Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Flashbacks: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys 1987
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writers: Janice Fisher, James Jeremias and Jeffrey Boam
Starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Edward Herrmann, Kiefer Sutherland, Jamie Gertz, Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander, Brooke McCarter, Billy Wirth, Alex Winter and Chance Michael Corbett

This is for many the epitome of great vampire films, and I have to agree, it is only surpassed by The Horror of Dracula in my book. People who think Twilight is a good vampire film are doing themselves and the horror genre a disservice by not seeing this film and giving it the proper respect that it is due. This is a film with a wry sense of humor and vampires with no compunction about killing. It is a film that really works well with the idea of putting a vampire story in small town USA. Doing that, it makes it easy for the vampires to run the town and have their pick from its ample food chain. The allusions to Peter Pan and immortality are another ingredient that really make the film work. It also has one of the greatest twist endings I have ever witnessed in a film. M. Night Shamaylan could take a cue from Schumacher here. The film has a solid cast, a great premise, a addictive and mesmerizing score and some outstanding special effects which all come together to make this film a seminal horror classic.
The plot basics are this, a divorced mother, Lucy (Wiest) and her two sons, Michael (Patric) and Sam (Haim) move in with their oddball and reclusive grandfather (Hughes) in the sleepy town of Santa Clara. The town is plagued by bikers and mysterious deaths. Sam is drawn too 2 brothers (Feldman and Newlander) who run a comic book shop and purport to be vampire hunters. While Michael becomes entrenched into a gang of bikers run by the enigmatic David (Sutherland). Meanwhile, Lucy has met a older gentleman, Max (Herrmann) and they begin to date. Michael is entranced by the girl (Gertz) who is entrenched with the bikers and after he drinks something he begins to sleep all day and only go out at night. It seems that he is being transformed into a vampire and this causes Sam and the vampire hunters to spring into action to find the head vampire and kill him before Michael transforms completely into one of the undead. This all leads to a epic showdown at Sam and Michael's grandfather's house that will end bloody and violently.
This is a outstandingly well done film. Schumacher's direction is really tight and I feel is by far his best directed piece. He really balance well the sense of terror of vampires with the caustic sense of humor that pervades the film. His use of the locales is great too, I especially love the underground cave where the vampires sleep and the scene where Sam and the Frog brothers hunt down the vampires there is a phenomenal scene. The script is a true masterpiece. It is funny as hell, but still does not lose the sense that this is a horror film. The suspense of who the master vampire is, is kept till the nail biting end and it is the strength of the script that really pulls it off. The characters of the Frog brothers and Sam provide most of the humor in the film, and they do it well, though it never takes away from the scary aspects of the film. The cast is exemplary. The standout performances are by Sutherland and Feldman. Sutherland makes a great evil and appealing character and you can really understand why Michael is attracted to his way of life. Feldman is great as Edgar Frog and steals every scene of the film he inhabits. One of the best examples of this is when he discovers Michael is a vampire and is ready to slay him then and there. Haim and Patric are great as the 2 brothers too. Patric plays a good tortured hero type. While Haim is excellent as the brother who is out of his depth when he finds out what his brother is turning into. Wiest gives a great performance as the clueless parent. Herrmann gives yet another one of his solid performances as Max. Hughes is great as the kooky grandfather who may know more than he lets on. The SFX and effects in the film are outstanding. Greg Cannom does a great job. The blood and slime flies copiously and there is no better example of this than the bathtub filled with holy water scene. The final ingredient in this great vampire tale is the music. The music sticks with you long after you watch the film and if you ever hear the opening chords of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" your memory immediately goes to the opening scenes of the film. That is very powerful stuff. This is a film any self respecting vampire fan must see.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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