The Lost Boys (1987)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/10/19
Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Jami Gertz, Jamison Newlander, Alex Winter

"One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires."

For the last thirty years, my sister has been trying to convince me that I'd seen "The Lost Boys," when I clearly hadn't. I would know better than anyone what movies I have and haven't seen, right? Now we can put that ridiculous debate to rest. A recently divorced woman (Dianne Wiest) moves to a small town in California with her two teenage boys, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim). Weird things are happening in Santa Carla, and people are constantly disappearing. Michael gets tangled up with a group of teenage vampires when he tries to steal the leader's girl (Jami Gertz), and becomes a half-vampire. Meanwhile, Sam hooks up with the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), who happen to be the local authorities on vampires and vampire hunting. Ultimately, Sam has to save his brother from becoming a full vampire by killing the head vampire in town, which leads to a tense showdown at their grandfather's farmhouse.

The film is generally credited with popularizing hot and sexy young vampires, and Kiefer Sutherland makes quite an impression as the leader of the gang. All these years I thought it was supposed to be a serious vampire movie, when it's actually a teen comedy. It suffers from the same pervasive goofiness that plagued the entire industry at the time, and feels like a sequel to "The Goonies" (1985) more than anything else. The acting ranges from poor to good, and it was the first film to bring together teen heartthrobs Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. However, the biggest takeaway is how flamboyant the film is, like a seething cauldron of latent homosexuality. Whether intentional or not, Corey Haim's character is clearly gay. His outrageously feminine wardrobe and the half-naked poster of Rob Lowe on his bedroom wall leave little room for doubt. The vampire gang is also rather flamboyant, but more on the bad boy side of effeminacy, which was popular with the glam rock culture of the 80's. While the film has its moments, I spent most of my time groaning and rolling my eyes through its awkward campiness and cringe-worthy dialog. Were the 80's really this silly? Maybe I was too wrapped up in my own adolescent angst to notice at the time. It was definitely a product of its time, and perhaps you had to see it back then in order to fully appreciate it.