned out that while he was staying awake all night, he wasn't out feeding off the blood of virginal brides. In fact, he was calling phone sex numbers. I'm talking hundreds of dollars worth in a month. As soon as we received the first bill, he was out on his pasty little Nosferass. He then repeated the pattern with about a half-dozen other people, all the while claiming that he didn't actually do it. Turned out he was also stealing from me as well. Anyway, ever since then, I've had a hatred for all things vampire. Sure, I loved the movie version of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, but that's about it.

3. It's got both Coreys in it. Yes, we here at MCFTR tend to tout Corey Feldman as some sort of ironic anti-hero, but we all know the truth: The Coreys are the embodiment of evil. Especially when they appear on screen together. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM and LICENSE TO DRIVE may seem like innocent little comedy films, but the truth of the matter is that they were designed as thinly veiled recruitment films for the Lord of Darkness himself. In actuality, it appears as though Corey Haim may very well be the spawn of Satan, while Corey Feldman merely served as his unwitting lackey. Think about it: in the majority of the Corey-Corey flicks (there are six total) Haim is the star and Feldman is his sidekick or rival (the obvious exception being DREAM A LITTLE DREAM 1 & 2, but that was just to throw you off the Devil's scent - hell, the fact that a sequel was even made to begin with is proof positive of Lucifer's involvement) and now Feldman is falling flat on his face while harboring some sort of mysterious resentment for Haim. This type of propaganda would seem to apply to THE LOST BOYS as well, with Haim as one of the principal stars and Feldman as a one-dimensional supporting character.

So with those three elements in place, you'd think this would be the very worst film ever made for someone like me. But somehow, some way, for a reason that I may never be able to comprehend, I like this movie. Don't ask me why, for I may never know. But apparently, I'm not alone in this assessment. Most of my friends admit to loving this movie, and I've only recently been able to admit that I like it too.

The movie revolves around a family who moves to Santa Clara, California. Mom has been experiencing some financial troubles, what with her being widowed recently, so they move in with her father. Her sons, Sam and Michael (played by Corey of Haim and Jason Patric, who looks way too old to be still living with Mom to begin with) try to fit in with their new surroundings. Sam is a comic dork, so he hangs out at a comic book store where he meets Corey Feldman and some other kid as the Frog Brothers, Edgar and Alan (get it?) who tell him there's bad things going on in this sleepy little beach town. Bad things that suck your blood and sleep in caves. Meanwhile, Michael starts hanging out with some gothic biker dudes and reunites with Jami Gertz (last seen together in SOLARBABIES) and next thing you know he's sleeping all day and acting all weird (to my knowledge, he never calls any phone sex lines though.) But the Frog boys are on to all this tomfoolery and shenanigans, and are pretty sure they have the solution to the town's little vampire woes.

I'm going to spare you from too much of a plot summary, partly because of the fact that I haven't seen it in a while and I'm feeling too lazy to go back and verify certain details I may have forgotten and partially because you've probably already seen it anyway. I can tell you that there's some cool death scenes, lots of brother-on-brother conflict between Sam and Michael, some really good camerawork, and way too much time focused on Corey Haim in the bathtub scrubbing his hair while singing "Ain't got no Home" by Clarence Frogman Henry.

THE LOST BOYS is far from a straightforward horror movie. It interjects a lot of humor into the story, with the Frog Brothers being a huge in-joke from the start. At the same time, though, it's not totally over-the-top camp. And of course, everybody's so pretty! All the Vampires are these dashing men led by Kiefer Sutherland as David (who has the whole creature of the night look down pat) and including Alex Winter as Marko (or as I like to call him, Bill S. Preston, Vampire.) But perhaps most importantly, this was also about the best movie that you could ever show on a date when I was in high school. Oh yeah, you know what I'm talking about. There wasn't a girl in the known universe who could resist this movie's charms in the late 80's and early 90's. It's got all the elements: attractive leading men, lots of scary scenes for latching-on purposes, hip cool music by INXS, and it's not the kind of dull chick-flick that put you to sleep. There was plenty for the guys as well, with some cool death scenes and quotable lines going for it. Not that I'm admitting to utilizing this function of the movie, but let's just say I've seen it way too many times for someone who pretended to hate it for so long.

But while I have come out of my little shell and admitted that it is possible to enjoy a movie that seems to have everything against it, it's not like it's a perennial favorite. THE LOST BOYS has a few pretty glaring flaws, one of which is the schizophrenic tone. When it tries to be scary, sometimes you wish it would just hurry up and go back to being campy. When it tries to be campy, sometimes you wish it would just hurry up and go back to being scary. It never really accomplishes either as well as it should, although when it stops trying to be suspenseful and lets the all-out gore begin in the third act, it makes up for a lot of that. Another big complaint is the climax. Mom enters a romantic relationship with the guy who turns out to be the Head Vampire (Spoiler!) and he reveals himself at the end of the movie. What should be a big exciting battle ends up as kind of an anticlimactic letdown. The offing of Kiefer and his crew is way more interesting.

It's definitely a good one to drag out for the Halloween season, for any old mindless movie night, or perhaps even as the tried-and-true sureshot on date night as it was when I was a lad. Something leads me to believe that the girls in high school today might not so easily fall for the Sutherland-Patric-Coreys as they did in 1991, but it's worth a shot, right? Plus, it's got some killer songs on its soundtrack. Gerald McMann's "Cry Little Sister" is this unmatched gothic anthem that everyone seems to love, Echo and the Bunnymen do justice to the Doors' "People are Strange", and INXS and Jimmy Barnes team up for the rockin' "Good Times".

So next time I'm channel surfing and come upon Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric hanging from a steel bridge on a foggy night, nobody better bother me until It's done. Otherwise, I'm gonna be all like Mr. Orange from RESERVOIR DOGS: "Motherfucker! I'm trying to watch THE LOST BOYS!"


All Material Copyright 1998-2006 Movie Criticism for the Retarded.

For questions, comments, or the occasional stalking letter, send mail to Noel Wood. Please give proper credit when using any materials found within this site.

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